Relocate an International Candidate to Estonia: The Ultimate Guide

by Gonzalo October 24, 2018

Congratulations! These are exciting times. Your candidate has confirmed your job offer, and it’s time to relocate them to Estonia. If you are not sure how to proceed, don’t worry. This post will cover, in detail, the step-by-step process our own Immigration Team has used to secure a work visa and temporary residence, and relocate 250+ international candidates (and their families) to Estonia.

Relocating International Talent to Estonia

Relocating international candidates to work in Estonia is a simple process if you know what you are doing. Below is a quick breakdown of the seven steps required. Let’s see.

1. Determine their country of origin
2. Register the short-term employment of the new candidate at the Police Board employment registration
3. Secure a visa
4. Guarantee their arrival in Estonia
5. Secure an Estonia Personal Identification Code
6. Secure the temporary residence permit for employment
7. Register the residence address and tax residency

Step 1 – Determine their country of origin

Check here if your new employee can travel to Estonia without a visa. If yes, lucky you. That means they can start working as soon as their short-term employment is registered (which takes 2-10 days depending on the position). If they need a visa to enter Estonia, Step 3 will clarify these matters.

Step 2 – Short-term employment registration

Estonia has quite a unique system, allowing foreign employees to start working based only on the registration of short-term employment if the person has legal grounds for staying in Estonia. This is done by the employer and more info can be found here.

Note: The minimum gross monthly salary (criteria changes every year in March) for a foreign expert/consultant is €1221 and €2442 for a top specialist. The time to get the short-term employment registration confirmed is 10 days for an expert/consultant and 24 hours for a top specialist.

Step 3 – Visa 

Note: If your new employee is from a visa-free country, please proceed to Step 4.

Citizens of certain countries need a long-stay (D) visa to enter Estonia and legally stay here for up to 365 days. Short-term employment registration will serve as proof of future employment in Estonia, so it’s important to complete step 1 before applying for a visa. The decision about granting the visa is usually made within 14 business days.

While abroad, the only way to apply for a long-stay (D) visa is in person at an Estonian foreign Embassy.

Summary of the documents required for a long-stay (D) visa (more info here):

  1. Passport
  2. Fully completed application form
  3. A passport photo
  4. Documents indicating the purpose of the journey: Short-term employment registration serves as an invitation from the employer.
  5. Any information that confirms the person intends to leave the Schengen Area before their visa expires or proof that they intend to stay.
  6. Flight booking to Estonia.
  7. Accommodation booking in Estonia.
  8. Travel/health insurance to cover the person’s first 14 days of employment in Estonia. After this period, the employee will be covered by state health insurance.
  9. Proof of visa-fee: €80

Step 4 – Arrival in Estonia

Once their short-term employment is registered at the Police Board (and visa granted), the employee can start working immediately after arrival in Estonia.

Step 5 – Estonian Personal Identification Code

Acquiring an Estonian personal identification code (First week in Estonia)

For the employer to register an employee at the Tax and Customs Board in Estonia, the employee needs to have an Estonian personal identification code.  After the application is submitted personally by the employee at the state government office, the identification code will be issued within 3-5 days.

Step 6 – submitting the documentation for a residence permit

To reside and work in Estonia on a long-term basis, the employee is required to apply for a temporary residence permit and submit the documentation in person at the Police Board office. An appointment for this should be scheduled  as soon as the employee’s arrival date is fixed, as otherwise the waiting time can be quite long.

Once the documents have been submitted, the Police and Border Guard Board has up to 2 months to reach a resolution about the permit.

A residence permit for employment is issued for up to 5 years and can be extended for up to 10 years at a time. Please note that if the employment contract with the current employer (Sponsor) is terminated, the employee must apply for a new permit with a new sponsor or leave the country.

Step 7 – Registration of the residence address and tax residency

After receiving their residence permit, the employee is required to register their permanent address within 30 days. This can be done via email or online at

Registering their address will give a resident full access to public health care. A check-up at the general doctor is free of charge, among other services. In case of health problems before the address registration, the employee should turn to the Emergency Medical Centre (Ravi 18, Tallinn). Upon presenting the ID-code and passport or residency card, a person will receive help under the State Health Care System.

To change their tax residency status, a person needs to submit the Residency form R. This can be done via email.

Want some help?

Jobbatical helps you relocate skilled professionals to Estonia without dealing with bureaucracy. We help you understand, manage and fill out all the paperwork needed to relocate your new hires to Estonia, and help them settle in so they can focus on their new job.

If you want some help, feel free to talk to our Immigration team. Companies like Pipedrive, Transferwise and InBank trust us with their relocation.

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