Estonia Visa Guide

The tiny country of Estonia is making a big wave in the tech scene and may be a little preview of what the future will look like. Situated between Latvia, Russia, and Finland, Estonia is a part of the notoriously efficient and focused Scandinavian countries of northern Europe. English is widely used in Estonia, so it’s a perfect location to find international work experience for professionals. It’s just different enough to experience something brand new but still familiar enough to settle in quickly.

Estonia’s recent growth in the tech sector has a lot to do with the government’s approach to businesses and startups. It’s actually home to the team that created Skype. Kindergarteners learn computer programming in school. There is a national initiative to continue into the digital age in all areas. It’s to no surprise there are government initiatives and special programs to attract foreign talents for startups. As a result, there are plenty of opportunities waiting for you.

Residence permit

Estonia is even convenient in this regard. If you have a residence permit, you are permitted to work in Estonia. They no longer require you to get both a residence and work permit.

The best way is to apply for a temporary residence permit with an employer in Estonia. Once you have a contract negotiated with an Estonian company, it’s easier to apply. You can search for companies hiring foreign talent that will help sponsor in Estonia right here.  

 

Here are the qualifications for applying:

  • Your salary and contract meets the standard.
  • The company must be registered in Estonia for at least five months prior.

 

There are 2 different types of employment visas

1. Employment as a Non-EU resident:

Most countries in the EU will have different a different process for living and working in Estonia. But for non-EU residents, it’s still a fairly straight forward process as long as you have an employment contract.

Here are the required documents:

  • Your employment contract
  • Your health insurance contract
  • Application for visa
  • Passport photo
  • Payment for fee – 80 euros

Your employer will submit other documents for you from Estonia while you wait for processing in your home state.

2. Employment at a startup:

As mentioned before, Estonia is highly supportive of digital and startup efforts. There is a government initiative that funds and mentors startups as well as opens the doors to them sponsoring visas. There are plenty of Estonian tech startups looking for your skills.

 

Here are the required documents:

  • Your employment contract
  • Your health insurance contract
  • Application for visa
  • Passport photo
  • Payment for fee – 80 euros
  • Opinion of the expert committee

 

Your employer will submit other documents for you. Other documentation may be requested.

For all these visas, you must apply in person at a service office within Estonia or at an embassy that can represent Estonia. For all visas, you will receive a decision within two months of applying. You will receive a residence card to enter Estonia on. Once receiving your residence permit, you will be allowed two years until you need to renew through an easy online process!

 

One more option: Short Term Employment:

If you don’t plan on living in Estonia long term, but rather, are wanting to spend a short amount of time (less than a year) working on a project for a company or doing an internship, that works as well! You can register for short term employment. Often times, those who work for startups and top specialists seek this option. You will need to have an employment contract with a company who is registered for more than 5 months. They will submit documents on their side, while you’ll submit the following:

For internships, also include a letter or documentation stating that your internship is necessary for your studies. Once approved, you will have up to 270 days to stay or as outlined by your contract. Approval generally takes less than a month.

The best method for getting a visa for Estonia is to do job research and have a contract before beginning the process. With all of the startup and tech activity, there are plenty of companies looking for professionals like you! Search companies hiring and sponsoring in Estonia here.

 

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