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The procedure for crossing the Estonian-Russian border (the direction of exiting Estonia)

On 2011, the procedure for crossing the border at the Estonian-Russian border changed. According to the new procedure, a common border crossing queue information system was created, which is used in three Estonian road border points (in the direction of exiting Estonia): Narva-Ivangorod, Koidula-Kunitsina Gora and Luhamaa-Shumilkina. A waiting area has also been created near every road border point where drivers can wait for their border crossing time.

What are the aims of the border crossing procedure?

  • The border crossing queue information system gives an opportunity to plan border crossing time. If people who wish to cross the border have to wait for border crossing, they can do so in special waiting areas with improved conditions.
  • Knowing their border crossing time, people crossing the border by vehicle can arrive at the border at the appointed time, which eliminates the need to wait for border crossing in a live queue and creates more humane conditions for waiting in the border queue. For instance, while making their holiday plans, people can plan when to arrive at home or cargo vehicle drivers know already at the beginning of their business trip when they can plan to arrive at the border.
  • Ensuring road safety and smooth border crossing (using this system helps to scatter the travellers when they arrive at the border).

What is the common border crossing queue information system?
The common border crossing queue information system is an electronic database for booking border crossing time. All the people crossing the border, regardless of in which country they live or what kind of vehicle they use, will use the common information system servicing three border crossing points. The service is provided in Estonian, English and Russian.

The name of the common border crossing queue information system is GoSwift. The border crossing system has been created by Girf OÜ within the framework of an administrative assignment given by the Ministry of the Interior.

How can border crossing time be booked?
GoSwift can be used for making pre-bookings in Estonian, English and Russian by forwarding data concerning the vehicles and the persons intending to cross the border. This can be done as follows:

  • on web pages www.eestipiir.ee or www.estonianborder.eu
  • by calling the phone number of the booking centre +372 6 989 192
  • Vehicles arriving at the border without a booking can be registered for the live queue also at the official waiting area near the border crossing point, either at a self-service booth or with the help of the waiting area service personnel. There are no options to register for the queue at the actual border crossing point.
  • Border crossing time can be booked up to 90 days in advance.

When booking the place in the border crossing queue of the border crossing queue information system, a booking fee of 1.50 euros must be paid and, additionally, a waiting area fee according to the category of vehicle.

Information on the waiting area fees can be found here.

Starting from 01.11.2016, in the absence of queues, fees for passenger cars and motorbikes do not have to be paid for taking a place in the queue and using waiting area services if the vehicle is registered in the live queue by the self-service terminal at the waiting area and if the vehicle is directed to the border crossing point within 15 minutes. If the waiting area personnel books a place in the queue online or by telephone, fees for the service need to be paid according to the established price list.

What kind of data need to be forwarded?
Upon making a booking, data concerning the persons and vehicles intending to cross the border need to be submitted.

Cargo vehicles need to submit the MRN number of their customs document or declare that they will be crossing the border without a load.

What are the options of payment for bookings?
The customers of Estonian banks can pay for the booking by bank transfer on the Internet or by credit card. When booking by telephone, mobile payment or credit card can be used.

Other passengers can only pay by credit card, which could be done by booking a place via the Internet as well as by telephone. Everyone who has opened a user account in the information system, can pay for the booking from the prepayment account.

At the waiting area, payments can be made by debit card, by credit card or in cash. Booking becomes effective after the payment is made.

What is a waiting area?
A waiting area is an official parking area near the border where vehicles with pre-bookings are checked, vehicles without pre-bookings are registered in the waiting queue and vehicles are directed to the border checkpoint. In a waiting area, drivers can wait for their border crossing time in more convenient conditions than earlier. Vehicle arriving at the waiting area will be registered and when the border crossing time arrives, it is directed to the border. This can be seen on the electronic displays at the waiting area.

All the vehicles have to pass through the waiting area.

Waiting areas near Estonian road border points:

  • There are two waiting areas near the Narva-Ivangorod border crossing point:
    • The Narva waiting area for passenger cars, buses and local trucks (Transservis-N)
    • The Sillamäe waiting area for trucks (Sillamäe Sadama AS)
  • The Koidula border point waiting area for all types of vehicles (Paldiski Sadamate AS)
  • The Luhamaa border point waiting area for all types of vehicles (Collade OÜ).

A waiting area has lighting and security, including video monitoring and the possibility to collect everyday waste and use toilet facilities. The service provider of a border crossing waiting area may also provide other services in the waiting area (for example a cafe).

The service provider of a border crossing waiting area charges a fee for using the border crossing waiting area. The fee varies in different waiting areas. Detailed price list can be found on the website of GoSwift.

What are the time limits of GoSwift system?
A booking prescribes a period of one hour, during which the planned border crossing of a vehicle will take place – for instance, from 13:00 to 14:00.

In the case of pre-bookings as well as registration in the general queue, category A, B and D vehicles have to arrive by the beginning of the booked time. Category C vehicles have to arrive 3 hours before the booked time.

Upon registration in the general queue, it should be taken into account that it is difficult to estimate the exact time since the queue moves at different speed at different points in time, depending on the number of border crossers and the number of vehicles who have priority to cross the border. As estimating the exact border crossing time is difficult, people are informed of the number of vehicles in the queue before them. It is recommended that people wait for their border crossing time in a waiting area; however, outside a waiting area, people should monitor the movement of the queue and their place in it via www.eestipiir.ee. A paid SMS service concerning the progress of the border crossing queue can be ordered from the service provider.

On the spot, the administrator of waiting area organises the waiting queue and is responsible for its arrangements.

Information on the number of vehicles waiting to cross the border changes constantly over time. When planning a border crossing, it is therefore recommendable to check the length of the queue at the border at www.eestpiiir.ee or www.estonianborder.eu.

What are the conditions of priority border crossing?
The following can be registered for the priority queue:

  • vehicles transporting a member of an international delegation or an employee of a foreign diplomatic representation or consular post;
  • vehicles transporting time-sensitive goods;
  • vehicles, which have the right of priority in border crossing on the basis of an international agreement or treaty;
  • category A or A1 motorbikes.

These vehicles can be booked for the priority queue through the Internet, by telephone and on the spot in the waiting area.

Places in the priority queue can be taken in waiting areas in the following cases:

  • if the vehicle is carrying tourists who are not aware of the waiting queue information system and who have arrived at the waiting area and whose waiting time for border crossing is unreasonably long;
  • if the vehicle is carrying a person who has a good reason for priority border crossing and for whom waiting for the border crossing in the general queue would clearly be disproportionally burdening;
  • if the vehicle is carrying a person who has another good reason for urgent border crossing and the waiting area service provider has previously co-ordinated it with a relevant border checkpoint.

Good and urgent reasons for crossing the border in the priority queue include, for instance:

  • unexpected illness or death of a close relative;
  • need to catch a plain or train departing from the Russian Federation if the validity period of the person’s visa or the allowed period of stay ends before the border crossing time in the general queue would allow to cross the national border;
  • a sick child being taken for treatment, etc.;
  • delegations driving to international conferences or competitions.

The urgent need to cross the border has to be proven in the waiting area.

When a vehicle with the right to take a place in the priority queue arrives at the waiting area, it will be given the first available time for border crossing. The priority queue is served at the expense of the live queue. If many vehicles with the right to cross the border in the priority queue arrive at the border, they will be assigned places in the order of their arrival.

What are the legal bases of GoSwift system?
Legislation governing the registration of electronic border crossing:

Additional information can be found at: www.eestipiir.ee or www.estonianborder.ee


What should be done if the person does not arrive at the waiting area at the scheduled time?
A place in the border crossing queue is booked for 1 hour and people should arrive at the waiting area in advance before the prescribed time. If you arrive late at the waiting area, you may not be able to cross the border at the desired time.

If the person is late for already over an hour with no good reason, the booked place is cancelled and he/she must take a new place in the waiting queue. This can be done through the Internet or by telephone or right on the spot at the self-service booth of the waiting area or with the help of the waiting area service personnel.

Exceptional cases (for instance, if the car broke down on the road) are resolved at the waiting area.

What will happen if there are standstills at the border?
If standstills occur at the border and a border crossing point or a neighbouring country does not accept vehicles, it is not possible to cross the border at the time booked. As soon as vehicles are started to be accepted, vehicles in the waiting queue are directed to the border crossing point, starting with the vehicles booked for earlier time.

If there is a standstill of border crossing, times booked for that day can shift. However, the system is designed in such a way that within the day, border crossings should reach the established timetable.

What should be done if it appears that there is a need to change a car or a driver?
For one time, there can be only one person and one vehicle in the border crossing queue of the waiting queue system. In the case of category A, B and D vehicles, booking times can be changed up to 3 times and not less than 3 hours before the time of booking. If you want to change a car, driver or border crossing point, this is considered already a new booking.

Cars or drivers cannot be changed if the system includes the possibility of registering several drivers and you can decide later who will drive.

Cars and persons are linked in order to avoid selling places in the border crossing queue, placing empty bookings and fully booking all places in the waiting queue for the same persons or vehicles.

If something happens on the road that requires changing the car or the driver, such cases are resolved at the waiting area in cooperation with the border crossing point.