- 45,227 km²
- 1 328 976 (Statistics Estonia, January 5, 2021)
- Official language
- Estonian, however English and Russian are also widely spoken
- Type of Governement
- Parliamentary democracy
- Head of State
- President Kersti Kaljulaid
The Republic of Estonia is a member of the European Union, Schengen area, NATO, WTO, OECD, DIGITAL 5.
The Republic of Estonia is divided into 15 counties, 15 towns and 64 rural municipalities. Each municipality is a unit of self-government with its representative and executive bodies. The municipalities in Estonia cover the entire territory of the country.
Estonia is a true digital society. In just 20 years, Estonia has become one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. Some of the fastest broadband speeds in the world are widely available across the country. But more importantly, so is the wireless Internet which covers everything. Since digital public services are fully embedded into the daily lives of individuals and organisations, the country is now commonly called “e-Estonia”.
Checklist before and after you arrive in Estonia
In order to prepare properly before arriving in Estonia, be properly informed about the country.
* Check your entry and residence conditions. A citizen of the European Union, a member state of the European Union Economic Area and Swiss Confederation (hereinafter an EU citizen) may take up employment in Estonia under the same conditions as Estonian citizens without the need to obtain a work permit. Information from relevant websites, such as Police and Border Guard’s website related to the right of residence. Contacts of migration advisers supporting foreigners, who would like to settle in Estonia are available here.
* Take out comprehensive insurance coverage, including accident and health insurance. If you have health insurance from your home country, apply for a European Health Insurance Card or its replacement certificate from the relevant institution in your country. This will give you the right to receive medical care in Estonia.
* Search for job vacancies at the tootukassa.ee, cv.ee, cvkeskus.ee and EURES portal and file your CV so that the employers you will visit can see it. Have your qualification awards translated to make it easier for prospective employers?
* Arrange your accommodation. The best place to start searching are the real estate websites kv.ee, city24.ee, kuldnebors.ee and 1home.eu (student housing and accommodation). They are all available in English and feature both rental and purchasable properties. There’s also a very useful Facebook group for connecting private landlords with tenants without getting any agency involved (a cheaper and hassle-free option). Of course, you can also use real estate agency services, like Pindi, RE Kinnisvara, Uusmaa, and Domus. More information also on eesti.ee Renting section.
*You can get in touch with an EURES adviser in Estonia to find out more about living and working conditions in the country.
* Within three months of your arrival, register your place of residence in the population register of Estonia. For registration of the place of residence please address the local government authority nearest to your place of residence. More information about the registration of your place of residence can be obtained on the home page of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
* Apply for an ID card that proves your right of residence. For applying please address within the period of one month from the registration of your place of residence in person a service points of the Police and Border Guard Board.
* If you are unemployed, you can transfer your unemployment benefit from the country of origin and receive it while looking for the job in Estonia. In order to do that, you will need to visit the local public employment office (töötukassa) in the area in which you reside and present form U2 (authorization to continue receiving unemployment benefit) from your country of origin. More information is available here.
* When you start work, conclude an employment contract that is as detailed as possible. More information on eesti.ee Employment contracts section. Sample contracts in English are available at the workinestonia.com.
* Register your car at the Estonian Transport Administration, if necessary.
Find out online relocation guide that will help you move to Estonia here www.workinestonia.com/coming-to-estonia/
Registration and residence permits
EU citizen has a right to stay in Estonia on the basis of a valid travel document or an identity card for the period of up to three months without registration of the right of residence. EU citizen’s right of residence in Estonia can either be temporary or permanent. Right for a permanent right of residence usually forms after having lived in Estonia for five years under a temporary right of residence.
To acquire temporary right of residence, an EU citizen must register his place of residence in the nearest to your place of residence not later than three months after the date of entry into Estonia. Necessary documents for submitting a residence registration available here. The family members of an EU citizen, who come from a third country, will have the right of temporary residence if the EU citizen is employed in Estonia or has sufficient legal income to ensure the subsistence of him/herself and the family. The third country family members of an EU citizen are required to follow the visa requirements for entering Estonia that has been described
Within a month after the place of residence has been registered and the right to temporary residence has been obtained, an EU citizen must apply for an ID number and an Estonian at the . The ID-card allows you to access the state and private sector e-services and to digitally sign documents.
Information about entering into employment for the third countries (non-EU) nationalities is available here . If you are a citizen of a non-EU country and would like to work in Estonia for a short time (up to 365 days during 455-day period), you should apply for a D-visa. Before applying for a D-visa, your employer should register your short-term employment with the . If you are a citizen of a non-EU country and want to work in Estonia for a longer time, you need to apply for a residence permit. At first, you have to apply for a . After having lived in Estonia for 5 years on a temporary residence permit, you can then apply for a long-term residence permit.
Labour market information
Estonian labour market was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as many other countries. The unemployment rate grew twice since the spring 2020 (from 4.0% to 8.8%). Daily statistics of the registered unemployed is available here.
According to Statistics Estonia, in the IV quarter of 2020, there were 8,707 vacancies in the enterprises, institutions and organisations of Estonia. The number decreased by 16% year on year. The rate of job vacancies was highest in public administration and defence, followed by financial and insurance activities, and lowest in construction.
Most of the vacant posts were in Harju county (76%), including Tallinn (66%), followed by Tartu county (7.5%) and Ida-Viru county (6.3%). The total number of vacant and occupied posts was 604,046. Manufacturing, trade and education activities held the largest shares in the total number of posts.
The most job vacancies were in the economic activities of manufacturing (1,186), education (1,181), and wholesale and retail trade (1,133). The coronavirus crisis has hurt employment more in the service sector than in the industrial sector, as the limits imposed to stop the spread of the virus have restricted economic activity more in the service sector.
Statistics on job vacancies mediated by the public employment services (Unemployment Insurance Fund) is available here. As demand for labour depends on the performance of businesses, which in turn depends on the further costs of the coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken to stop its spread, it is hard to forecast the future development of the labour market.
The estimates of short-term labour demand by occupations compiled by the regional departments of the Unemployment Insurance Fund and external experts, is available from the occupational barometer.
In view of the occupational forecasts, the most intensive labour demand is expected to affect the following areas: information and communication technology, engineering, financial sector, health care, education and research etc. There might be a decline of employment in construction and industrial sector this year.
There is still a demand for high-skilled labour in Estonia and the attracting foreign talents is important issue. Work in Estonia program is aimed to introduce Estonia to foreign specialists, to help local employers find foreign professionals and to help the latter adapt to local life.
OSKA analyses, which gives an overview of the Estonian labour market and the labour force demand over the next 10 years, are available at oska.kutsekoda.ee.
Looking for job in Estonia
The most common ways to find a job in Estonia are through employment portals, social media, company career pages, with the help of friends, recruitment agencies and the public employment service Töötukassa, which offers free job mediation services for anyone who legally resides in Estonia and who are registered as unemployed or jobseeker. The most popular job search portals include: CV-Online cv.ee and CV Market cvkeskus.ee. Job and career fairs are a good way to meet lots of employers in one place. The information about upcoming job fairs is available here.
Connections are generally quite important for finding a job. If you have a connection that will help you find more about a company, use this opportunity. Use social media! Follow the companies you`re interested on LinkedIn as well on Facebook and Instagram. This way, you may find information that isn`t available anywhere else.
You can find the latest job offers on English at the workinestonia.com portal, which provides a thorough overview for foreign specialists on matters concerning finding the job and relocating to Estonia.
All vacancies advertised by the public employment services Töötukassa are available also on the European Job Mobility Portal. An EU flag marker denotes vacancies from employers who are considering applications from elsewhere in Europe.
Additionally, EURES offers a great service for jobseekers from another EU / EFTA Member State, which includes:
- access to job offers posted at Töötukassa portal
- information on living and working conditions in Estonia
- ccess to online counselling via EURES Skype counselling (username: eures.eesti) and CHAT with EURES held every Friday from 11:00 to 14:00 (CET), except on bank holidays.
- participation in job fairs organized by Töötukassa, including online European Job Days www.europeanjobdays.eu
- access to mobility programs such as TMS/Your first EURES job
- advice where to find accommodation in Estonia, Estonian language courses or integration training
- on-line services: individual and group counselling via MS Teams
You can contact the EURES advisers by email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are already in Estonia and have ID card or mobile ID authentication, book the suitable time for the individual counselling through the e-töötukassa environment.
How to apply for a job - useful tips
In order to apply for a job, you generally have to provide the employer with your CV and a cover letter. It is not obligatory to add a photograph (but around half of the applications in Estonia include a photo on the CV). Often a letter of motivation is to be attached as well.
Tips for job applications In Estonia
It is most common to apply for a job through an online job database. It is advisable to use an electronic application, and this should be short and specific. Any written application should be legible, grammatically correct, short and to the point.
The national CV format is preferable to use compare with EUROPASS CV format. CV should be printed on A4-format paper, in a common font such as Times New Roman, Arial, etc in font size 10–12. It is recommended that the CV fit on a maximum of two A4 pages. Preferable to indicate the contact details of two or three referees on your CV is not compulsory but may increase the candidate’s chances. These can include previous employers or contacts from school or university. They should be able to confirm the relevant contents of the CV and give professional background information about the candidate. Bigger companies might have their own CV form, found on the website of the relevant company.
Letter of motivation gives you the opportunity to emphasize the aspects specified in your CV that you consider so important that you want to stress them separately. A letter of motivation should not be very long, and certainly not longer than one A4 page.
Is there a typical interview structure?
At the beginning of the meeting expect a short warm-up (general questions), followed by specific questions about your personality and motivation. You then give a brief introduction about yourself. You may then be asked about your strengths and weaknesses, why you are interested specifically in this vacancy, with questions about education, training, and previous employment experience, hobbies, job conditions, and salary. You are expected to be frank and friendly, but not too familiar.
Expect questions about duties, job conditions, future colleagues, bonuses, salary and general information about your previous job, your duties there and your reason for leaving. Candidates can usually ask for additional information about the vacancy and the company at the end of the interview.
Questions about private life (e.g. information about sexual orientation, religion, pregnancy, sickness, and financial circumstances) are considered to be strictly private matters.
Preparing for an interview
In many cases you have to go through more rounds after submitting your CV and application. These may include a language and a job-suitability test. Prepare yourself well enough before the interview to be confident and focused during the meeting. Be prepared to ask questions to the employer.
Being punctual at the interview is highly recommended. An employer will be impressed if you have done some research on the background of the company beforehand. The more you know about the company and the job, the better chances you have of getting the job. Prepare some answers to questions you might be asked and prepare some questions you would like to ask the employer.
Before going to an interview, prepare the documents you might need (CV, documents certifying education (copies are accepted). Present the diploma of your highest qualification only. You do not need to present a diploma older than 10 years if it is not related to the vacancy and the skills required.
Sometimes you may be tested on general knowledge test or professional compatibility at the interview to determine your suitability for the job.
Negotiating your pay and benefits
Contract negotiations can involve the date you start work, salary, and bonuses. The salary may be negotiable, but that depends on the position and company. Pay is generally expressed in monthly terms. Holiday pay is included in the remuneration and regulated according to Estonian law. Yearly bonuses cannot be negotiated separately.
Salaries vary drastically among different job categories. If you are interested in the salary of a particular category, see below for salaries for specific categories palgad.ee. Median wage in Estonian counties by occupation is published by Statistics Estonia here.
The following perks may be offered but are not common: company car, reimbursement of travel expenses, compensation for glasses, 7-14 extra vacation days, gym or pool membership. In the private sector, these extras can be negotiated. Additional benefits are to be discussed with your direct superior.
Keep in mind that employers or job mediators are not allowed to ask you for money for their help in job mediation. Job mediation means the search and selection procedure: finding a potential employer for you, administering tests and interviews. They can, however, charge for other services such as career advice, CV coaching or training for interviews or tests, but you are not required to purchase those additional services.
Getting feedback and further follow-up
Usually, the candidate is informed at the end of the interview when the decisions will be made and feedback given. Almost all companies announce the results within one to four weeks after the interview. The employer may expect you to follow-up yourself.
You can ask after the interview when you can expect feedback. If you do not receive any feedback within the promised time, you can call the employer and ask for the results. After the interview you can send an e-mail to thank the employer for the interview – this will show that you are interested and will help the employer to remember you.
Will the employer cover my costs for attending an interview?
It depends on the position. If you are citizen from any EU country, Norway or Iceland you can apply for financial support for a job interview in Estonia through EU mobility programs TMS/ Your first EURES job on the following conditions: You are
- 18 years or older
- holder of EU citizenship and resident in an EU country, Norway or Iceland and apply for a job in another EU country, Norway or Iceland
- must apply for the financial support at the latest one day before the date of the job interview,
- cannot apply retroactively
- job applied for must have a duration of at least 6 months
- working hours must be at least 50 percent of a normal working week
- not receive paid travel nor accommodation costs, meals, local transport nor all other sundries from the employer, other project or authority.
More detailed information via email@example.com.
Regulations regarding employment and labor issues are regulated by the Employment Contracts Act. Work relations are also regulated with the Law of Obligations Act, the Individual Labour Dispute Resolution Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. As a rule, work is performed on the basis of an employment contract, though the foundation may be different, such as an authorization contract, a contract for the provision of services and other similar contracts.
A person employed under the employment contract has greater rights and better protection than persons employed under alternative contracts. Benefits of an employee to sign an employment contract are described here Choose an employment contract.
Contract of Employment and Its’ Characteristics An employment contract is entered into in duplicate original copies, one of which is retained by the employee and one by the employer. An oral employment contract may be entered into only for employment lasting less than two weeks. An employment contract is considered to have been entered into when an employee starts work; work is considered to be performed only when it may be assumed that it is paid work, and this may depend on the precise circumstances. An employment contract may be amended only by the agreement of the parties.
Full-time work is 40 hours per week or 8 hours per day during a 7-day period. The employer and employee can also agree on a partial or shorter working time.
The employee is entitled to get 28 calendar days of annual vacation per the calendar year, calculated and given for working. Employer and employee can also agree on a longer annual vacation than legally stipulated, but may not agree on a shorter one. The length of the annual vacation is the same for partial and full-time employees.
A probationary period for 4 months applies to every employment relationship. The employer and the employee may agree on the shortening or omission of the probationary period. Such an agreement must be in writing. If there is no such written agreement, the 4-month probationary period applies. The employment contract may be cancelled during a probationary period by giving 15 calendar days’ advance notice thereof, including on the last day of the probationary period.
Amendments to the terms of an employment contract are formalized in writing in the employment contract. If a dispute should arise between the employer and the employee, both parties have the right to turn to a labour dispute committee or court.
Further information on the conditions of employment contracts can be obtained here tooelu.ee.
Useful information at the Ministry of Social Affairs website:
- Entery into Employment Contract
- Terminating Employment Contract
- Working and rest time
- Resolution of Labour Disputes
- Parents of Infants between 0 and 3 Years of Age and Pregnant Women
- Young people at work
- Posting workers
Still questions about the working life? Find more information at the Labour Inspectorate website ti.ee, lawyers hotline at (+372) 640 6000, Mo-Fri 9:00 – 16:30, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social insurance and healthcare
If you are EU citizen working in Estonia and paying local social insurance, you are guaranteed all the same social benefits as any citizen of Estonia. The information below sets out when you are eligible for benefits, what you are entitled to and how to go about claiming it.
List of persons insured under the Estonian health care system is published here. The Estonian healthcare system is based on family doctors, which means that your family doctor is your first point of contact if and when you fall ill. A visit to the family doctor you are registered with is free of charge A family doctor provides general medical care and advice on preventive measures against illnesses, injuries, and poisoning. If necessary, the family doctor will refer you to a specialist doctor for consultation, or to a hospital.
You must apply in writing to a family doctor in order to be included in their practice list. All family physicians’ and their contacts who have a contract with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund can be found on an interactive map of Estonia. More information about the primary care service in Estonia in English can also be found on the Estonian Health Insurance web page.
If you are insured for health care in another country of the European Union, European Economic Area, or in Swiss Confederation, you should ask the authorities of that country to provide you with a European Health Insurance Card. Using that card; you can then receive health care in Estonia as if you were insured here.
If you can’t reach your family doctor or want immediate advice, you can make use of the national family doctor helpline, where doctors answer your call 24 hours a day. To reach this service, dial 1220, please dial +372 630 4107 when phoning from abroad.
In order to call for an ambulance in Estonia, you should dial the single emergency alarm centre number 112. The ambulance service provides primary medical care to anyone who is currently within Estonia, regardless of their nationality or citizenship.
- Healthcare in Estonia
- Practical info for Foreigners on Estonian healthcare
- Webinar – Overview of the Estonian Healthcare System
- Occupational accidents and personal injuries causing incapacity for work
- Benefits for disabled persons
- Work Ability Allowance
The Estonian social security system provides for several allowances related to birth, family and childcare. These benefits are not granted automatically but need to be applied for. The administration of family allowances is organised by the Estonian Social Insurance Board.
NB! The municipality where you live might have additional compensations available. Information about these benefits can be obtained from the local authorities of your place of residence in Estonia.
Salaries and wages In the 4th quarter of 2020,the average gross salary has equalled 1,515 EUR according to Statistics Estonia. The highest salaries are paid in the information and communications sector and the lowest in the accommodation and catering sector. By county, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were the highest in Harju county (1,588 euros) and Tartu county (1,447 euros), and the lowest in Hiiu county (1,063 euros) and Valga county (1,106 euros). Legally established the minimum wage in 2021 is 584 EUR
Salary and compensation online survey by position is available here palgad.ee.
Day-to-day prices Consumer prices are slightly different according to where you live and where you shop. In general, cities and other places regularly visited by tourists are slightly more expensive. Sample prices of day-to-day items are published at the EURES portal. You can compare the cost of living at the following cost of living databases Numbeo or Teleport.
Housing The cost of housing varies greatly according to location and size of the place, with the most expensive city in Estonia being Tallinn, the country’s capital. Houses and apartments – both for rent and for sale – are typically advertised through real estate companies and through informal networks. The best way to find out what is on offer is to visit property portals such as www.kv.ee, www.city24.ee or 1home.eu (student housing and accommodation).
You can use these to familiarise yourself with the current property situation, the sales databases of property, options available to you in terms of buying or renting flats. When looking for a rental property, it is a good idea to join social media groups (for example, ‘Korterite üürimine maaklerita’ on Facebook), where users can find rental offers directly from owners, without paying any agency commission.
When considering the cost of housing, keep in mind that winters in Estonia are long and can get quite cold which has an impact on electricity and heating costs. Before you buy or rent, asks the owner to see some utility bills of the past months (including some winter months). These will give you a better idea of what to plan for.
When renting a dwelling, you should consider the point that a deposit is generally required (usually amounting to one or two months of rent in advance), and often a one-month prepayment of rent is combined with this. If you rent through a real estate agency, you can expect to pay a broker’s fee of between half a month’s rent to a full month.
When you rent accommodation, be sure to sign a written lease that describes in detail the condition of the premises (covering the amount of furnishing being supplied, a list of the equipment, and other significant aspects), as well as laying out the procedures for paying the rent, the term of the lease and the procedure for extending it, the terms and conditions for amending the lease, the notice period required for the termination of the lease (generally one month), and other relevant aspects. Residential rental agreement sample is available here. In general, the lease is signed for at least one year.
The Estonian tax system is made up of state and local taxes. People who have lived in Estonia for more than 183 days within the period of 12 months are considered tax residents of Estonia.
Residents pay income tax on their worldwide income. Income tax is paid by resident natural persons on all of their income, irrespective of the place (country) where it is earned. The following taxes are of most importance to an employee: income tax, social insurance, unemployment insurance contributions and contributions to mandatory funded pension.
The period of taxation is a calendar year, and the income tax rate is 20%. The overall tax-free amount (basic exemption) of 6000 euros per year or 500 euros per month applies on all types of income. Read more about the amount of tax-free income on the homepage of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. We recommend you to use online tax-free income calculator.
The social tax accounting to 33% (20% for pension insurance and 13% for health insurance) of your gross salary is paid by your employer. Bear in mind, social tax is not subtracted from your salary. Read more about the social tax on the homepage of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board.
In addition, people working in Estonia pay an unemployment insurance premium that is paid by both employer and the employee – 1,6% of the employee`s gross salary is withheld and 0,8% is paid by the employer.
Estonia has concluded double-taxation agreements with all EU/EEA Member States, Switzerland and many other countries.
Guide on taxation of income of non-residents is available here: Taxation of income of non-residents .
Webinar on the declaration of income for foreign nationals working in Estonia.
Starting a business
Establishing a company
All enterprises are required to be entered in the (). It is an environment which allows companies to submit documents to the Business Register electronically, without the need to use a notary’s services. The portal allows submitting applications for registering a new company, amending registry data, liquidating a company and deleting a company from the registry. You can also prepare and submit annual reports via the portal. There are following corporate forms that should be registered within the Commercial register: a public limited company, a private limited company, a general partnership, a limited partnership, a commercial association or a branch. The private limited company and public limited company are the most commonly used forms of entities for doing business in Estonia.
More information is available here: ; .
In Estonia, any person can be self-employed who provides goods or services for charge under his own name and the sale of goods or provision of services is his permanent activity. In order to begin your activity as a self-employed person, you must register in the Tax and Customs Board’s Regional Tax Centre as a self-employed person. After that you are liable to register in the Commercial register. Additional information is available here:
From January 2019 a natural person has the opportunity to open an LHV Pank and fulfil his or her tax liability in simplified form in .
Estonia launched its e-residency program, which allows non-Estonians to access Estonia’s e-services and run an Estonian company remotely. More information is available here:
The county development centres support the development of businesses with consultations and trainings. Establishment of a company, writing of a business plan, development of your business, etc. – do you need help in the very beginning or later?
The network of County Development Centres will help you to give your business idea a go! Contacts are available here: arenduskeskused.ee.
Webinar – Opening a Startup in Estonia. Why & How?
Recognition of foreign professional qualifications
If you have acquired your education or worked in another member state of the European Union or the European Economic Area, and wish to work in Estonia, check whether your qualification (education and/or work experience) need to be recognised in Estonia.
In you can select the EU country where your qualification was awarded and the country you want to work in. If you don't find any information about your profession in the database, you can ask the Estonian ENIC/NARIC Centre can help you understand the rules which apply in your case. ENIC/NARIC Centre deals both academic recognition and professional recognition. Detailed information about r available
In Estonia health care professionals have to be registered at the National Register of Health Care Professionals. According to the
The competent authority to register these health care professionals is the Health Board (Terviseamet). (for pharmacists and assistant pharmacists the also applies), health care professionals are doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and dispensers/assistant pharmacists.
ecognition of academic diplomas -
Right to unemployment benefits
If you come to Estonia to look for work and are entitled to unemployment benefits in other EU country you have worked earlier you may be able to have your benefit transferred and paid out for a period of three months. In order to arrange this, you first must contact the local employment office in the country where this right exists and discuss your intention to go look for work abroad. The authorities there will issue you with the necessary forms and instructions. When you arrive in Estonia, you must then register as soon as possible with the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (Eesti Töötukassa) in order to make sure you do not lose benefits. Please note that the benefits will be paid to you by the country where you received an unemployment benefit earlier.
Please check is your country of origin is in the list of countries allowing you register in Eesti Töötukassa self-service portal using your national identification code. Another option is to make registration on phone: +372 634 8000. Its solution might be more complicated, and it will be better if you will buy the local SIM card for you mobile in Estonia – they are available in each supermarket and shopping centres.
Töötukassa job mediation services will then assist you in your job search and will also explain to you the procedures that apply and the conditions you will need to adhere to. These procedures and conditions are designed to ensure that you are actively looking for employment and that you are ready to start working when a job is offered.
If you become unemployed in Estonia, previous employment in other countries may be taken into account when your right to a benefit in Estonia is determined. To that end, you will need to obtain documents that prove your record from the countries you have worked in before. For more information concerning unemployment benefits, job meditation rules and conditions and your rights when moving throughout the EU and the European Economic Area, consult the information provided on www.tootukassa.ee, or call the unemployment insurance help line on the number 15501 (or +372 669 6513 when calling from outside Estonia).
Read more about receiving unemployment insurance benefits in Estonia here.
Webinar – What to Do If You Have Lost Your Job or Suspect That It Might Happen Soon?
For personal counselling you can contact the EURES advisers by email email@example.com. If you are already in Estonia and have ID card or mobile ID authentication, book the suitable time for the individual counselling through the Eesti Töötukassa self-service portal.
Services supporting adaptation in Estonia
Settle in Estonia programme is a free training programme provided by the Estonian state which is intended to help the foreigners who have arrived in Estonia to adapt and become accustomed to local life more easily. The programme, which comprises various training courses, gives an overview of how the state of Estonia and its society function and how daily life is organised. All foreigners with a residence permit who have arrived in Estonia during the last five years are welcome to participate in the following 1-day training modules and Estonian language training:
The basic module is meant for all new arrivals with a purpose to provide basic knowledge about the core values and functioning principles of the Estonian states, rights and obligations of its residents, and daily life and cultural environment in the country.
The family module
The family module is primarily meant for foreigners who have migrated to Estonia as family members.
The studying module
The studying module is primarily meant for foreign students who have moved to Estonia in order to study.
The aim of the module is to provide an overview of the issues and questions related to working in Estonia. The work module is primarily designed for foreign national who have arrived in Estonia with the intention to work, but also to foreign students, for example, who are about to finish their studies in Estonia.
The aim of the module is to provide an overview of the issues and questions related to starting or engaging in entrepreneurship in Estonia The entrepreneurship module is above all designed for the foreign nationals who have arrived in Estonia with the aim of engaging in entrepreneurship.
Estonian language training for beginners (level A1 and A2)
In addition to the thematic modules, it is also possible to participate in A1 and A2 level Estonian language courses within the adaptation programme. The A1 level course lasts approximately 3 months (100 academic hours) and the A2 level course approximately 5 months (150 academic hours). Participants can choose between morning and evening classes in Tallinn, Tartu and Narva.
To participate in these courses, you need to have Estonian living permit. Registration for trainings is open settleinestonia.ee/en/calendar/.
International House of Estonia provides a wide range of essential information, consultations and state services for international newcomers. International House provides free consultations about getting documents, finding lodging, family doctor, language programs, helping your family settle in and much more. Book a time slot here.
Integration Foundation offers counselling, information on integration, culture and language, including Estonian language houses. More information for new arrivals www.integratsioon.ee.
Information for those returning to Estonia The Integration Foundation advises returnees who have an interest and desire to return to Estonia, as well as those who have already started a new life in Estonia. More information for returnees integratsioon.ee/en/returnees.
The educational system in Estonia consists of four levels: pre-school, primary, secondary and higher education. Acquisition of basic and secondary education in state or local government schools is free.
In Estonia, a child must attend school if he or she has attained 7 years of age by 1 October of the year in question. The length of an academic year is at least 175 schooldays (35 weeks); there are four school holidays.
School is mandatory until such time as the child has completed primary education (9 grades) or reached the age of 17. Children of foreign citizens and stateless persons who reside in Estonia, excluding children of representatives of foreign states, are also subject to compulsory school attendance. Estonia’s educational system allows you to choose a school by the preferred language of instruction. In general education schools, teaching is usually delivered in Estonian or in Russian, but there are also schools where some subjects are taught in English, German or Swedish.
Parents of a child who must attend school are free to choose any school, provided there are places available. All general education schools in Estonia have a service catchment area. The local government is required to provide a place at a school for all children living in the given area.
Information about choosing a school is available on school websites, local governments and the and portal.
Webinar – Preschool Education in Estonia
National guide to higher education in Estonia www.studyinestonia.ee.
On-line Estonian language courses
If you wish to study Estonian independently and practice it with the help of a computer or a smart device, there are several possibilities. Here are some of them that you can use for free: integratsioon.ee/en/studying-estonian-independently.
The Estonian language is intriguingly different from most common European languages. It belongs to the small Finno-Ugric language group and is, indeed, quite challenging to learn. It is also related to Finnish and Hungarian. Take a challenge and find more information here.