Citizens of third countries who stay in Estonia for work lasting longer than 6 months must apply for a residence permit for employment. You should submit an application to a diplomatic representation of the Republic of Estonia.
A residence permit for employment is issued for the period for which you have guaranteed employment in Estonia. The residence permit for employment is valid for up to two years, and can be extended for up to five years at a time.
Researchers planning to work in Estonia can apply for a residence permit for research. The residence permit for research is issued, if the R&D institution has been registered by the ministry of Education and Research, has received a positive evaluation and has made a hosting agreement with the researcher. Researchers are exempt from the immigration quota.
The hosting agreement certifies to the CMB that you will be doing research in Estonia. The hosting agreement should contain: your name and qualification; the name and registration code of the hosting institution; the name of your contact person in the institution; the duration of the research project and the financing source of the project.
The list of other necessary documents and the application form for the residence permit for employment can be found at the website of the Police and Border Guard Board. The process of obtaining a residence permit for employment may take up to 2 months.
Together with the residence permit for employment or the residence permit you will receive an Estonian ID number. You can apply for an Estonian ID card already at an Estonian foreign representation, but you will receive the ID card once you have arrived in Estonia. The ID number enables you employer to forward all the necessary information to the EHIF, the Tax and Customs Board and the Social Insurance Board, so that you will have health insurance and other rights resulting from paid taxes. The ID card can be used as identification and for giving digital signatures, and it carries the residence permit and work permit data. ID cards can be used for a wide range of electronic services.
As of July 2011 a residence permit for employment in Estonia may be granted on the basis of the European Union (EU) blue card. The EU blue card is a residence permit for employment, which is granted for residence in Estonia and for employment on a position or job which requires higher qualification. Employer needs the consent of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund for applying for the blue card.
EU Blue Card allows more flexibility to employees for changing employers and obligates the employer to pay a salary at a set standard. More information on EU Blue Card is available on the website of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board.
A citizen of a third country should register his/her place of residence at a local government registers office within a month after coming to Estonia.
You should apply for a residence permit for study, if you wish to study at a university in Estonia. A residence permit for study is issued for a period of up to one year but no longer than the estimated duration of the studies. The permit may be extended by one year at a time. In the event that you have been issued a residence permit for study, you are exempt from the immigration quota. You may take employment in Estonia without a work permit in order to participate in practical training pursuant to the curriculum, but for work not directly related to your studies, you need to apply for a separate work permit. For the period of study students need to obtain a private health insurance contract.