Working as a foreign national
In case the purpose of a foreign national’s (other than citizens of the member states of the European Union, citizens of the European Economic Area or citizens of the Swiss Confederation) stay in Estonia is to work here, they must have a residence permit for working. A foreign national can be employed in Estonia for a short term if they have a legal right to stay in Estonia (for example, under a visa or visa-free) and their employment has been registered with the Police and Border Guard Board before the commencement of employment.
More detailed information about the registration of short-term employment can be found on the official website of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board.
The Aliens Act regulates the arrival of foreign nationals in Estonia, their temporary stay in Estonia, as well as the basis of residence and employment.
The Police and Border Guard Board provides a counselling service to foreign nationals. The counsellor can be contacted by phone at 612 3500, by e-mail at migrationadvice|at|politsei.ee, via Skype, or by reserving an appointment.
Information about this service is available here.
Before the foreign national can apply for a residence permit for employment with the Police and Border Guard Board, the employer is generally required to have the permission of the Unemployment Insurance Fund for employing a foreign national.
More information on this is available on the official website of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund
The entry of foreign nationals (other than citizens of the member states of the European Union, citizens of the European Economic Area or citizens of the Swiss Confederation and members of their family who have the right to stay or live in Estonia for the purposes of the Citizen of European Union Act) into Estonia and their rights and obligations during their residence, stay, or work in Estonia is regulated by the Aliens Act.
Migration counsellor of the Police and Border Guard Board
General information about working is found below. For more specific information about the conditions of employment related to a specific position or other matters, please contact the Police and Border Guard Board. Questions can be submitted to migrationadvice|ät|politsei.ee or by calling +372 612 3500, Mon–Fri from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Estonian time). Information about the service is available online here
A foreign national can work in Estonia without a residence permit if the employment of the person has been registered with the Police and Border Guard Board and they have a legal basis for their stay in Estonia.
On a short-term basis, a foreign national can work in Estonia based on a short-term employment registration for up to 365 days within a period of 455 days (in case of seasonal work, 270 days within a period of 365 days). Short-term employment can be registered by an employer registered in Estonia. To apply for a registration, the employer must submit the following documents:
- application for the registration of the short-term employment of a foreign national in Estonia which can be completed on a computer and printed out. Instructions for completing the application form By signing the application, the employer confirms the correctness of all the data presented in the application and the attached documents, and the conditions for the short-term employment of a foreign national are met.
- 1 colour photo of the person, 40 x 50 mm;
- copy of the personal information page of the foreign national’s travel document
- document certifying payment of the state fee
Registration of short-term employment can be applied for by the employer in person, through an authorized representative at a Police and Border Guard Board service point, by post or by e-mail (ppa|ät|politsei.ee). The application will be reviewed within 10 days of acceptance or the elimination of the last deficiencies.
Employers are obligated to pay the employees a remuneration corresponding to the wage criterion, i.e. the average wage for the year (as at 1 March 2019, 1310 euros (gross)).
A registration of short-term employment does not constitute a basis for a stay in Estonia and the person in question must apply for a long-term visa if necessary.
It is common in such a situation to apply for a long-term visa permitting the visa holder to stay in Estonia for up to 365 days within a period of 12 months. Outside Estonia, a long-term visa can be obtained only from an Estonian foreign mission where visa applications are processed (a list of which is found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ).
If the person is staying in Estonia and has a legal basis for staying here for at least 10 working days, they can file a D-visa application at a service point of the Police and Border Guard Board in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Narva, or Jõhvi.
The following documents are required to apply for a long-term visa:
- a completed and signed long-term visa application form.
- one colour photo, 40 x 50mm
- applicant’s valid travel document
- valid health insurance contract ensuring the payment of illness- or injury-related treatment during the period of validity of the requested visa, unless otherwise stated in a law or international agreement
- documents certifying the purpose and grounds of stay
- document certifying the payment of the state fee (except for the citizens of Ukraine and Belarus). The state fee for this procedure is 80 euros
Pursuant to the Aliens Act, a foreign national can be issued a residence permit for employment. The purpose of this residence permit is to come to Estonia to work for a specific employer. Prior to arrival in Estonia, a residence permit for employment can be obtained at an Estonian foreign mission where visa applications are processed. In Estonia, a relevant application can be filed with the Police and Border Guard Board. For this purpose, an appointment must be reserved at a service point via https://broneering.politsei.ee/ and the application filed in person at the reserved appointment. The application cannot be filed through a representative. The residence permit is initially issued for up to 5 years.
The following documents are required:
- application for a temporary residence permit if the person is applying for a temporary residence permit.
By signing the application you confirm that:
the copy attached to the application corresponds to the original document, it does not contain any false data and it has not been falsified
you have a sufficient legal income for getting by in Estonia, and
a valid health insurance contract
- Information about close relatives and family
- identity documents
- 1 colour photo, 40 x 50 mm
- document certifying the payment of the state fee
The employer submits to the Police and Border Guard Board by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail (Pärnu mnt 139, 15060 Tallinn):
- permission of the Unemployment Insurance Fund for employing a foreign national
- invitation by the employer.
After submitting the application to an Estonian foreign mission, the documents will be sent to the Police and Border Guard Board in Estonia where the application will be processed. The decision on granting a residence permit will be made within two months of accepting the application or the elimination of the last deficiencies. After a positive decision, a residence permit card will be printed for the foreign national and sent to the corresponding foreign mission. The foreign national will be notified of the arrival of the document at the foreign mission, after which they can receive the document from the foreign mission.
If a foreign national has chosen a Police and Border Guard Board service point as the place of issue and receives an e-mail notifying them of the issuing of a residence permit, it is time to go and pick up the document.
IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND!
The general conditions for issuing a residence permit must be fulfilled throughout the entire validity period on the residence permit:
1) justification of the purpose of staying in Estonia. The purpose of a temporary residence permit for employment is to come to work at a specific Estonian undertaking and this condition must be filled throughout the entire validity period on the residence permit. The foreign national is obligated to work only at this one specific undertaking
2) actual place of residence in Estonia. After the receipt of a residence permit, a foreign national is obligated to register their place of residence in the Estonian population register (if the residence permit has been issued while still abroad, the place of residence must be registered within 1 month of their first arrival in Estonia under the residence permit)
3) sufficient legal income to enable the foreign national and their family to cope in Estonia. A foreign national must possess a sufficient income to live on in Estonia during the entire period of validity of their residence permit.
4) insurance coverage health insurance contract or national health insurance
Non-compliance with even one of the general conditions listed above will serve as grounds for revoking the residence permit.