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Complete guide to applying for a temporary and permanent residence permit in Estonia

An Estonian temporary residence permit is issued to non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who plan to stay in Estonia for longer than one year. The temporary residence permit allows you to work, study and live in Estonia and is issued for up to five years. After living in Estonia with a temporary residence permit for five years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit, which is issued indefinitely. 

Types of Estonia Residence Permits

There are two types of Residence Permits in Estonia:

  • Temporary residence permit.
  • Permanent residence permit. 

Temporary Residence Permit

A temporary residence permit is issued with a long-stay D visa. However, there are different types of temporary residence permits you can apply for, such as: 

  • Study temporary residence permit. 
  • Family reunion temporary residence permit.  
  • Work temporary residence permit. 
  • Residence permit for passive income.

Temporary Residence Permit for Studies

A study temporary residence permit allows you to live in Estonia until you finish your studies. However, a study residence permit also gives you different benefits; you can work in Estonia part-time, bring your family members to Estonia, visit other Schengen countries, etc.  

When applying for a study temporary residence permit follow these steps: 

  1. Apply for a student visa at the nearest embassy/consulate of Estonia in your home country. This visa allows you to enter Estonia legally and apply for a residence permit.
  2. After entering Estonia apply for a temporary residence permit in person at the Police Border Guard Border in Estonia.  

Temporary Residence Permit for Family Reunion

A family reunion temporary residence permit is issued for close family members of a citizen living in Estonia and is given for five years. To apply for a temporary residence permit for a family reunion, you must follow these steps: 

  1. Apply for a family visa in the embassy/consulate of Estonia in your home country. This is an entry visa which allows you to travel to Estonia and apply for a residence permit.
  2. After entering Estonia, book an appointment at the Police Border Guard Border in Estonia to obtain the residence permit.

Temporary Residence Permit for Work

A work temporary residence permit allows you to work and live in Estonia. You must have a job offer to apply for a work permit. To apply for a work temporary residence permit, you must follow these steps: 

  1. First, your employer must apply for authorization for employment in Estonia on your behalf.
  2. You must apply for a work visa at the embassy of Estonia in your home country. 
  3. After entering Estonia, you can apply for a temporary residence permit at Police Border Guard Border.

Passive Income Temporary Residence Permit

With a passive income residence permit you can live in Estonia while you have a monthly passive income from a source outside Estonia.

Estonian Temporary Residence Permit Requirements

Here are all the documents you need to submit when applying for a temporary residence permit in Estonia: 

  • Valid passport. The passport must be valid at least three months after the return date, in good condition, and it must have at least two blank pages. 
  • Two photos. Photos must be recent (taken within the last six months), with a blank background, and they must be passport size 35mmX40mm.
  • Application form. You can fill out the application form online, print a hard copy, and sign it at the end. Make sure you do not leave any blank spaces. 
  • Proof of paid fee. Document proof that you have finished the payment for your visa fee. This document can be the recipe for the payment. Make sure you attach the recipe to your application. 
  • Financial statement. Documents issued from your bank must include your bank balance for the last six months. This document must prove that you are financially stable and can finance yourself while staying in Estonia. 
  • Accommodation proof. The accommodation proof is a document proving that you have a place to stay while being in Estonia. This document could be a rental agreement, hotel reservation, invitation letter, etc. 
  • Fingerprints. You must submit the fingerprints at the PBGB when submitting the application form. 

Note: You must submit all the requested documents in person at the Police Border Guard Border.

Duration of an Estonian Temporary Residence Permit

A Estonian temporary residence permit is issued for five years. However, you can extend your temporary residence permit to ten years. 

How to Apply for a Temporary Residence Permit for Estonia?

You must submit the application form and other requested documents at Estonia’s Police Border Guard Border to apply for a temporary residence permit. Make sure you apply at the nearest PBGB office in Estonia, responsible for your location and address. 

How Long Does an Estonian Residence Permit Take to Process?

The processing time for an Estonian temporary residence permit is two to three months. You shall receive a text message or email from the Police Border Guard Border with the response to your temporary residence permit application. 

How to Get Permanent Residence in Estonia?

You can apply for permanent residence in Estonia if: 

  • You are a holder of a temporary residence permit.
  • You have lived in Estonia for five years with a temporary residence permit. 
  • You have valid Estonian health insurance.
  • You know the Estonian culture and language, at least at level B1. 
  • You have legal income in Estonia. 
  • You have registered your address, and your address has been entered into the population register of Estonia.

Where to Apply for Permanent Residence in Estonia?

You can apply for permanent residence in Estonia at the service offices Police Border Guard Border. Make sure you apply at least two months before the expiring date of the temporary residence permit. 

If less than five years have passed from the application for the temporary residence permit, you can apply for permanent residence by post too.  

Important: Application of applicants younger than 15 shall be submitted by their legal guardian.  

Required Documents for Estonia Permanent Residence Application

Here are the documents you must submit for an Estonian permanent residence card: 

  • Valid Passport. The passport must be valid and in good condition. Include a copy of previous visas (if any). 
  • One photo.  Photo must be taken recently (within the last six months), on a light background and they must be passport-sized. 
  • Application form. You must carefully fill out the application form online sincerely and with all the requested information. After filling out the application form, print a hard copy and sign it at the end. By signing in the application, you confirm that there is no false information and that everything written is 100% true. The application must be completed in the Estonian language. 
  • Fee payment. You can finish the fee payment when submitting the documents at the service offices in Estonia. Make sure you attach the receipt of the payment to the application form. 
  • Bank statement. This is a document issued from your bank, and it must prove that you have legal income from a company or your company in Estonia. 
  • Language test. You need to provide a certificate that proves you have passed the Estonian language test. You are exempted from the language test if:
    • You have been exempted from the test language, and you have been issued with an e-certificate, or
    • You lived in Estonia before 1 July 1990, plan to live in Estonia indefinitely, and do not present a threat to the Republic of Estonia. 
  • If you have a child younger than 1, you must submit these documents: 
    • Birth certificate if the data has been registered in the Estonian population. 
    • An identity document (if you have one).  

Estonian Permenent Residence Permit Processing Time

The processing time for a permanent residency in Estonia is two months. If you are issued with a permanent residency card, you will need to go in person to take the residency card at the service office at the Police Border Guard Border (PBGB) within 30 days.

*The residency card of a minor younger than 15 shall be issued in the name of their legal guardian. 

How Long After Permanent Residency Can I Apply for Estonia Citizenship?

You can apply for citizenship in Estonia after you have lived in Estonia for five years with a permanent residency. 

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