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.
Where is your candidate relocating from?
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 prior to commencing employment. By law, it should take maximum 15 working days; or 2 working days for top-specialists and startup-employees.
The minimum gross monthly salary for a foreign expert/consultant is €1310 and €2620 for a top specialist. The time to get the short-term employment registration confirmed is 15 working days for an expert/consultant and 24 hours for a top specialist.
Employees who's short-term employment in Estonia is registered, are covered by the state health insurance.
Secure long-stay (D) visa
Citizens of certain countries need a long-stay (D) visa to enter Estonia and legally stay here. Long-stay visa is issued for up to 365 days (for top specialists and startup employees it's possible to extend the visa for a total stay of 548 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 made by the consul within 30 days (but in reality about 14 days).
While abroad, the only way to apply for a long-stay (D) visa is in person at an Estonian foreign Embassy.
Information and documents required for a long-stay (D) visa:
- Fully completed application form (download here)
- A passport photo
- Documents indicating the purpose of the journey: short-term employment registration serves as an invitation from the employer.
- Flight booking to Estonia, if available
- 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.
- Proof of visa-fee: €80
Arrival in Estonia and start working
Once their short-term employment is registered at the Police and Border Guard Board and the employee has received a visa, they can start working immediately after arrival in Estonia.
Acquiring an Estonian Personal ID Code
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.
The Personal ID code is issued by the Police and Border Guard Board upon registration of the short-term employment.
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 for employment and submit the documentation in person at the Police and Border Guard 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.
Before a residence permit application is submitted, it is important to verify that the immigration quota is not fulfilled. Estonia has a system whereby the entry of foreign workforce is limited with immigration quota, The quota is set for each year, however certain preferential categories (such as top specialists and startup employees) are exempt.
Summary of the documents required for the residency permit:
From employee (in person at the Estonian Embassy or the PBGB) ✅
- Application form (download here)
- Data of close relatives and family members
- Identity Document
- 1 digital colour photo not older than six months (details here)
Document certifying the payment of the state fee From employer (in person, by post or via email to the Police and Border Guard Board):
- Unemployment Insurance Fund permission, if not exempted
- Invitation by employer (download here)
A residence permit for employment is issued for up to 5 years (or equal to the duration of the contract if it is shorter than 5 years) and can be extended for up to 10 years at a time.
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.
Registering an Address
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 eesti.ee.
Registering their address will give a resident access to services, including registration at the general doctor. A check-up at the general doctor is free of charge, among other services.
Establishing Tax Residency
After registering an address, the employee should change their tax residency status by submitting the Residency Form R.
Submitting a Form R can be done via email (if the employee has an Estonian ID-card for digital signing) or in person.
We can help you
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.