Illegal entry on the eastern border of Finland increased significantly during autumn 2023, and ceased as a result of closing all the border crossing points at the eastern border. However, the phenomenon immediately continued after Finland reopened some of the border crossing points. Therefore, Finland closed its entire eastern border again on 15 December 2023.
The aim of the decision was to stop the phenomenon of illegal entry on Finland’s eastern border. Based on observations made and information obtained by the Finnish Border Guard and other authorities, it is evident that authorities of a foreign state or other operators furthered the illegal entry. International crime was also linked to the phenomenon.
After the decision came into effect, the illegal entry on Finland’s eastern border has ceased, for the time being. However, based on the information gathered by the authorities, the risk of restart and expansion of the phenomenon in the previously experienced manner is probable. The phenomenon causes a serious threat to national security and public order in Finland. Furthermore, if the phenomenon of illegal entry continues, the appropriateness of the entry procedure is not secured. Therefore, Finland’s entire eastern border will remain closed until 14 April 2024.
The decision is based on the Border Guard Act, according to which the Government may decide to close a border crossing point for a fixed period or until further notice if it is necessary to close it to prevent a serious threat to public order, national security or public health. The Government may also, where necessary, decide to concentrate the application for international protection to one or several border crossing points. (Section 16 of the Border Guard Act).
The decision is in effect from 12 February 2024 to 14 April 2024.
Closing of the border crossing points
On the land border between Finland and Russia, the border crossing points in Imatra, Kuusamo, Niirala, Nuijamaa, Raja-Jooseppi, Salla, Vaalimaa and Vartius are closed until 14 April 2024.
Applying for international protection
Applying for international protection is concentrated to open border crossing points for air and water traffic.
Effects on persons crossing the border and commercial traffic
It is not possible to cross the land border between Finland and Russia during the term of the decision.
The decision also applies to commercial traffic crossing the land border. Railway traffic in Vainikkala is an exception.
Finnish nationals must also use open border crossing points for air and water traffic.
International protection cannot be applied for at the border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia.
This decision does not affect exit from Finland. Everyone has the right to leave the country via open border crossing points.
Further information on border crossing points: Contact information | The Finnish Border Guard