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Visas, Residency, Immigration & Documentation

Estonia - Visas, Residency, Immigration & Documentation

Nationals from the EU or EEA member states may enter Estonia without a visa and their presence in the country is subject to the Citizens of the European Union Act. United States citizens do not require a visa if they intend to stay in Estonia less than three months in a six month period.

Regulations on residency and immigration altered somewhat on May 1, 2004, when Estonia joined the European Union. Temporary residency is granted to the spouse of an Estonian citizen, permanent resident aliens who have resided in Estonia legally for at least five years, or the spouse of an alien who has been granted a residency permit on the basis of employment. If the marriage is less than three years old, the alien spouse receives a residency permit that is valid for one year. The permit may be renewed each year for three years. After three years of permanent residency in Estonia, provided the marriage has remained intact, the alien spouse will receive a permit for residency that is valid for three years. If the marriage is more than three years old, the alien spouse will immediately receive a permanent residency permit that is valid for three years.

Temporary residence permits are also issued to aliens who want to settle with a close relative who is an Estonian citizen. A close relative is defined as a parent (in the case of a minor or an adult child who is unable to cope independently due to health reasons or disabilities), a child (in the case of a parent who requires care), or a grandchild (in the case of a grandparent who requires care), or a person under guardianship to settle with their guardian. In most cases of an alien wishing to take up residence in Estonia based on a family relationship, it is a requirement that the family member sponsor maintain a permanent legal income in Estonia.

Residency visas are available to foreign nationals interested in working in Estonia, who have a secure job offer from an employer in the country. A residency permit for employment is issued for the period of guaranteed employment by an Estonian employer, with a two year validation period. After two years the permit can be extended. The maximum period for extension is five years at a time.

In most cases, the Labor Market Board, Estonia's equivalent of America's Department of Labor, must approve the employment of a foreign national. For more information, visit www.tta.ee.

No immigration quota is imposed on aliens who are ethnic Estonians or citizens of either the EU, the US, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, or Japan.

The Estonian Embassy web site contains extensive information on immigration and visa issues. Sample documents are also available to download (http://www.mig.ee/eng/residence/employment/).

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