Entry conditions and residence permits for Estonia

Living in Europe | Entry conditions/visas | Estonia

This page is being updated in autumn 2017. In case of question please contact the Estonian Police and Boarder Guard Board Migration Advisors directly.


Different rules about residence and work in Estonia apply to citizens of the EU and to citizens of third countries. The length of their stay also influences which rules they must follow.

A citizen of the European Union (EU), of a member state of the European Union Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss Confederation - hereinafter an EU citizen.

A citizen of a third country - occasionally hereafter non-EU citizen.

Who does not need a visa to visit Estonia? Which are the Schengen countries?

  • EU citizens have the right to enter Estonia without a visa, but if they stay for more than 3 months, they must register their place of residence and apply for an ID. By registering their place of residence, they obtain the right for temporary residence.
  • Citizens of third countries need legal grounds to stay in Estonia. For short-stay visits (up to 12 months) they may need a visa. For longer stays (more than 12 months) they need a temporary residence permit (for study or employment) (valid up to 5 years) or a long-term residence permit (termless).

An EU citizen may obtain the right for residence, a third country citizen may obtain a residence permit.

For citizens of third countries:

  • Short stay <12 months - you will need a visa: a Schengen visa (type C) (valid for 90 days during 180 days period) or a long-stay visa (type D) (valid up to 12 months!)
  • Longer stay >12 months - you will need a temporary residence permit for employment, research or study (PhD students) (valid up to 5 years)

Applications for:

  • short-stay visas (Schengen visa (type C))

must be submitted personally to a diplomatic representation of the Republic of Estonia or to a diplomatic representation of another country (see link for list) that represts Estonia.

Application for:

  • temporary residence permits (for study, for employment) and
  • long-stay visas (type D)

must be submitted to a diplomatic representation of the Republic of Estonia. Or, if the third country citizen is already in Estonia on legal grounds, he/she can apply for a long-stay visa (type D) at a Service Office of the Estonian Police and Boarder Guard Board (PBGB).




Roadmap: visas & entry conditions

See this first! This is your map of steps for entering the county.



Registration of a place of residence - EU and non-EU citizens

EU citizens

If EU citizens stay in Estonia >3 months, they must register their place of residence (address where they actually live in Estonia) at the local government authority within first 3 months of arrival. The registration of the place of residence gives to EU citizens the right of temporary residence for 5 years.

Registering one’s place of residence offers some benefits. EU citizens who have been registered at a local government have the right to vote in local government elections and the European Parliament elections (must have the Estonian ID card).


Non-EU citizens

Registration of one’s place of residence is obligatory if you are staying in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit or a residence permit for employment. Citizens of third countries can register their place of residence only when they already have a valid right of residebce or residence permit.The place of residence should be registered at the local government registers services, or in the case of smaller local governments, directly in the local government’s office with a person responsible for the registers. The place of residence can also be registered by mail. Family members can present a joint notice of place of residence. A citizen of a non-EU Member State residing in Estonia on the basis of a long-term residence permit may vote at the local government council elections but cannot stand as candidate to the council.


See more:

The town government registers’ service in Tartu is at Küüni 5, Tartu 51004, and its telephone numbers are (+372) 736 1143; (+372) 736 1141.

Survival guide to citizens of Tartu 2012

There are registers services in all the districts of Tallinn.

Tallinn. Changing the residence address in the population register

Tallinn. City districts


Migration advice

Migration Advice

The Estonian Police and Boarder Guard Board offers migration advice free of charge by phone, Skype, e-mail and by appointments to individuals and institutions.