How to get a residence permit in Estonia


There is no way to guarantee a residence permit in Estonia

Fulfilling all formal requirements of a temporary residence permit is just one part of the process. Immigration authorities might also look at your personal background and professional skills, as well as your company activities and taxes paid by your company.

It is obvious that it is worth to have a good adviser. However, before you start the process, it is better to evaluate your real chances. In case your main motivation is to just have a residence permit here, then it might be an uphill battle for you. But if you would do the business anyway and next to that you decide to get an Estonian residence permit, then your chances for a positive result are much higher.

KRM Advisor will assist only those in residence permit matters, who are already our clients or at least create a company with our help. See how to start company in Estonia.

Below you can read about different legal ways on how to receive an Estonian (temporary) residence permit.

Temporary residence permit for employment or for business

We provide assistance in applying for a temporary residence permit for our clients who have obtained their Estonian company from us. There are several categories of Estonian temporary residence permits. The most relevant ones for our clients are in general the temporary residence permit for employment or for business.

It is important to note that the decision for granting or refusal is made solely by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, thus we cannot guarantee or influence the final result. The decision shall be made within 2 months from the acceptance of the application. In case the authorities require any additional information or documents, the process can take longer.

The applicant must submit the application in person in a foreign representation of the Republic of Estonia. An alien who has a legal basis for staying in Estonia, may submit the application at the Service Office. When applying for a residence permit, fingerprints are captured from applicants.

Residence permit for employment

An alien may apply for a temporary residence permit (TRP) for employment with an employer registered in Estonia. This is perhaps the most practicable way to get a TRP for third country nationals.

A TRP for employment is issued with the period of validity of up to 5 years. An alien is required to register his place of residence within one month from the date of arrival into Estonia on the basis of the residence permit. An alien is required to have a place of residence registered in Estonia during the whole period of validity of the residence permit.

An alien may apply for a residence permit for employment without the permission of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund but with fulfilling the salary criterion, if an applicant shall settle to work for the purpose of performing managerial or supervisory functions of a legal person registered in Estonia, which is governed by private law, on the following conditions:

  1. The company must have been registered in Estonia for at least 5 months, it must have conducted actual business activities in Estonia during the last 5 months and the granting of the residence permit must significantly contribute to achieve the purpose of the granting of residence permit for employment;
  2. Residence permit for the purpose of performing managerial or supervisory functions of a legal person governed by private law may be granted to a member of management board or supervisory board of a private limited company, public limited company, foundation and commercial association, member of management board of non-profit association, procurator, liquidator, bankruptcy trustee, auditor, tax auditor, member of audit committee and director of a foreign company branch.
  3. An Estonian company (employer) is obliged to pay an alien the salary which is at least equal to the recent average yearly wages in Estonia, published by the Statistical Office of Estonia, which was 1295 EUR gross in 2018. Taxation from that amount is ca 230 EUR (unemployment tax paid by employer - ca 11 EUR, income and unemployment tax paid by employee - ca 220 EUR). In addition, the employer must pay a social security tax 33%, which makes ca 427 EUR. The employee will receive a net salary of ca 1054 EUR.  

Read about important information for registering short-term employment here: LINK

Residence permit for business

TRP for business is issued for a maximum of 5 years and gives you three options for applying:

  1. Investing at least 65 000 EUR of capital in your Estonian company (company's equity capital, subordinated liability and registered fixed assets can be regarded as an investment). A business plan in Estonian or English is required to support the application. More than one applicant may invest into the same Estonian company (65 000 EUR each). 
  2. As a major investor – it requires a direct investment of at least 1 million EUR in an Estonian company or investment fund, that invests mostly into the Estonian company. A business plan is not required.
  3. As a start-up this option requires previous evaluation from the Expert committee. The committee is quite strict and gives quite a lot of refusals. A business plan is not required.

In case of any of the previous options, there is a need to prove why the applicants need to move to Estonia and be physically present in Estonia to do the specific work.