In 2017, the Foreign Ministry received nearly 267,000 travel notifications, up by almost 96,000 on the previous year. This was more than ever before. The number of countries and regions visited was 198.
Matkustusilmoitus.fi is an online service where people can register their travel plans and contact details with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for it to be able to contact them in case of an emergency or a crisis abroad. In the course of last year, travellers who had registered their travel details in the online service were provided information and guidance in 109 emergencies in different parts of the world. Information was sent in cases ranging from natural catastrophes to terrorist attacks.
Demand for the consular services provided by the Ministry and its missions abroad is also on the increase. In 2017, over 67,400 consular assistance cases were recorded compared with 55,000 in 2016.
Finland's diplomatic and consular missions abroad have the responsibility to provide advice and to help customers find a solution to their situation independently. The missions also provide assistance to Finnish nationals in distress abroad.
The most common reason for seeking consular assistance is an expired or lost passport or other travel document problems. Many countries require a passport that is valid for six months after the end of the visit to their country. Finnish missions abroad granted a total of 18,795 new passports.
In 2017, the first year when identity cards were issued in Finnish missions abroad, a total of 1,875 identity cards were issued.
The majority of the services involved provision of guidance only. Many cases were handled through the Ministry's 24/7 service which, as required, referred them to the embassy or consulate in question. The Ministry's 24/7 service is responsible for the on-call arrangements of all diplomatic and consular missions abroad outside their office hours.
In 2017, the missions and the Ministry handled reports of 519 deaths abroad. As many as 432 persons needed consular assistance due to an illness or accident abroad. The missions assisted 175 travellers who had fallen victims of crime and 213 Finns arrested or imprisoned abroad.
The countries with the most cases of consular assistance were Spain (752), Estonia (211), Thailand (187), Sweden (109) and Russia (109).
The most frequently visited content on the Foreign Ministry's website is travel advice. The Ministry publishes travel advice bulletins on 150 countries, focusing on their long-term security situation.
The Foreign Ministry recommends that all Finns travelling abroad take out a comprehensive travel insurance and that they get familiar with the terms and conditions of the insurance policy in advance.
Inquiries: Juha Savolainen, Director of the Unit for Consular Assistance. tel. +358 295 295 351508, or Antti Putkonen, Team Leader, tel. +358 295 350126.
The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org.