Visas & Residence Permit

The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made a comprehensive overview of visa information, explaining who needs a visa, who doesn't, and how to apply for one. Various sources may offer conflicting information, but the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the one trustworthy source for receiving accurate information on this topic.

EU Citizens

It is quite straightforward for EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals to move freely without a visa. Estonia has been a member of the EU since 2004, so people in those categories can travel and reside in Estonia for up to three months without any registration. If you should decide that you would like to stay in Estonia for longer than that three-month period, you should then register your permanent Estonian address and apply for an Estonian ID card. After five years of temporary residence in Estonia, you can then apply for a permanent residence.

Read more about EU citizens' temporary residence here:…

Non-EU Citizens

There are some non-EU citizens who can reside in the Schengen area (including Estonia) for up to 90 days without a visa. See the list here:
Other non-EU citizens still need a visa to enter Estonia. There are two options for you: 

  1. You'll need a long-term visa if you plan to stay for up to a year.

This is what you will have to do for a long-term visa:…


  1. You'll need a temporary-residence permit if you plan to stay longer than a year.

In short, a temporary-residence permit can be granted to you for different reasons: It can be for employment, for study, for business, or for visiting as a spouse. These different cases each have their own criteria. For specific example: If your permit is granted in connection to work, but you lose your job or change employer, then you'll have to register for a new permit.

Some non-EU citizens also fall under the annual immigration quota, which means that the number of new residence permits under the quota can’t exceed 0,1% of Estonia’s permanent population. Make sure to check the Police and Border Guard Board website. 
There is an exception though, the IT sector, developers, startup employees and top specialists don’t fall under the annual immigration quota.

You can either 1) apply for a temporary residence permit and ID code at the Estonian foreign embassy and when you receive it travel to Estonia or 2) travel to Estonia on the basis of Visa/Visa-free and start work on the basis of short-term employment registration and then apply for a residence permit for employment. It takes approximately 2 months to receive the temporary residence permit.

Read more about non-EU temporary residence permit:…