Estonia 101 - Entering the country

  • We are proud to kick off a series of introductory posts on a wide scope of legal issues most commonly encountered by E-residents. Feel free to post any comments, questions or opinions below.

    Estonia is a member of the European Union and it is a Schengen country.

    Citizens of the European Union

    A citizen of the EU has the right to enter and stay in Estonia on the basis of a valid travel or identity document. Not later than after three months after entering Estonia, a citizen of the EU must register with his or her local municipality. EU citizens will obtain a right to reside in Estonia for five years, a term which can be extended. An identity card must be applied for within one month after the registration of residence.
    A citizen of the EU who has permanently (at least 183 days during a year) resided in Estonia for a period of five consecutive years based on a temporary right of residence is entitled to a permanent right of residence.

    Visa Requirements

    Citizens of certain countries may enter Estonia without a visa. A list of these countries may be found here.

    If a visa is required, the applicant must submit an application to the Estonian embassy or consulate in person as fingerprints of the applicant need to be collected. The application normally includes a valid travel document, a photo, a health insurance policy valid in Schengen countries and an application form signed personally by the applicant. A state duty of between EUR 60-80, depending on the type of the visa, must also be paid. Visa types include e.g. a short-term visa for single- or multiple-entry stays up to 90 days during 6 months and a long-stay visa that is required for short-term employment.

    Residence Permits

    There are no general restrictions for foreigners to own a business in Estonia. Although a residence permit is not required in order to own a business, it is possible to apply for a temporary residence permit to operate a business. Such residence permit may be issued to a foreigner who owns shares in an Estonian company if the business facilitates the national interest of developing the Estonian economy and the foreigner has invested in Estonia a capital sum in the amount of at least approx. EUR 65,000.

    A foreigner is required to have a residence permit to gain employment in Estonia or a work permit issued on the basis of an employment contract or other similar contract.

    The state duty for processing an application for a work permit is approx. EUR 50, for a residence permit for employment approx. EUR 100 and for a temporary residence permit for business approx. EUR 160. As a general rule, an application for a residence permit should be submitted to an Estonian embassy or consulate. A decision on the issuance of the permit will be taken within two months.

    Key statutes:
    Citizen of European Union Act 2006
    Aliens Act 2009

    Information posted above is intended as a general guide and does not constitute legal advice.

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