Estonia welcomes Ukrainian people who have been forced to flee from Ukraine to find their safe temporary home in Estonia. Estonia is helping Ukrainians to find housing, job, medical help, kindergarten and school in Estonia for as long as necessary. Businesses are helped to temporarily relocate in order to ensure business continuity, if demanded by the situation in Ukraine.
Estonian government agency, Invest Estonia together with its subdivision Work in Estonia, have compiled a Q&A information site for Ukrainian refugees in English and in Ukrainian about entering and staying in Estonia during the war in Ukraine. The page will be updated constantly.
In addition, we can help with personal advising for both people and businesses. The contacts of advisors will be found on our #westandwithukraine site here.
No visa needed
All Ukrainian citizens are allowed to enter Estonia without a visa. For crossing the Estonian border, Ukrainians must have a valid travel document, a citizen’s passport.
Ukrainian children arriving in Estonia are welcomed with a teddy bear at the border, organized by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board.
According to the European Commission, people fleeing the war in Ukraine will soon be granted automatic temporary protection in the European Union states for up to three years, including a residence permit and access to employment and social care. Estonia additionally offers free education in schools and a kindergarten for infants.
The Estonian Refugee Council has mapped short- and long-term housing options for Ukrainian refugees containing accommodation possibilities free of charge or with minimal costs. The accommodation is organized mostly in Estonian cities, including polite hotels, apartments, detached houses, and dormitory places if needed additionally.
Ukrainian citizens who have arrived in Estonia with or without a visa get the right to work in Estonia with registering short-term employment by the employer. As Ukrainian workers have a very positive reputation in Estonia and there are over 11,500 vacant positions in Estonia, there should be no major difficulties in finding work here. To find a job in Estonia, Ukrainians are welcome to visit the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund’s special page here.
The European Union has adopted a directive to give all Ukrainians who fled the war from 24.02 temporary international protection status, which would give temporary residence permits for one year in Estonia and could enter the labour market under exactly the same conditions as Estonian citizens. This has just been adopted and information changes fast, so you can follow www.kriis.ee/en website or Work in Estonia channels.
Free school and kindergarten
In order to ensure that Ukrainian mothers in Estonia can go to work and the education of children doesn’t stop here, Estonia offers continuing education for all Ukrainian children arriving in Estonia. Liina Kersna, Estonia’s Minister of Education and Research, stated that nearly 40 percent of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Estonia are likely to be minors who need to be provided with access to education. Education in Estonia is free, and the costs of providing education are compensated by Estonia.
“All children must have the opportunity to go to school, and in cooperation with the private sector, we will also create opportunities for them to spend their free time,” said Mihhail Kõlvart, Mayor of Tallinn. According to Kõlvart, Tallinn plans to create a special project-based school for Ukrainian children, where they can study, regardless of age.
In addition to Tallinn, other Estonian cities are also prepared to help Ukrainians in issues related to education, housing, and work.
As healthcare is a basic human right, urgent medical aid is ensured to all persons staying in Estonia if they have a severe or life-threatening health issue – even if the person who has arrived does not yet have a direct legal basis for being in Estonia. Medical help in Estonia is free for everyone.
Invest Estonia has suspended all foreign investment projects of Russia and Belarus.
Invest Estonia together with International House of Estonia provide full support and a personal business relocation advisor for all Ukrainian companies who need to relocate their business to Estonia. Your personal business continuity advisor will connect you with all the local service providers and support in finding office premises, living place, school and kindergarten places, and, if needed, will organize a transport to Estonia from the Ukrainian border.
Startup Estonia keeps offering startup visa program both for founders and talents who wish to work for Estonian startups. Startup visa applications for Ukrainian citizens are processed in a fast track, results usually come within 1-2 days.
For the past three years, Ukraine has been one of e-Residency’s main target countries. Estonia has more than 5,100 Ukrainian e-residents in total, who have founded around 1,600 companies in Estonia. The e-Residency programme and Estonia’s community of 90,000+ e-residents support the Ukrainian e-residents by distributing information to them and spreading information about Estonian companies founded by Ukrainian e-residents. The e-Residency programme keeps accepting applications for e-Residency from Ukrainian citizens, though currently e-Residency cards cannot be issued at the Estonian embassy in Kyiv.
Applications for e-Residency from Russian and Belarusian citizens are currently not accepted and issuing e-Residency cards at Estonia’s embassies in Moscow and Minsk has been suspended.
Work in Estonia operatively shares official and important information to employers as well as to Ukrainians and our community. The Estonian International House in Tallinn serves Ukrainians as a priority.
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