Working as an alien
The entry of aliens (excluding citizens of the member states of the European Union, citizens of the member states of the European Economic Area, or citizens of the Swiss Confederation and their family members, who have a legal right of stay or residence in Estonia for the purposes of the Citizen of the European Union Act) into Estonia and their rights and obligations while living, staying, or working in Estonia are regulated by the Aliens Act.
If the purpose of an alien’s stay in Estonia (except for citizens of a Member State of the European Union, a member state of the European Economic Area, and the Swiss Confederation) is to work here, their employment must be previously registered with the Police and Border Guard Board and the person must have a legal basis for a stay in the country (for example, a visa, visa-free travel, residence permit).
An alien who is legally staying in Estonia temporarily and whose employment was registered with the Police and Border Guard Board before starting work may work in Estonia for a short period of time. Additional and more detailed information on registering for short-term employment can be found on the website of the Estonian Police and Border Guard.
It is possible to apply for a temporary residence permit to live and work in Estonia for more than one year. Before an alien can apply for a residence permit to work from the Police and Border Guard Board, the employer must generally receive permission from the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund to employ an alien.
Additional information can be found on the official website of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.
Migration consultant of the Police and Border Guard
Presented below is information on working on a general basis, which has been prepared by the Police and Border Guard Board. To learn about more detailed conditions based on the specific position and employment, or if you have additional questions, please contact the Police and Border Guard Board. You can submit your questions to the e-mail address email@example.com or via telephone at 612 3500, Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Estonian time). Information about the service can be found online here and in English here.
Registration with the Police and Border Guard
An alien who is legally staying in Estonia temporarily (for example, on the basis of a visa or visa waiver), and whose employment has been registered with the Police and Border Guard Board before starting work, may work in Estonia for a short period of time. Short-term employment can be registered for up to 365 days in a 455-day period.
Additional information on the arrival and temporary stay of posted workers in Estonia from third countries can be found on the official website of the Police and Border Guard.
Registration with the Labour Inspectorate
Pursuant to § 5¹ of the Working Conditions of Employees Posted to Estonia Act, employees posted to Estonia must be registered with the Labour Inspectorate. The employer of a posted worker must register the employees being posted to Estonia prior to the employee actually starting work in Estonia by sending the necessary data via e-mail in a form that can be reproduced in writing to the Labour Inspectorate, to the address firstname.lastname@example.org. In the event of a change in the information, a corresponding notice must be submitted to the Labour Inspectorate at the same e-mail address before the change enters into force.
The following data must be submitted to the Labour Inspectorate:
- the name, personal identification code or registry code, area of activity, and details of the residence or location and means of communication of the employer of the posted worker;
- the name and details of communication of the contact person representing the employer of the posted worker;
- the number of posted workers, their names, personal identification codes or dates of birth, and numbers of identity documents;
- the expected duration of the posting and the scheduled start date and end date;
- the name, personal identification code or registry code, area of activity, and details of the residence or location and means of communication of the contracting entity or contracting authority and/or person for whom the posted employee works in Estonia;
- the name, personal identification or registry code, field of activity, residence or seat and means of communication of the contact person for the contracting authority and/or person for whom the posted employee works in Estonia;
- information regarding in which area of activity the posted employee will be working in Estonia, and the address of the place of performance of work of the posted worker.
Registration Form (DOCX)
In the event of failure to comply with the requirement to register employees that have been posted to Estonia, the Labour Inspectorate has the right to assign a penalty of up to 300 fine units to a natural person and up to € 32,000 pursuant to § 93 of the Working Conditions of Employees Posted to Estonia Act.
Pursuant to subsection 51 (6) of the Working Conditions of Employees Posted to Estonia Act, the Labour Inspectorate has the right to disclose personal data submitted to the Labour Inspectorate to ensure the performance of tasks assigned to the Tax and Customs Board by tax laws.
If an employee from Ukraine is working for a Polish employer under the basis of a residence permit or visa, and the Polish employer posts this employee to Estonia to provide services, then the Polish employer must register the short-term employment of the employee hailing from Ukraine with the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board and submit information on to posting of the employee the Labour Inspectorate.
Pursuant to the Aliens Act, an alien may be issued a residence permit for working. This residence permit is intended for someone to come to Estonia to work for a specific employer. A residence permit for working can be applied for prior to travelling to Estonia at an Estonian foreign mission where visa applications are processed. While in Estonia, it is possible to submit an application for a residence permit to the Police and Border Guard Board. An appointment must first be booked in the reservation system, and you must come at the reserved time to submit your application. The application must be submitted in person and cannot be submitted via a representative. A residence permit is initially issued for up to 5 years.
The following documents must be submitted when applying:
- Temporary residence permit application (PDF), if you are applying for a temporary residence permit. By signing the application, you confirm that:
- the copy attached to the application corresponds to the original document, does not contain false information, and is not a forgery,
- you have sufficient legal income to live in Estonia, and
- medical expenses insurance contract;
- Information on close relatives and family members (PDF),
- an identity document;
- one 40 × 50 mm colour photo;
- A document proving payment of the state fee;
The employer submits to the Police and Border Guard via e-mail (email@example.com) or by post (Pärnu mnt. 139, 15060 Tallinn):
- Consent of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund for employing an alien;
- the employer’s invitation (PDF). (PDF)
After submitting the application to an Estonian foreign mission, the document will be sent to the Estonian Police and Border Guard, where it will be processed. The decision on whether to issue a residence permit will be made within 2 months as of being accepted for processing or the rectification of the latter’s deficiencies. After making a positive decision, a residence permit card is printed for the alien and sent to the Estonian foreign mission. The alien will receive a notice regarding the arrival of the document at the embassy, after which it will be possible to collect the document from the embassy.
If the alien has marked the place of issue as a service office of the Estonian Police and Border Guard and receives a notice via e-mail titled ‘issuing a residence permit card’, then it is time to collect the document.
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER!
The general terms and conditions of the residence permit must be fulfilled during the entire period of validity of the residence permit:
- Justification for the reason for settling in Estonia. The purpose of a temporary residence permit for work is to come to Estonia to work in a specific company, and this purpose must be fulfilled during the entire period of validity of the residence permit. The alien is required to work for the given company.
- Actual place of residence in Estonia. After receiving the residence permit, the alien is required to register their place of residence in the Estonian Population Register (if the residence permit has been received while abroad, within 1 month as of the first arrival in the country on the basis of the residence permit);
- Sufficient legal income, which allows for the subsistence of the alien and their family members in Estonia. The alien must have an income for the duration of the residence permit, which ensures their subsistence in Estonia.
- Insurance cover (a medical expenses insurance contract or state health insurance)
Failure to comply with even one of these general conditions is grounds for revocation of the residence permit.