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Info for Non-EU nationals

In order to be able to work in any European countries you will still have additional legal obligations and administrative procedures to go through to get access to the European labour market. Here you can find the general information for non-EU nationals about working conditions in Estonia.

Define your profile and we will provide easy step-by-step guidelines that will help you move to Estonia:

This video briefly introduces general information regarding residence permits and rights. If necessary, contact migration advisors:

An expert from a non-EU/EEA country has two options for obtaining the right to work in Estonia: registering for short-term employment or obtaining a residence permit for employment. 

1. If you want to come to Estonia for a short-term project (up to 1 year) or if you need to move quickly, short-term employment registration is the option for you. However, you can start working quickly with a short-term registration if you have legal grounds of residing in Estonia (visa freedom for up to 3 months for some countries or visa). Currently, citizens of 60+ non-EU countries (find the list on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) can reside here for up to 90 days without a visa.

What to consider? it is employer responsibility to register employee’s short-term employment with the Police and Border Guard Board. In most cases, registration of short-term employment takes up to 10 working days after submitting the application.

2. You can apply for a temporary residence permit in following cases:

For employment. The permit can be applied for to work for an employer registered in Estonia and for research or survey activities if the institution has been entered into the Register of Research and Development Institutions.

  • You can simultaneously work for several employers on the prerequisite that you continue to work under the conditions set out in the residence permit.
  • If your contract is terminated, you’ll lose the permit.
  • If you find a new employer in Estonia, you have to get a new permit. You can stay in Estonia legally while you apply for a new permit.
  • If your permit simply expires, your stay in Estonia will be legal for the next 90 days.

For study. And in case your residence permit expires, you can legally stay in Estonia for the next 270 days.

For settling permanently, if you have a degree from an Estonian university or have lived in Estonia for at least three years. This permit has the benefit of not being linked to a specific employer, so you can change jobs more easily (but you need proof of adequate income to apply).

You are allowed to work in Estonia with any of these permits.


For business Residence permit for entrepreneurship can be applied for if the person has holding a company or is self-employed and has:

  • Invested at least 65 000 EUR of capital in the company`s activity in Estonia;
  • As a self-employed person, has invested at least 16000 EUR in entrepreneurship in Estonia.

An investment can be considered a company`s equity capital, subordinated loan and registered fixed assets, among the rest.

Take note: a temporary residence permit allows you to live and work in Estonia and travel in the Schengen area without a visa.

Some non-EU nationals fall under the annual immigration quota. This includes non-tech employees and those not considered top specialists. Immigration quota for 2020 is full and therefore it recommend using foreign workers by registering their short-term employment and applying for a visa.

Estonia also has a Startup Visa program, which is meant for non-EU startup founders who wish to come and be a part of one of the smallest but liveliest startup communities in Europe as a founder. More information:

For long-term stay, you’ll basically have two options: long-term (D) visa granted for up to 360 days and temporary residence permit for stays longer than 360 days.  You can apply for these before moving to Estonia at an Estonian foreign representation. Alternatively, you can submit your documentation for a temporary residence permit in person at the Police and Border Guard Board offices (you need to make an appointment). This should take around 2 months from the moment all documentation is correctly submitted.

Salary matters

When hiring a foreign employee, employer must usually pay a monthly gross salary that is at least equal to the latest annual average in Estonia, as published by Statistics Estonia (1404 euros in the 1st quarter of 2020). If a residence permit is issued without compliance with salary requirements, the salary must be sufficient for an employee’s subsistence in Estonia.

As there are many additional conditions established for foreigners` work in Estonia we suggest you take a time and follow the webinar (duration 1 hour) by chief expert at the Police and Border Guard Board, which covers the most up-to-date information up to May 29rd 2020 about the discussions around the Aliens Acts, processes of applying for or receiving documents in Estonia during the current coronavirus situation and more. Take note: Please note if you are watching this at a later time, please do check for recent updates or changes in the regulation first. For the latest information, see the PBGB website: / .