Car Registration & Driver’s License
Before receiving a residence permit / registering your place of residence, you can drive your vehicle with a foreign license plate. This rule is applied until the vehicle has stayed in Estonia for 12 months without interruption – then it must be registered in Estonia even if its owner does not reside in Estonia. Just make sure that your car insurance is valid at all times. (It might be reasonable to buy the insurance from your home country. When your car is registered in a non-EU country, you can only get frontier insurance in Estonia and those prices are quite high.)
As soon as you register your residency in Estonia or receive a residence permit, you must register your car within 5 days from registration. If you have registered your residency or received your residence permit beforehand, you still have to register your car within 5 days of having brought it into the country.
To register your car:
– take your car to the pre-registration inspection: check whether the documents are in order and the car meets the standards.
– register your car and purchase Estonian license plates.
Important to know: if you want to register the car in your name but you are not registered to live in Estonia (or less than 6 months have passed since your registration of residence), you have to add one Estonian resident as an authorised user to the car’s documents.
What to bring to the pre-registration inspection?
You have to bring the following things with you:
- Car registration
- Personal ID
- Documents of purchase
- A letter of empowerment in case you are not the owner
- A document certifying the payment of the state fee; the fee can also be payed at the Road Administration office (only sums up to 10 euros can be paid in cash; larger sums have to be paid by credit/debit card)
Citizens of the EU, EEA and Switzerland
- Driver’s licenses issued by the EU/EEA countries and Switzerland are all valid in Estonia. You are not required to change them after settling in Estonia, unless they are valid for a period longer than 10 years.
- Driver’s licenses issued for a period longer than 10 years must be exchanged for an Estonian driver’s license within 24 months of being granted the right of residence or settling in Estonia.
- You can apply for an Estonian driving license after living in Estonia for at least 185 days.
Citizens of non-EU countries
- Driver’s licenses issued by non-EU countries are valid for 12 months after moving to Estonia. They must be replaced with Estonian driving licenses after that time.
- You can apply for an Estonian driver’s license after living in Estonia for at least 185 days.
- Driver’s licenses issued by a member state of the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (e.g. the USA, Canada, Argentina, etc.) are valid in Estonia only together with an International Driving Permit. They can be replaced with Estonian licenses only after passing the theory examination and the driving test.
Read more about driving licences on the website of Estonian Road Administration.