Do US citizens need a visa to come to Estonia?

Can US citizens travel to Estonia without a visa? What should you do if you would like to stay in Estonia for a longer period? Keep reading, and you will learn what US nationals should know if they are coming to live in Estonia, be it for a shorter or longer term.

Three months visa-free

The most important thing you should know is that US citizens can spend up to 90 days in Estonia without a visa within a period of 180 days.

So, if you want to come to Estonia for a short period, for example, as a tourist, for business purposes or for visiting your friends, you do not have to worry about applying for a visa.

NB! This article describes the situation in early 2020. With time, conditions for visa-free travel and applying for residence permits may change. The latest information is always available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Before you go…

If you want to go to another country, make sure you find out

  • as much as possible about your destination;
  • which documents you will need during your trip and while you are staying in the country;
  • under what conditions you should take out a travel insurance policy.

Passport validity

Whatever the destination, any traveller must make sure that their passport is still valid and when it expires. Please remember that if a US citizen is travelling to Estonia, the passport must be valid for at least six months after the person’s stay  in Estonia.

Long-term stay of US citizens in Estonia

A long-stay visa allows one to stay in Estonia for a longer period: such a visa is issued to a foreign national for a single or multiple temporary stays in Estonia. A long-stay visa is known as D visa, and its holder is allowed to stay in the country for a period of up to twelve consecutive months (up to 365 days). In addition, it allows the holder to stay in the whole Schengen area for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days.

To apply for a D visa, you need to submit the following: 

  • a travel document issued within the last 10 years and valid for three months after the expiry of the longa-stay visa you are applying for;
  • the visa application form, filled in and signed;
  • a photo (35×45 mm);
  • a health insurance policy  with the coverage of illness or injury medical treatment expenses during the period of validity of the visa;
  • documents indicating the purpose of the journey, for example:
    1. confirmation letter from your host in Estonia;
    2. document proving that you are going to work in Estonia (confirmation from the employer, confirmation of the registration of short-term employment);
    3. document proving that you are going to study in Estonia;
    4. documents proving family ties or marital status (if you are applying for a visa to visit a private person);
    5. documents confirming sufficient means of subsistence for the period of your stay in Estonia;
    6. documents confirming your accommodation and provision for expenses for the period of your stay in Estonia.


Applying for a residence permit

Having decided to move to Estonia permanently or for a very long period, you will have to apply for a residence permit.

You can apply for a residence permit which is temporary or permanent (for long-term residents). A US citizen can apply for a residence permit in the following cases:

  • to join the spouse who is Estonian by ethnic nationality or citizenship (or if the spouse is a foreign national entered in the Estonian population register and holding a residence permit). The spouse can also be working or running a business in Estonia;
  • to stay with a close relative;
  • to work, study or run a business;
  • to move to Estonia permanently.

All the necessary information about applying for a residence permit is available on the website of the Police and Border Guard Board.


Assistance to people newly relocated to Estonia

It is good to know that all foreign nationals who have arrived in Estonia can learn basic facts about daily life in Estonia, its cultural environment and other necessary aspects. This is exactly the purpose of the  comprehensive programme Settle in Estonia which aims to help foreign nationals arriving in Estonia to adapt faster and get their bearings.

The programme features several courses, which provide a good overview of the Estonian state and of how living here is organised. You can learn Estonian, have a closer look at study and employment opportunities, and learn what you need to know on the topics related to family life. So, the programme consists of various modules, and you can choose the one you find suitable here.

Who can take part in the Settle in Estonia programme?

Please keep in mind that any foreign nationals who have lived in Estonia for a shorter period than five years and hold a temporary residence permit or temporary right of residence can take part in the programme.

The programme will help you adapt to living in Estonia sooner and find good friends who can share similar experiences. For instance, you can read and see what Rafael from the US can say about his adaptation in Estonia.