- Estonia has a range of different visas that permit foreign nationals to work in the country. Rather than distinct work visas, these are residency visas with an enabling condition permitting the individual in question to work in Estonia.
- The Digital Nomad visa in Estonia is a relatively new and unique visa that permits individuals to work in Estonia without a sponsor, if they are a remote worker.
- Businesses unsure of which Estonia visa to employ professionals on should consider seeing the advice of a global Employer of Record.
Following independence in the early 90s, Estonia has developed into a prosperous EU country focused on the digital economy and innovation. Many companies in Estonia seek to hire overseas talent through a work visa, and similarly, many foreign nationals seek a visa to work in Estonia — particularly those interested in a flexible European base of operations.
Here we set out the different types of Estonia work visa, and describe the steps that need to be taken in order to acquire such a visa.
What are the different types of Estonia work visa?
Strictly speaking, Estonia does not have a system of work visas or work permits. Instead, individuals receive a residency permit with a condition enabling the individual to work.
There are several different types of visa in Estonia that enable an individual to work in that country: Note, that a visa is not required for EU/common market nationals due to freedom of movement within the EU.
We consider each relevant visa in turn:
- The D-Visa — also known as the ‘long-stay D visa’, is a temporary visa for non-EU citizens with a valid job offer in Estonia. The applicant must have a valid work contract, and the role must be one that is hard to fill locally and has been approved by the Estonian authorities. The visa is valid for one year and is renewable.
- The Business Visa — a visa for non-EU citizens who are coming to Estonia to start a business or invest in a local company. The applicant must have a viable business plan and be able to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and experience to run the business.
- The Intra-Company Transfer Visa — a visa for employees of a multinational company who are being transferred to Estonia for work. The employee must have been working for the company for at least 6 months, and the company must have a branch or subsidiary in Estonia.
- The EU Blue Card — a visa for highly skilled workers from outside the EU who have a job offer with a minimum salary of €1,248/month. It allows the holder to live and work in Estonia for a maximum of 4 years, with the possibility of renewal.
- The Digital Nomad Visa — a visa that allows remote workers for overseas companies, freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, to live and work in Estonia without employer sponsorship. It is valid for one year. To read more about digital nomad visas in general, take a look at our complete digital nomad visa guide.
What is the application procedure for an Estonia work visa?
The process for applying for a work visa in Estonia depends on the visa sought, but generally the process proceeds as follows:
- Job offer — there must be a valid job offer from an Estonian employer, for a position that is otherwise approved for a visa.
- Application form — this must be submitted alongside the required documents.
- Essential attached documents — this includes the passport, a copy of the job offer and an employment contract, and may include proof of your qualifications and work experience.
- Fees for processing the application must be paid at the time.
- Biometrics such as fingerprints and a photograph are usually required.
The processing time for a work visa application in Estonia can vary but is usually up to two months.
How to expedite an Estonian work visa
Visas that permit individuals to work in Estonia are highly sought after by individuals and businesses alike. To check which visa may be appropriate for an employee, it may be worth using the services of a visa support partner to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
An international Employer of Record (international EOR) specializes in hiring individuals internationally and often provides work visa assistance to speed up the process. Check out our list of the best EOR companies in 2023 to find a provider that may be able to assist you.
The processing time for a work visa in Estonia can vary, though in our experience they are usually processed within about two months.
Yes, the D-Visa and EU Blue Card will usually require an employer sponsor. Note, however, that there are other options in Estonia such as the Digital Nomad visa that do not require a sponsor.