Estonia is a unique country by the Baltic Sea. It is one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world and often called as the start-up hot-spot of the North. On this page you will find detailed information about how to get a student visa to Estonia, where to start looking for student housing and how much you should budget for living costs in Estonia.
Immigration to Estonia
International students need to apply both for a Long-Stay (D) visa as well as for a temporary residence permit for studying (TRP) in order to study in Estonia. You will first be granted the D-visa, which is issued for the period of max. 1 year. With the D-visa you may enter Estonia and start your studies. Later you will be issued the TRP which allows you to stay in Estonia until the end of your studies.
Once you’ve been admitted to the university, visit the Estonian Embassy nearest to your country to apply for the D-visa and the TRP. The list of Estonian Embassies can be found here. Note that there are not many Estonian Embassies in the world. In Asia, the Embassies are located in New Delhi, Beijing and Tokyo. In Africa, the only Estonian embassy is in Cairo, Egypt.
The following documents are required for the D-visa. Make sure you prepare and take them with you to the Embassy:
- travel document (i.e. passport or national ID card) which is issued within previous 10 years, contains at least two blank pages for visas and is valid at least 3 months after the expiration date of the visa;
- fully completed and signed application form;
- photo (size 35×45 mm);
- insurance policy valid for Estonia or for the Schengen area with a coverage of at least 30.000 EUR for the entire duration of stay;
- documents indicating the purpose of journey:
- documents proving that applicant is going to study in Estonia;
- documents confirming sufficient means of subsistence during the stay in Estonia;
- documents confirming accommodation and provision for expenses during the stay in Estonia;
- at the time of submission of the application, biometrical data – 10 fingerprints of the applicant are collected; children under the age of 12 and persons for whom fingerprinting is physically impossible shall be exempt form the requirement to give fingerprints;
- visa fee of 80 EUR
The following documents are required for the TRP. Make sure you prepare and take them with you to the Embassy:
- An application for temporary residence permit. Fill it in digitally on screen, print it and sign it. Ensure you sign each page as instructed in the application. Access the application here.
- Data concerning close relatives and family members. Fill it in digitally on screen, print it and sign it. Ensure you sign each page as instructed in the form. Access the form here.
- The admission letter from the Estonian university that you have received once you were admitted. The university will also send it directly to the Embassy and to the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board.
- Documents demonstrating that you have sufficient legal income. The requirement for income is twice the subsistence level in Estonia for every month of stay in Estonia. In 2017, the subsistence level is 130 EUR per month; therefore, requirement for legal income is at least 260 EUR per month. Note that just a deposit on a bank account does not prove regular income. You must show the source and regularity of the income. You may provide, for instance, your parents’ or relatives’ pay slips from the last six month from their employer with a bank statement about receiving the salary. Include your name, date and signature in the documents.
- Your passport and its copy. Add your name, date and signature in the copy
- A color photo 40×50 mm in size. Check the requirements by the Police here.
- An insurance contract. The insurance contract must be valid the full time of your studies (not just travel) and must provide at least 6000 EUR cover for family doctor, hospitalization and specialized medicine in Estonia. Check out the Police and Border Guard Board’s requirements here.
The processing time of the D-visa is usually between 10-14 days after the visit to the Embassy. The temporary residence permit will take several months to process, and you will receive this when already in Estonia. In other words, you can travel to Estonia with the D-visa and wait for the temporary residence permit there. Read detailed information at the Police and Border Guard Board website. The list of documents required for the D-visa is available also here.
All documents that are not in English must be translated to English and the translation certified by a notary. All documents must be certified with an apostille certificate (marginal note) or legalized. At the embassy you must pay the state fee of 80 EUR for the TRP application and another 80 EUR for the D-visa application.
Tuition fee payment
The tuition fee to EUAS is to be paid after the decision on the D-visa application is made, yet before the visa becomes valid. For example, once the applicant has received the visa decision and goes to the embassy to get the visa stamp in the passport on 20 June, the visa becomes valid on 20 August. Therefore, the tuition fee must have been paid to EUAS bank account before 20 August.
Health and insurance
International students studying in Estonia are not covered by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, so you must have a health insurance cover in order to apply for a temporary residence permit for studying. The health insurance should be valid for the same period as the temporary residence permit. The insurance coverage for the insurance period of one year must be at least 6000 EUR.
Living in Estonia
Estonia is a unique, small country with a population of 1.3 million and with an area of 45,228 square kilometers. The capital city of Estonia is Tallinn and the currency used in there is Euro (€). The official language is Estonian, but English, Russian, and German are fairly widely spoken, particularly in the areas visited by tourists.
Estonia has four seasons, the summer, spring, autumn and winter. The average temperature in February, the coldest month of the year, is approximately -6 degrees Celsius. The average temperature in July, the warmest month of the year, is about 17 degrees Celsius. The summer months of June to August are relatively warm and the winter months of December to February can be snowy and chilly. The shortest day of the year in December has only about 6 hours of daylight but that gets compensated in the summer when the sun stays up until late.
The capital city Tallinn is a UNESCO world heritage site and it is one of the most original medieval cities in Europe. It has half a million residents. The picturesque Old Town is full of cobblestone streets and the view from St. Olaf’s Church, once the tallest building in the world, is breathtaking. The most common destinations to visit from Tallinn are Helsinki and Stockholm which are accessible by ferries. The ferry journey to Helsinki takes just a couple of hours. There are buses and trains connecting Estonia to St. Petersburg in Russia.
There are plenty of affordable options for accommodation when it comes to students. Some universities, such as Edunation’s partner university EUAS have places reserved for foreign students. The cost depends on the size of the dorm and ranges from 200 to 250 EUR per month (including utilities). Private flats are also an option in Estonia and the cost varies from 200 to 510 EUR depending on the location.
We recommend that students stay their first months in the dormitories at the university, because they are near the lecture halls and a convenient place to start exploring the new home city. Once you are settled in Estonia, you can start looking for other accommodation options.
Cost of living
The cost of living in Estonia is quite affordable compared to the rest of the EU countries. The average monthly expenses for living (accommodation, transport, food and other necessities) ranges from 300 to 500 EUR depending on your choice.
You should budget between 200 and 300 EUR per month for food. Usually universities have their own cafeteria offering good meals for a cheap cost. Eating out is also affordable and you can get a good meal with 3-5 EUR.
Going to the movies is between 4 to 6 EUR per ticket. A typical gym would cost around 30 EUR.
Working in Estonia
The temporary residence permit for studying allows students to work on the condition that work does not interfere with the studies. All students must receive passing grades for a certain number of courses within a semester and finish those courses within a nominal time. There isn’t any limit for how many hours a student can work. The average monthly salary for a student would be around 1,200 EUR.
How to find a job?
Applying for a job through e-mail is the most common used method in Estonia. It is usually required that you send your CV, a cover letter and sometimes an expected wage. Most of the students in Estonia work and study at the same time. Usually the English-speaking jobs can be found on www.workinestonia.com but also the career centers in universities can help you to find a part-time job.
Can you stay in Estonia to work after studies?
After graduating, international students can stay in Estonia for an additional 9 months to look for a job (with the permission of your university) and apply for a temporary resident permit for work.
Public transport (buses, trams and trolleys) is free of charge in Tallinn for residents of Tallinn, including international students studying in Tallinn. You can find schedules pages and optimal route search here. The average starting fee for taxis starts from 1.9 EUR, and each kilometer from 0.6 EUR, but this depends on the company.