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Working as a Student

There are about 2,500 foreign students at Estonian universities and vocational schools. This number is growing every year.

International students in Estonia do not need an additional working permit to work while studying full time and they are allowed to work on the condition that it does not interfere with their studies. Students have to receive passing grades for a full load of courses and finish studies within the nominal time.

There are some legal requirements that you must follow if you are a foreign student and wish to work in Estonia.

EU students

As an EU student you can start working whenever you find a suitable job. Of course, all standard aspects such as employment agreements, tax payments, etc. must be properly arranged.

Non-EU students

All non-EU students can stay in Estonia for additional 6 months after their graduation (with the permission of the university) to look for a job in Estonia. Upon finding a job after graduation, they can use this time to apply for a temporary residence permit for work. Different conditions apply if you are a family member of an EU citizen.

Check below for common scenarios:

  1. Working during studies. The temporary residence permit for study is given for one year the longest. You must re-apply for this permit every year.
  2. As a student you are allowed to work during your studies, just keep in mind that your employment should not interfere with the quality of your academic work. Students holding a temporary residence permit must study full-time (at least 22.5 ECTS per semester).
  3. Staying in Estonia after studies. When applying for a temporary residence permit during the last year of your study, you can apply for an additional 6 months of stay after the end of your studies. This period is meant for transitioning into the job market.
  4. Finding a suitable employer. You can start looking for employment options already during your studies. Universities usually host career events, send information about job offers to mailing lists, etc. You have to find an employer and apply for a residence permit before your current residence permit expires. Look at the Land Your Dream Job in Estonia section as well.
  5. New residence permit for work. When you have found a suitable employer and agreed on working conditions, you can apply for a residence permit for employment. Read about the application process on the website of the Police and Border Guard Board. (Take note: the given salary criteria don’t apply for people who have graduated with a bachelor’s, master’s or doctor’s degree in Estonia.)