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Access to border zone requires a permit – things hunters and berry pickers shall consider when being close to the border

Publication date 9.8.2023 10.41 | Published in English on 14.8.2023 at 14.10
Press release
Kuvassa on Rajavartiolaitoksen partioauto ja keltainen kyltti jossa lukee

The eastern border of Finland is protected by a border zone, which facilitates border management and border surveillance. The border zone is marked in the terrain with border zone signs, booms and yellow circles affixed to trees. One should pay attention to the marks, since it is punishable to enter the zone without a permit.

Remember to apply for the permit in good time

A permit may be applied in order to be able to move about in the border zone. The permission will be granted, if there is an acceptable reason related to, for example, a residence, livelihood or hobby, and if the granting of a permit will not jeopardise order at the border or border security.  In the application for a border zone permit, one shall justify, why the said action must be carried out especially within the border zone. 

The border zone permit is primarily applied for online. Instructions for this are found on the webpage of the Finnish Border Guard. The application for a border zone permit should include detailed information on the planned activity and persons concerned, in addition to eventual documents providing further information, such as map drawings.  A carefully filled in application will make the process smoother. One shall carry the granted border zone permit with them when moving about the border zone. 

Consider whether you need to take your dog with you and follow the instructions

Hunters are urged to not let their dogs free close to the border, in order to avoid that the dog accidentally ends up on the Russian side. Game animals often move about to the Russian side and the dogs follow after them. Efforts should be made in order to prevent domestic animals from crossing the border on the basis of the agreement concerning the settlement of border incidents between Finland and Russia.

If a hunter with a dog notices that their dog has disappeared close to the national border, they should report it to the command centre of the regional border guard district (link to contact details). The same applies to a situation where a wounded game animal enters or stays within the border zone.

Hunters with a dog should clearly mark the owner’s contact details on the dog’s equipment before the hunt is initiated. The information is of assistance in case of eventual situations where dogs cross the border. Stray dogs that are encountered in the border zone are delivered to an animal shelter and, in addition, a report of all dogs that have been to the Russian side will be made to a veterinarian in Finland. 

The border zone permit may include the right to possess and use firearms and ammunition as well as explosives within the border zone. The Border Guard District will attach instructions to granted permissions regarding how to hunt in a manner that no shots will be fired to the Russian side and that the safety of the border guard’s working in the area will not be jeopardised.  

Berry and mushroom picking in the border zone also require a permit

When picking the wild produce, one must be careful not to accidentally enter the border zone.  In principle, border zone permits are not granted for the purpose of berry and mushroom picking, unless the person manages a property within the border zone.

Finnish Border Guard Raja – press release