Eesti lipp

Immigration to Estonia or How to settle in Estonia permanently

In the 21st century, which is the era of travelling, there are about 200 million migrants all over the world. Throughout history, migration has also had an effect on Estonia, the northernmost of the Baltic States.

The reasons for the largest waves of the influx of settlers have been either economic or political. In addition, people choose to relocate due to family-related considerations, can be driven out by natural disasters or seek better living standards. The forces that push and pull migration vary, and anyone who has ever made the decision to relocate experiences a lot of new and unknown issues in the country of their choice.


Culture as a people’s way of life

Anything new that seems exciting, unprecedented and novel will not necessarily be easy. Leaving your home country, relatives, friends, familiar work and habitual environment behind, you must be ready for an entirely new life experience. All of this is also true about coming to live in Estonia.

Moving to a new country can be figuratively compared to wearing local folk costumes: the wearer is the same person, but what they are wearing and understanding its importance, history, traditions of use, lore and folk patterns will be dramatically different from what they knew and used to wear before.

The same understanding of the world, thinking, behaviour, faith, history and a thousand other factors develops in a specific region and forms a collective community: a group sharing the same worldview and perceptive ability. As a small nation, Estonians strive to keep their culture viable, so why they can sometimes fear new settlers is important to understand.


Estonia: is it the right destination country?

To be sure about your choice, you might find doing some preliminary “homework” before relocation useful. Gathering information about the destination country of your choice will help you understand if the decision you are planning to act upon is the right one.

When moving to a new country, you will feel much bolder and more confident if someone you know or a place to stay is waiting for you there. A confirmed job offer will save you the agony of looking for work, and a place at an educational institution will make adaptation easier.

Because of the language barrier, some important things that need to be done can get postponed or bring no result, so even elementary English or Russian language skills will help you in finding work or a place to study in Estonia, finding a place to live and communicating with the locals. Of course, speaking Estonian will result in even more bonuses.

In addition, it is also good to know what you monthly expenses are going to be, and you should calculate how long your savings will last if you do not find work at once or something does not go according to plans.

Another thing that might seem insignificant at first but becomes more important if you are planning a long-term stay in Estonia is its Nordic climate. The weather here is often a mystery and, at the same time, subject of pleasantry for Estonians themselves. While, ideally, the temperature should be below zero and a fluffy snow blanket should cover the ground in the winter, and the summer implies going to the beach when it is 20 degrees above zero or hotter, reality can be quite different, and long periods of grey rainy weather are not uncommon instead of snow in the winter or much-awaited summer heat.

Still, Estonia is characterised by beautiful and diverse nature, short travelling distances and relatively low population density.


When the choice has been made…

After you have reviewed all the pros and cons and decided Estonia is to become your new home, you can find plenty of recommendations and other information about it right here, on the website

The state of Estonia provides a free welcoming programme for newly relocated foreign nationals, which contains eight training modules. Any expats 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 courses.


Rights of residence in Estonia for foreigners

An EU citizen who holds a valid identity document can live in Estonia for up to three months without registering their place of residence.

If the person intends to remain in Estonia for a longer period, an application for registering the place of residence can be filed with the local government in advance. When the place of residence has been entered in the population register, the applicant will receive an Estonian personal ID code and the right of residence in Estonia.

Citizens of third countries or stateless people must hold a visa or apply for a residence permit with the Police and Border Guard Board for living in Estonia.

Residence permits can be temporary or permanent (for long-term residents). When an application for a residence permit is filed, the person’s fingerprints are taken and entered on the residence permit card.

Settling and adaptation

Any situations that might at first seem novel and complicated will be thoroughly explained during the courses within the Settle in Estonia programme, which provides basic information about everything related to public administration and everyday life in Estonia. You will also get answers to any questions about what documents you need, how to obtain them and whether or for how long they are valid.  Another topic covered by the courses is the operation of government and public authorities.

After completing the one-day basic training course, you will have basic information about the country, its people, customs, procedures and services. This is a start-up package for anyone in need of reassurance and assistance in settling in the new country quickly, also making sure that legal requirements are followed.