There is a border zone at the border between Finland and Russia. The border zone facilitates border control and helps to maintain border security. The border zone extends to a maximum of three kilometres on land and a maximum of four kilometres at sea.
You need a permit to enter the border zone. You can be punished for entering the border zone without a permit.
The border zone is marked on the terrain
The perimeter of the border zone is marked in the terrain with yellow border zone signs, yellow circles painted on or affixed to trees and poles, and booms located on roads and access routes. On waterways, yellow beacons, buoys and pairs of leading marks are used to mark the border zone.
The border zone is defined in more detail in the Government Decree on the border zone and the perimeter of the border zone.
Who can receive a border zone permit?
The Finnish Border Guard grants a border zone permit if there is an acceptable reason related to a residence, work, profession, livelihood, business or hobby, and if the granting of a permit will not jeopardise order at the border or border security.
If you are applying for a permit in relation to a hobby, you must explain why the activities need to take place in the border zone specifically.
How to apply for a border zone permit
- Apply using the online service, which will send the application to the correct Border Guard District: the online service (in Finnish) You can log in to the service using a certificate card or your online banking credentials.
- If you cannot use the online service, you can also submit your application in person or send it to the Headquarters of the Border or Coast Guard District or a Border Guard Station in charge of area of interest by post, courier, proxy or assistant. Deliver your application to the Border Guard Station that holds primary jurisdiction over the area concerned.
- Provide proof of your identity, your contact details and the reason for your permit application. There is no fee for processing permit applications.
- If you apply electronically, your decision will appear in the Suomi.fi service. You can collect a printed decision from the office of the Finnish Border Guard.
Who will process my application?
- The Lapland Border Guard District processes border zone permit applications for Inari, Salla, Savukoski and Sodankylä.
- The Kainuu Border Guard District processes border zone permit applications for Kuhmo, Kuusamo and Suomussalmi.
- The North Karelia Border Guard District processes border zone permit applications for Ilomantsi, Joensuu, Kitee, Lieksa, Tohmajärvi and Lake Pyhäjärvi within the municipality of Parikkala.
- The Southeast Finland Border Guard District processes border zone permit applications for Imatra, Lappeenranta, Miehikkälä, Parikkala (excluding Lake Pyhäjärvi within the municipality of Parikkala), Rautjärvi, Ruokolahti and the land areas of Virolahti.
- The Gulf of Finland Coast Guard District processes border zone permit applications for Hamina, Kotka and the sea areas of Virolahti.
Validity of a border zone permit
Border zone permits can be valid indefinitely or for a fixed period of time. You can receive an indefinite permit if you live in the border zone, manage residential buildings or real estate in the border zone, or permanently work in the border zone.
Fixed-term border zone permits are valid for a maximum of five years.
Terms of the permit
The Finnish Border Guard may include in the border zone permit any terms necessary to maintain order at the border and border security in relation to activities and movement in the border zone. As a rule, we do not grant permits for moving within the border strip or in border waters.
Compliance with the provisions on the border zone is to be supervised by the Finnish Border Guard, the Police and Customs. Keep your border zone permit with you whenever you are in the border zone. Present it to a border guard, police officer or customs official upon request.
The Finnish Border Guard can revoke your permit if you request this. We may also revoke your permit if you commit a crime or violate the terms of the permit or the border zone regulations.
The Border Guard Districts can provide further information.
Russian border zone
If you need information about the Russian border zone, contact the Russian Embassy in Finland: https://helsinki.mid.ru/fi_FI//web/helsinki-fi.
To apply for a Russian border zone permit, you will need to fill out the form available on the website of the Border Guard Services maintained by the Russian Security Service at http://ps.fsb.ru/. The website and forms are in Russian.