Infot Eesti kodakondsusest ja passist

All information about Estonian citizenship and passport

What should you know about Estonian citizenship and passport? The citizenship will obviously give you a number of additional rights and opportunities if you have decided to live and work in Estonia. but how do you become an Estonian citizen and passport holder? Let us have a closer look!

Citizenship is a concept which describes an individual’s connection with the state; to put it simply, citizenship can also be regarded as belonging (and at the same time the need to belong) to society. It can be claimed that nearly everyone wants to be among others and feel equal to them. So, if someone who is not an Estonian citizen but lives in the country feels they would like to belong among Estonian residents and be a full-fledged citizen of the country, they need to consider becoming an Estonian citizen.

As a rule, the citizenship is acquired by birth, but those who are not eligible for citizenship by birth can also acquire it through naturalisation, which implies passing a language examination among other things.

What are the rights of Estonian citizens?

Naturally, a citizen of a country has much greater opportunities than non-citizens. Below, we are giving a brief overview of the most important rights of Estonian citizens:

  • Right to vote in elections.
  • Opportunity to run in elections or a referendum.
  • Right for the diplomatic protection of the Estonian state if it is necessary when one is abroad. The Estonian embassy will help a citizen who has found themselves in difficulties to return home.
  • All the rights of European Union citizens, for example, visa-free travel, apply to Estonian citizens.
  • Right to work anywhere in the European Union (no special permit required).
  • Right to establish a company anywhere in the European Union.
  • There is always the right to return to Estonia. for example, many people who left Estonia during the war have used this opportunity and returned to their homeland.

You can apply for Estonian citizenship if you meet the following conditions:

  • you have a long-term residence permit or permanent right of residence;
  • before applying, you have lived in Estonia for at least eight years on the basis of a residence permit or right of residence, provided that you have permanently lived in Estonia for the past five years of the above eight;
  • you have passed the Estonian language proficiency examination (this examination is not required if you have completed basic, secondary or higher education in Estonian);
  • you have passed the examination on the knowledge of the Estonian Constitution and the Citizenship Act;
  • you have sufficient legal income;
  • your place of residence is registered in the population register;
  • you are loyal to the Estonian state.

More detailed information and instructions as to which documents you need for applying for Estonian citizenship are available on the web page of the Police and Border Guard Board. This page also explains the differences between applying for citizenship for an adult, a child or a ward.

A fact to keep in mind is that multiple citizenship is not allowed by Estonian laws. So, to become an Estonian citizen, you will have to renounce your previous citizenship.

An Estonian citizen is also a European Union citizen

It is good to know that an Estonian citizen is by default a full-fledged citizen of the European Union. EU citizenship is not a separate type of citizenship; it accompanies the citizenship of a member state. This means an individual cannot be a citizen of the European Union only.

The European Union citizenship means that the individual is entitled to freedom of movement, for instance, travelling, living or studying in any state of the European union. An EU citizen may vote in and run for European Parliament elections. European Union citizens have the right to receive the state’s protection outside Europe.

Estonian citizen’s passport – why do you need it?

Naturally, what an Estonian citizen usually has at hand is the official identification, i.e., the Estonian citizen’s passport. It serves as an identification and a travel document and contains the person’s fingerprints (if the individual is at least 12 years old). The Estonian citizen’s passport is valid for 10 years.

A person without citizenship can apply for an alien’s passport which is meant for foreigners who have a residence permit or right of residence in Estonia, but they do not hold a travel document of any other country, and such document cannot be obtained. The alien’s passport is commonly known as the “grey passport”. So, a grey passport is issued to people living in Estonia who do not hold a citizenship of any country.

You should also keep in mind that the children of non-citizens will receive Estonian citizenship automatically if they are born in Estonia. the rule has been effective Since 2016.

If the holder of a “grey passport” would like to apply for Estonian citizenship, they need to renounce the grey passport because the person without a citizenship is to become a citizenship holder. It is also obvious that no one can be given citizenship without consent; the person must be willing to acquire it.

Further information about applying for a passport is available on the web page of the Police and order Guard Board.