Depending on your international employee’s country of origin, their relocation process to Estonia can take you down three different paths:
- Relocating talent to Estonia from a non-EU country (visa required);
- Relocating talent to Estonia from a non-EU country (no visa required);
- Relocating talent to Estonia from another European Union country.
Below, we’ll outline the basic steps in each immigration scenario. For more information on how Jobbatical can take care of all of this for you, check out our Estonian immigration and relocation services.
Relocating talent to Estonia from a non-EU country (visa required)
When you’re relocating talent from a non-EU country, the first key question is whether they need a visa to enter Estonia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a list of countries whose citizens do not need a visa.
Here’s what the immigration and relocation process looks like for your talent when they need a visa to enter Estonia.
1. Short-term employment registration and Estonian ID code
First, you need to register your employee’s short-term employment so they can start working in Estonia as soon as their visa is granted and they arrive in Estonia. This registration will serve as proof of your talent’s future employment in Estonia, so it’s important to do this before they apply for a visa! During the short-term employment registration process, the Police Board will also issue your talent with their Estonian ID code.
The registration will be confirmed within a maximum of 15 business days from submitting the application.
2. Long-stay D-visa for Estonia
A long-stay D-visa allows your talent to enter Estonia and start working here.
The talent has to submit their application in person at an Estonian Embassy abroad (VFS centers do not accept long-stay D-visa applications). A decision is usually made within 14 days.
As soon as your talent’s short-term employment registration is completed and the visa documents prepared, (but at least 14 business days before their arrival in Estonia), they should submit their visa application. If their closest Estonian embassy is not in their city, factor in additional time for the talent to deliver and pick up their documents.
Among other documents, your talent will need a letter of support from you, their Estonian employer, confirming that that they are planning to apply for a residence permit in Estonia and have an employment contract with you.
3. Arrival in Estonia
Once your employee has their D-visa, they can start working immediately after arriving in Estonia.
4. Temporary Estonian residence permit
A residence permit will allow your relocating employee to stay in Estonia for up to 5 years. Once they have their residence permit, they can live and work in Estonia without a long-term visa. The talent has to submit their temporary residence permit documents in person at the Police and Border Guard Board. This should be done during the employee’s first month in Estonia.
The Police and Border Guard Board has up to 2 months to process and make a decision about the residence permit application. By law, the residence permit card can take up to a month to be printed, but on average it takes approximately 10 working days for the card to be ready, from the moment the residence permit is granted.
5. Address registration at the Estonian Population Registry
Address registration is mandatory for anyone living in Estonia. Once your employee has their residence permit card and permanent accommodation, they have to register their address. This should happen within about 30 days of receiving their Estonian residence permit card. Once the application has been submitted, the registration can take up to 7 calendar days but is usually confirmed within 1-2 business days.
Having their address registered will enable your employee to start taking advantage of services designed for residents, including free unlimited public transport in Tallinn, and full access to public health care.
6. Estonian tax residency registration
After your employee’s residence address is registered at the Population Registry, they will need to register their tax residency in Estonia by submitting Form R.
Relocating talent to Estonia from a non-EU country (no visa required)
If your employee is from a non-EU country whose citizens do not need a visa to enter Estonia (check the country list here), the process is a bit simpler because it skips the visa application. The rest of the steps largely overlap with the first scenario.
Here’s what the relocation and immigration process to Estonia looks like for talent from outside the EU if they don’t need a visa:
- Short-term employment registration and ID code;
- Arrival in Estonia (once the short-term employment registration is complete, they can start working immediately after arriving in Estonia);
- Temporary residence permit;
- Address registration;
- Tax residency registration.
Relocating talent to Estonia from another European Union country
Moving an EU national to Estonia is fairly straightforward. Your talent can start living and working in Estonia as soon as they arrive, without any additional paperwork.
But keep in mind that if your EU employee is coming to Estonia for more than three months, there are a few more steps in the relocation process, which Jobbatical can cover for you:
- Estonian ID code. To register your EU hire at the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, they need an Estonian personal identification code, which is issued by the Police and Border Guard Board and should be applied for during the employee's first week working in Estonia.
- Address registration. Your EU hires need to register their address within 90 days of their arrival in Estonia.
- Estonian ID card. EU nationals living in Estonia will need an ID card, which can be issued for up to 5 years and will be automatically extended if they continue to live in Estonia.
- Tax registration.
Regardless of where your relocating talent is from, don’t forget to prepare them for what lies ahead! Here’s our guide to life in Estonia, based on advice from other expats in Tallinn.
To offer the best possible relocation experience—from the most crucial immigration steps to key settle-in services like bank accounts and home searches—for your international talent and their families coming to Estonia, check out Jobbatical’s relocation services.