Immigration. Travel. Living.

Estonia – residence permit

Estonia has a relatively low and efficient tax system, and a streamlined bureaucracy has attracted a good number of investors and foreign businessmen to the country.

This country welcomes startups and innovative businesses for highly qualified residents and expatsAll foreign nationals that desire to live and work in Estonia must possess a residence permit. This guide will explain the entire process you need to complete to obtain a permit in Estonia.

Who needs a permit to live in Estonia?

Different rules apply to EU nationals and citizens of third countries outside the EUCitizens whose country is part of the European Union (EU), European Union Economic Area (EEA), and Swiss Confederation may enter and secure employment in Estonia without a visa.

But if any person under this category wishes to stay for more than 3 months, they must register their place of residence and apply for an ID card.

Once their place of residence has registered, they obtain the right to temporary residence and can stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Third-country nationals need legal grounds to stay and work in Estonia. If the person plans to make a brief visit (less than 90 days) they are only required to apply and obtain a travel visa.

But if the person wants to extend his stay or travel to Estonia for study, employment, business, or research purposes longer stays (over 3 months), they need a temporary residence permit.

Required documents

For you to get a right to stay in Estonia, the applicant must have these documents for identification and verification.

  • Completed application form
  • Certificate of Estonian language proficiency examination
  • Two recent passport photographs
  • Document/receipts certifying the payment of the state fee.
  • A copy of your international passport
  • Proof of sufficient financial means
  • Copies of your previous visa
  • Travel medical insurance with a minimum of €30,000 coverage within the entire Schengen area.
  • Utility bill or proof of Accommodation
  • Proof of civil status (birth certificate, marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, or death certificate of the spouse)

man writing on paper

Application process

To obtain a residence card as an EU citizen, you have to register your presence and address within 3 months of arrival. You are also required by the state to apply for an Estonian ID card at least 1 month after you’ve obtained a temporary residence.

Non-EU citizens and third-country nationals have to apply for a temporary residence permit at the nearest Estonian Embassy or Consulate in your home country or country of residence.

If there is no Estonian Embassy or Consulate in your home country or country of residence, you should contact the nearest Estonian Embassy for assistance.

Third-country nationals who are shareholders or stakeholders in any Estonian company and financially able to support themselves throughout their stay are also allowed to apply for a residence permit for the business.

For you to get this immigration document, the company must be registered with the Estonian Trade Register. There are however other requirements for foreign shareholders like:

  • The foreign shareholder must have invested a minimum amount of €65,000 in the company.
  • The company must draft a business plan that describes its agenda and activities.
  • The company’s financial report with a forecast for the following two years must also be drafted.
  • The company must submit a situation with its employees and their qualifications.

Students from third countries are also required to register their place of residence within 30 days of arrival before they can get a residence permit for study.

The right of stay for studies is usually issued for the duration of nominal studies. You can file your application at any Police and Border Guard Board.

Perhaps one of the easiest and fastest routes to Estonia residency is by investment.

You can receive an Estonian temporary residence if you make a direct minimum investment of €1,000,000 in a company registered in the Estonian trade register.

The investor will not be required to have a place of residence, register the place of residence in the Estonian Population Register, or obtain employment.

However, the amount invested must be maintained in the same investment or in a similar investment that meets the requirements.

Estonian temporary residence permits are valid for 1 year and can be renewed after expiry. After 5 years of continuous residence, you may apply for permanent residency.

After obtaining a permanent residence permit and living in Estonia for 3 years, you may be eligible for naturalization. To become a citizen, you must have a permanent legal income of at least €260/month, proficiency in the Estonian language, and pass the citizenship exam.

Dual citizenship for naturalized citizens is not recognized in Estonia.

All foreign nationals must renounce their previous nationality before they can be granted Estonian citizenship rights by naturalization.

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