Estonia is an excellent country for international employers interested in hiring remote workers for numerous reasons. First, the country places a heavy emphasis on providing digital access to nearly all services, which means conducting business from afar is highly attainable.
Additionally, business and other services represent the country's fastest-growing sector, and employment rates are projected to increase, which means global employers can harness a trained and viable workforce.
While there are countless benefits for both employees and employers who wish to enter a remote employment partnership in Estonia, it can be challenging to meet the Estonia immigration requirements.
Continue reading if you're interested in learning about the types of Estonia work permits available, the Estonia visa requirements you will need to meet to obtain these permits, and how to apply for work visas in Estonia.
Types of work visas in Estonia
Unlike many other countries, if you plan to move to Estonia, you are not required to get an Estonia work permit in addition to your visa. While some countries, including other EU members, have separate entitlements for living and working, Estonia only has one.
If you obtain any of the visas listed below, you will be entitled to work during your stay in Estonia. However, it's important to note that in order to live and work in the country lawfully, you will still be expected to obtain a visa.
The type of Estonia work visa you will receive will vary based on your specific needs, such as how long you plan to stay in the country and the type of work you plan to do there. Consult the list of Estonia work visas available below to determine which visa best meets your needs.
Work visas for European Union (EU) citizens
Estonia is a member of the EU, which means that the Estonia work visa requirements are much easier to meet for fellow EU citizens compared to non-EU citizens. In addition to EU citizens, this option is available to the citizens of Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, which belong to the European Economic Area (EEA).
If you live in any of the above-listed countries, you do not need to get an Estonia work permit or visa if you only plan to be in the country for a period of 90 days or less.
However, if you live in any of the above-listed countries and plan to live and work in Estonia for a period longer than 90 days, you will need to officially register with the Population Register of Estonia where you plan to live during your stay. This ensures you have access to essential services like social services and healthcare while living in Estonia. It's required that you register your residence within your first three months in Estonia.
In addition, you will need to get an Estonian ID card if you plan to live in Estonia long-term. To obtain this, you will need to apply with the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board within four weeks of registering your residence.
Business Schengen visa
A business Schengen visa is intended for an individual who lives in another Schengen member area to enter Estonia for business purposes. However, it's important to note that this is only a short-term visa and is not designed for individuals wanting to live and work in Estonia long-term.
With a Schengen business visa, you're entitled to enter Estonia for business purposes for a period of up to 90 days consecutively. You can also use this visa as a multiple entry visa, but you cannot spend more than 90 days in Estonia over the course of six months.
Digital nomad Schengen visa
Estonia has two digital nomad visas that are available to individuals who live in other Schengen member areas. These visas are specifically designed for individuals who work remotely in a standard employment, freelance, or self-employed capacity.
The two types of digital nomad visas in Estonia are the type C and type D digital nomad visas:
- If you have a type C digital nomad visa in Estonia, you can live and work as a digital nomad in the country for up to 90 days (similar to the business Schengen visa)
- If you have a type D digital nomad visa in Estonia, you can live and work as a digital nomad in the country for up to 12 months
Work visas for non-European Union (EU) citizens
Getting a residence visa can be significantly more challenging for non-EU citizens. While EU citizens simply have to file some paperwork to be entitled to live and work in Estonia, non-EU citizens will have to apply for one of the following Estonia work permits.
A D-visa is intended for non-EU citizens who plan to live and work in Estonia for a year or less. You will be required to meet the minimum Estonia visa requirements to obtain a D-visa and have an employer who will sponsor your visa.
Temporary residence permit
A temporary residence permit is designed for non-EU individuals who plan to live and work in Estonia for longer than a year. With a temporary residence permit, you can stay in Estonia for a period of up to five years.
Like a D-visa, you will need a local employer to sponsor your residency to have your application approved.
Long-term residence permit
A long-term residence permit is available to non-EU individuals who have been living and working in Estonia for five years with their temporary residence permit. With this permit, you can reside in Estonia indefinitely.
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Conditions to obtain an Estonia work visa and permits
The specific conditions required to obtain an Estonia work visa vary based on your country of origin and the type of visa you're applying for. However, the conditions are significantly harder for non-EU citizens than those immigrating from countries within the EU or EEA areas.
To receive a visa that entitles you to live and work in Estonia, you will be required to meet the following minimum conditions:
- Before beginning your visa application, your employer will need to submit an employment registration on your behalf with the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board
- You will need to be qualified to perform all aspects of the job you're being hired for
- You will need a valid employment contract with an organization that is legally entitled to operate in Estonia
- You will need to meet the minimum health requirements
Estonia visa requirements
The requirements for Estonia visas vary based on the type of visa you're applying for. The process of obtaining the necessary documents to be able to live and work in Estonia is much more difficult for non-EU citizens.
Consider the requirements for a temporary residence permit listed below:
- A passport with at least two unused pages that has an expiration date at least three months later than your visa will expire
- A completed Invitation by Employer form (to be submitted before you submit your application)
- A completed Application for Temporary Residence Permit form
- A document verifying your identification
- A completed Data Concerning Close Relatives and Family Members form
- A receipt indicating you have paid the fees associated with your visa application
- An unedited, color photograph that meets the following requirements:
- The background of the photograph must be white or another light color
- You should be looking directly at the camera with a neutral facial expression
- Your face should be centered and fill up the majority of space in the photograph
- Your face should be free of any headgear (glasses are acceptable so long as they are not reflective and your eyes are still visible)
- The electronic photo must be larger than 1 MB and smaller than 5 MB
- The electronic photo must have the following dimensions: 1,300 pixels by 1,600 pixels
- Depending on your profession and experience, you may be required to submit permission of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund
How to apply for an Estonia work visa
If you're considering moving to Estonia and your country of origin isn't a member of the EU or the EAA, you will need to apply for a work visa with the help of your employer.
Although the exact steps will vary based on the type of work visa you're applying for, you can follow the steps outlined below to apply for an Estonia work visa:
- Your employer will submit a completed Invitation by Employer to the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board
- You submit the relevant Estonia visa application and all the associated documents at your nearest Estonian representation
- If your application is approved, you will receive your Estonia work visa
Application processing time
Although you should prepare for the possibility that the process takes longer, Estonian visas are typically processed between one month and two months, depending on the type of visa you're applying for.
Planning to hire or work in Estonia? Here's how Skuad can help
International employment presents many benefits to both the employee and employer. Individuals can live and work from anywhere, offering a significantly improved work-life balance., and employers can hire talent from all over and relocate op employees with ease.
However, managing the finer details of international employment can often present difficulties to both parties, who share the responsibility of ensuring the employment arrangements comply with local laws.
If you're an employee planning to move to Estonia or an employer interested in hiring foreign nationals living in the country, Skuad can help ensure your working relationship is seamless and allow you the possibility to extend your hiring capabilities to other regions of Europe and the world.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding obtaining an Estonia work permit or visa and what you can expect while navigating the Estonia immigration system.
How long does it take to get a work permit in Estonia?
There is no guaranteed time frame in which you will receive an Estonia work permit, and it will depend on the type of permit you're applying for. However, you can expect the process to take between 30 days and two months of completing your application.
How can a foreigner get a job in Estonia?
If you're an EU citizen, you can freely enter Estonia without a visa, which means you can apply for jobs through typical means. However, non-EU citizens will need to obtain a job in Estonia before moving there. This means you will need to already work for an international employer with an office in Estonia, apply for remote positions with Estonian companies, or try to secure a job with an Estonian company before moving there.
Is an Estonian visa easy to get?
It's extremely easy to move to Estonia for a short or long-term period if you have European Union citizenship. However, non-EU citizens will need to obtain a visa if they wish to live and work in the country, which can be relatively tricky to get compared to other countries.
To be eligible for an Estonian visa as a non-EU citizen, you will need to be sponsored by a local Estonian employer that is willing to be involved in the visa application process and will submit an Invitation by Employer form as a part of your visa application.
What type of visa do I need to work in Estonia?
If you're an EU citizen, you do not need a visa if you plan to work in Estonia, although you will need to register. If you're a non-EU citizen, you can get one of the following types of visas, which will entitle you to live and work in Estonia:
- A D-visa
- A temporary residence permit
- A long-term residence permit
Can Americans work in Estonia?
Americans can work in Estonia as long as they receive one of the above-listed visa types. However, if you're American, you will need to have secured a job with an Estonian employer before your Estonian visa application will be considered.