I’m from a non-EU country and my stay will be temporary, up to 1 year
If you’re coming to Estonia for a project lasting up to 12 months, this is the option for you and your family. You can work with a short-term registration if you’re staying in Estonia based on a visa for up to 365 days, so you won’t need a residence permit (which may take more than 2 months to receive).
But note that without a residence permit and without registering your address, you won’t have access to some public and private services like registering with a family doctor or free public transport.
- Secure a job in Estonia. Agree on work conditions with your employer and sign a contract. Read all about employment contracts here.Note that some employers prefer to sign the work contract on your first day of work. This is fine as far as your immigration process is concerned, because you don’t need a work contract to take the next steps needed to work.
- Your employer will register your short-term employment in Estonia and receive your Estonian ID-code (takes up to 15 business days). Your Estonian employer will take care of this step, but because it’s a crucial one, we’ll give you a short overview so you know what’s happening.This is a simple online registration that’s usually done before you travel to Estonia. It will allow you to start working without a residence permit when you have legal grounds (i.e. a visa or visa freedom) to stay in Estonia. For your employer to do this, you need to give them a copy of your passport, a photo, and some personal details. The process will take up to 15 business days. It is possible to register short-term employment for up to 365 days within 455 day period.
The ID-code is a unique 11-digit number used to identify you in health care and several other areas of your life in Estonia. Scroll down to the Identification code section here.
Your family members are not required to apply for ID-codes during your stay. But if your children will attend school or kindergarten (even private) while you’re in Estonia, we do recommend you to apply.
After a 10-15-minute appointment, in practice it might take up to 7 days to get your ID-code. It might also get done much faster—sometimes even during your appointment. Either way, you’ll have to collect the code in person.
- Apply for a D-visa. You can work in Estonia once your short-term employment is registered and you have legal grounds to work in Estonia. If you come from a country that has a visa-freedom agreement with Estonia, you can stay in the Schengen area for 90 days without a visa. This means you and your family can enter and start working in Estonia without an additional visa. But once you’re in Estonia, you’ll need to apply for a Schengen long-stay D-visa at the Police and Border Guard Board to stay in Estonia for up to 365 days. More info about the process in Estonia here.If you come from a country that requires a visa to enter Estonia, you need to visit an Estonian representation to submit your documents for a visa.
Documents needed to apply:
– A passport, issued within the previous 10 years, that has at least two blank pages for visas and is valid until at least 3 months after the expiration date of the visa.
– Fully completed, printed out and signed D-visa application form
– Photo (size 35×45 mm)
– Insurance policy valid for Estonia or for the Schengen area with a coverage of at least 30,000 EUR for the first 15 days of your employment. After that, the Estonian national health insurance will cover you
– Document indicating the purpose of your trip: for you, that’s your short-term employment registration
– Proof of visa state fee payment €100.00.
The embassy may ask you for additional documents, so we recommend having these ready:
– Confirmation of accommodation in Estonia;
– Return flights or sufficient funds or employer’s confirmation to cover it.
Additional documents for family:
– Marriage certificate for spouse, birth certificate for children.
– Confirmation that the main applicant will cover the costs of staying in Estonia.
Visas are usually given out for the same duration as your short-term employment registration.
Please note that embassies can have different processing times. Make sure you find out in advance how long the visa process is and how to collect your passport. It may be that you’ll have to travel to another country to apply and stay there until your visa is processed. You can always mention this to the embassy so that they could speed up the process if possible.
- Change your tax residency status. When your stay in Estonia exceeds 183 days or when you register your address in Estonia, you become a tax resident here. The change does not happen automatically, meaning you (and any adult family member(s) living with you) have to inform the tax authorities by submitting Form R. Since you don’t have an Estonian ID-card, you can print and sign the form and submit it at the nearest Tax and Customs Board office.Let your employer know that you are a tax resident after the registration is done.
Your tax residency will change retroactively from the day you arrive and the change will be reflected in your annual tax declaration. You’ll be able to use the same deductions as other residents and from 2021 you can choose whether you’d like to join the pension system (2% of your gross salary each month). Read more about the pension scheme here.
If your resident spouse doesn’t work, they are allowed to transfer their unused tax incentives to you. Read more here.
We hope you don’t, but if you decide to leave Estonia, don’t forget to notify the Tax Board of your change of residency by submitting another Form R.
Additional information that might interest you:
– You will have health care coverage from your 15th day of employment. Once you’re registered at the Employment Registry (by your employer) and have an Estonian ID-code, the Estonian health care system will cover you from your 15th day of employment. If you need any unavoidable medical help after that point, you can go to your nearest Emergency Medical Center. If you need a doctor’s consultation, the law allows family doctors to add you to their registry before your address is registered, if they have the capacity. You can ask the Health Board to recommend doctors who might be able to take you on. For your family, we recommend private health insurance.
– Find a home. We recommend you start looking for an apartment as soon as you arrive in Estonia. You could even start a week before (no point in starting too early—the rental market is pretty busy and most apartments will be gone within a week). The best websites for property search are ee and KV.ee. Read more about renting in the Housing section in the Relocation Guide.
– Open a bank account. Keep in mind that many banking service providers have limited offers for foreign nationals without a residence permit. For instance, opening a bank account can take about a week and cost up to 250 euros. Read more about daily practicalities in the Living in Estonia Some potential alternatives to traditional banking are TransferWise, Monese, and Revolut.
– Get a public transportation card. More info here.
– Education system: Pre-school and basic education, Availability of international general education. Since you’re planning a short-term stay, private institutions can enrol your children.
– Declare customs. You don’t have to declare your possessions when coming from another EU country. If you’re coming from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein or another non-EU country, you will need to declare any personal items and motor vehicles you want to bring to Estonia. The authority dealing with customs is the Estonian Tax and Customs Board.
Feels like a lot to handle? The International House of Estonia is there to support you and answer all your questions about paperwork, settling in, networking, and jobs. Book an appointment.