As of 21 December 2007, Estonia is a part of the Schengen visa area.
Who needs a visa to enter Estonia?
Nationals of the member states of EU and EEA – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, United Kingdom – and Switzerland.
The bases for their stay in Estonia are regulated by the Citizen of European Union Act.
Schengen States – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Greece, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta.
The holders of the following passports do not require a visa to enter Estonia for stays of no more than three months in a 6 month period:
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Israel, Japan, Macao Special Administrative Region, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela.
CITIZENS OF COUNTRIES NOT MENTIONED ABOVE REQUIRE A VISA TO ENTER ESTONIA
- Citizens of third countries, who in addition to the valid passport of the country of their citizenship present the Swedish residence card, which has been issued pursuant to the Directive 2004/38/EC of the EU Parliament and the Council bearing a text “Family member of a Union citizen” may enter Estonia without a visa in case they travel to Estonia from another EU member state. Abolition of visas is applied only in case the family member travels together: 1. with the EU citizen or 2. to the EU citizen (in that case residence information of the EU citizen in Estonia has to be included into the National Population Register of Estonia). Visa-free stay may last up to 90 days during six months. The mentioned residence card does not allow the holder to cross the external border of EU without a visa.
- The holders of the diplomatic passports of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia may stay visa-free in Estonia for up to 90 days within six months.
- The holders of the diplomatic and service passports of Macedonia, Bolivia and Peru may stay visa-free in Estonia for up to 90 days within six months.
- The holders of the diplomatic passports of Turkey may stay visa-free in Estonia for up to 30 days within a six month period.
- The holders of the Laissez- Passer issued by the United Nations may stay visa-free in Estonia for up to 90 days within a six month period.
There are five types of visas:
- Airport transit visa (type A) – given for entry into the international transit zone at an Estonian airport and for the stay therein allowing for the departure to the next transit country or arrival country, where the person has a legal basis to enter. This visa shall not grant the alien the right to enter Estonia or stay in Estonia.
- Transit visa (type B) – given for single- or dual-entry transit journey through Estonia to the next transit country or arrival country, where the person has a legal basis to enter. The transit visa may also be given for multiple journeys when necessary for the completion of professional or employment duties.
- Short-term visa (type C) – given for single- or multiple-entry stays up to 90 days during a 6-month period in Schengen area.
Short-stay visa without invitation
A single-entry short-stay visa for up to five days may be issued to an alien for entry into Estonia and for stay in Estonia for the purpose of using a tourism service or entertainment service, in case his/her economic situation enables him/her to meet the obligations set out in Aliens Act (accommodation and transport costs). In that case the alien does not need a person inviting him/her named in §-s 1016 of Aliens Act.
Short-stay visa is a travel visa. It is important to have in view the person’s travel purpose, which can only be the use of a tourism service or entertainment service. To visit an acquaintance or relative living in Estonia as well as to come to Estonia for business or other purposes, an invitation continues to be required.
- Long-term visa (type C) – given for single- or multiple-entry and stay in Estonia (e.g. for accredited journalists representing foreign mass media, Estonian Honorary Consuls, persons who have registered their short term employment before applying for visa, also their family members (spouse, minors and dependant adult children).
- Diplomatic visa and service visa is a transit visa or short-term visa issued to a person in transit through Estonia on official business or to a person sent to Estonia and enjoying the diplomatic status of a foreign state or of an international organisation. Diplomatic or service visa may be issued as visas of categories B, C and D.
Document requirements when applying for visa:
- A valid travel document – it must contain at least two blank pages for visas and be valid for at least 3 months after the end of the validity of the visa
- A completed visa application
- A coloured photograph (sized 35 x 45 mm)
- A valid health insurance certificate, which would grant the covering of treatment costs arising from an illness or injury at the period of validity of the visa being applied for, unless otherwise specified by law or an international agreement. The minimum rate for limit of indemnity in the health insurance agreement is 30,000 EUR (469,400 EEK) for the whole period of stay in the Schengen area
- Documents proving the purpose of the travel and the reason for it
- Documents certifying the existence of sufficient monetary means during the stay in Estonia
- Documents certifying the covering of the accommodation costs and the costs of stay in Estonia
- Document certifying the payment of state fee or document certifying the exemption from paying state fee
State fees for processing visa applications
|Airport transit visa||938 EEK (60 €)|
|Transit visa||938 EEK (60 €)|
|Short-term visa||938 EEK (60 €)|
|Long-term visa||1250 EEK (80 €)|
|EU agreements on the facilitation of the issuance of visas(applies for the citizens of the Russian Federation and Ukraine)||One-time and multiple-entry visa 545 EEK (35 €);
urgent visa 1090 EEK (70 €)
|EU agreements on the facilitation of the issuance of visas(applies for the citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYROM, Montenegro, Serbia and Moldova)||One-time and multiple-entry visa 545 EEK (35 €)|
Residence and work permits
The issue of residence permits to the citizens of the European Union and their family members is regulated by the Citizen of European Union Act, the issue of residence permits to the third country nationals and persons with undetermined citizenship is regulated by the Aliens Act.
Residence permit may be temporary (validity period up to five years) or long-term.
Temporary residence permit may be issued to an alien:
- married to a person with permanent residence in Estonia;
- for settling down with a close relative permanently residing in Estonia;
- for working;
- for studies at an Estonian educational institution;
- for business;
- whose permanent legal income ensures his/ her subsistence in Estonia;
- whose application for residence permit is based on an international agreement.
Temporary residence permit may be extended if the basis for the permit has not changed and application is justified. In order to extend temporary residence permit you have to go to the regional office of the CMB in person or submit the application by post. An alien residing in Estonia on the basis of temporary residence permit who desires to stay outside Estonia for more than 183 days per year, shall register his/ her absence from Estonia at the Citizenship and Migration Board.
Long-term residence permit may be issued to an alien who has stayed in Estonia permanently on the basis of temporary residence permit for at least five years, holds valid temporary residence permit, has registered residence, health insurance and permanent legal income for subsistence in Estonia and has knowledge of the Estonian language at least at basic level.
After Estonia became EU Member State the Citizen of European Union Act entered into force in Estonia, which in turn led to amendments in the procedure of application for residence permit by EU citizens and their family members.
Work permit for an alien who stays in Estonia on the basis of a temporary residence permit
In order to work in Estonia an alien must hold a work permit. Activities as a sole proprietor, employment with an employment contract or any other contract, or any activity which may result in gaining profit or any other benefit, irrespective of the type or form of the contract, or the location or place of residence of the other party to the contract, shall be deemed to be employment, unless an international agreement stipulates otherwise.
The period of validity of your work permit cannot exceed the period of validity of your residence permit.
The following persons do not require a work permit in order to work in Estonia:
- aliens with long-term residence permits;
- aliens who have residence permits for employment;
- aliens who have applied for a residence permit before July 12, 1995 and who have obtained such a permit;
- imprisoned persons during their stay in prison;
- members of locomotive crews;
- staff serving in locomotives and trains;
- drivers for taking passengers or cargo over state borders.
Short-term employment in Estonia
An employer may apply for the registration for short-term employment in Estonia for the following persons:
- aliens who arrive in Estonia either on the basis of a visa* or on a visa-free basis (unless any international agreement stipulates otherwise);
- aliens who stay in Estonia either on the basis of a visa* or on a visa-free basis (unless any international agreement stipulates otherwise).
* For the purposes of short-term employment foreign nationals who need an entry visa to Estonia are requested to apply for a long-term visa (type D). Before applying for a visa the short-term employment must be registered at the Citizenship and Migration Board.
Short-term employment cannot exceed a period of 6 months a year.
An alien who stays in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit cannot be registered for short-term employment in Estonia. In this case an alien has to apply for a work permit or a residence permit for employment. European Union citizens do not have to register their short-term employment in Estonia.
According to the Aliens Act an employer must pay an alien a salary which is at least equal to the latest average gross monthly salary in the main field of activity of the employer published by the Statistical Office of Estonia but not less than the product of the average yearly wages in Estonia and the coefficient 1.24.
Sources: Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Citizenship and Migration Board
More information on Visas, Work and Residence Permits
Citizenship and Migration Board: http://www.mig.ee/index.php/mg/eng
Estonia’s Representations around the world: http://www.mfa.ee/eng/kat_150/
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.mfa.ee/eng/
Customs Guide for Travellers: http://www.emta.ee/?id=1089
Source: Estonian Investment and Trade Agency www.investinestonia.com
See also scheme FOREIGNERS COMING TO WORK TO ESTONIA