As Estonia stands firmly with Ukraine and is prepared to offer safety to Ukrainians fleeing the war, this page covers basic information on arriving and staying in Estonia and finding ways to relocate a business to Estonia in order to ensure the continuity of business if demanded by the situation in Ukraine.
We have gathered a list of frequently asked questions for Ukrainians on arriving to and staying in Estonia and finding ways to relocate a business if unavoidable due to the situation in Ukraine.
This page is updated on a regular basis. Last updated on May 16, 2022.
The state helpline 1247 is an information number operating next to the emergency number 112. 1247 offers information and advice in Estonian, Russian and English 24 hours a day.
When calling from abroad, please dial +372 600 1247. The number provides necessary information for Ukrainians living and working in Estonia and people related to them. Furthermore, this website gives the latest information regarding Ukrainian citizens’ options to come to and stay in Estonia.
Ukrainian citizens and their family members, regardless of their citizenship, can temporarily enter Estonia without a visa, if they have a valid travel document. All persons who arrive at the border control are checked according to the Schengen Borders Code.
A foreigner must have a valid travel document for crossing the border.
This could be:
The police will stop border crossers to establish their nationality based on travel documents. In the absence of travel documents, nationality or country of origin will be established based on other documents or the person’s statements.
It is necessary to have a valid travel document to cross the border. If a passport is intended to be only a nationally used identity document, it cannot be used for travelling.
If a Ukrainian citizen does not have a valid travel document and he/she reaches the Estonian external border and wishes to receive protection from the state of Estonia, he/she can apply for international protection at the border crossing point. However, the protection must be applied for in the first safe country that a person reaches, thus if a person reaches some other European country first, he/she must apply there.
Both, Ukrainian citizens who have a biometric passport, and those who have a non-biometric one, can now enter Estonia without a visa.
Contact the Ukrainian Embassy in Estonia via its website or using the phone numbers +372 601 5835 or +372 5887 4477 (for emergencies). The embassy is the first contact point for Ukrainian citizens in Estonia.
If you have a temporary place to stay in Estonia, calmly remain where you are and follow the news. Ukrainian citizens whose visa or another basis for stay has expired or is about to expire may temporarily continue to remain in Estonia. There is no need to specifically apply for an extension of the visa or other basis for stay.
The Social Insurance Board has mapped the hotels that can offer accommodation at reduced prices. They also have contacts for temporary shelters. Information is given via the state services phone line 1247 (+372 600 1247 from abroad).
If a citizen fleeing from war intends to stay longer in Estonia, he or she can apply for Temporary International Protection at the border points in Estonia or the Police and Border Guard Board service centers. This stems from the EU Directive (approved on March 3rd, 2022) and will grant for one year, with the possibility of extension, temporary residence permit to the applicant in a faster way. For more information, please read here.
By the decision of the Director General of the Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB), citizens of Ukraine whose basis for stay in Estonia is about to expire may continue to stay in Estonia temporarily.
Ukrainian citizens whose visa or another basis for stay has expired or will expire shortly are allowed to stay in the country and these people do not need to apply for an extension of their visa or another basis for stay. This decision is temporary until a new arrangement is made.
No, they do not need to apply for a visa. The family members of Ukrainian citizens (children, parents, spouses) who are citizens of some other country and whose visa or other basis for stay has expired or is about to expire may temporarily remain in Estonia. There is no need to specifically apply for the extension of the visa or basis for stay. Thus, the children, parents and spouses of Ukrainian citizens, regardless of their citizenship, are exempt from specifically applying for a visa or extending it.
Additionally, the Police and Border Guard Board can admit other arrivals, e.g. partners, from Ukraine to Estonia on humanitarian grounds, to maintain family unity.
With a Schengen visa, a Ukrainian citizen can stay in Estonia for 90 days within half a year (180 days). If the allowed period of stay in Estonia is about to run out, Ukrainian citizens whose visa or another basis for stay has expired or is about to expire, may temporarily continue to remain in Estonia. There is no need to specifically apply for an extension of the visa or other basis for stay.
The Relocation Guide is a guide created by Work in Estonia, helping those relocating to Estonia.
Ukrainians, like all foreigners, have the right to apply for and receive international protection if the application is well-founded. An application for international protection must be submitted either before entering the country at any border crossing point or, if a foreigner is already in Estonia, at any Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB) service point.
Applicants for international protection are provided with accommodation, essential health care, hygiene, meals and clothing. They are not allowed to work during the application procedure.
The EU adoption of the Directive for International Protection has been approved by the Estonian government and entered into force on the 9th of March 2022.
This means that starting from March 9th, Ukrainians who fled on or after February 24th, 2022, from Ukraine will be able to apply for a temporary residence permit for the purposes of International Protection, which at the beginning will be granted for a year. The holders of this temporary residence permit can participate in the labour market under the same conditions as Estonians.
The Police and Border Guard has mentioned that the permit might be approved as fast as in one day and the ID card issuing might take up to 30 days.
For the application of temporary protection at the service points, an appointment must be made at here. Appointments will be available at six service points of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board in Estonia.
The Police and Border Guard Board plans to open temporary service points also at the accommodation areas where Ukrainian war refugees are currently staying. Information on the given service will be provided on-site.
People who have received protection have an opportunity to work, study, receive a state pension, social benefits (including family benefits and unemployment support), and other assistance in Estonia on an equal basis with other residents of Estonia. Additionally, the recipients of protection have a right to state support in renting housing, learning Estonian, and using translation services.
More information about applying: the Police and Border Guard Board.
If a Ukrainian citizen whose permission to work in Estonia expires shortly wishes to continue working, his/her employer must register it again with the Police and Border Guard Board.
Yes. Ukrainian citizens who have arrived in Estonia with or without a visa also get the right to work in Estonia if the employer registers their short-term employment at the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA).
At this moment all Ukrainians arriving to Estonia can start working if they have found an employer and the employer registers the short-term employment with the Police and Border Guard.
If the person is given a status of international protection, then he/she will get a residence permit and can work under the exact same conditions as Estonian citizens. The EU has approved this status for all Ukrainian citizens who have fled Ukraine after February 24, 2022. For more information, please read here.
To assist Ukrainians in getting access to the labour market, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund opened an online environment where people who have arrived from Ukraine can find job offers or the contact information of employers who are ready to offer work opportunities to people who have arrived in the country. The web page is in Estonian, English, as well as Russian and can be found here.
Work in Estonia is a portal run by the Estonian Investment Agency, aimed at foreign talent seeking for jobs in Estonia. It is possible to browse various categories of job offers in English and a separate selection of job offers of companies encouraging Ukrainian refugees to apply can be found here.
Job portals CV-Online and CV Keskus have created lists of job offers, in case of which the companies publishing them encourage Ukrainian refugees to apply. There are also other job offers on the portals that may be suitable.
There were over 11,500 vacant positions in Estonia in the third quarter of 2021. In addition to the recruitment of local workforce, the recruitment from other countries has also gathered momentum during the second half of the year.
Short-term workers are usually engaged the most in agricultural establishments (last year, the seasonal workers from outside the European Union made up about 13% of the labour force in the sector). The construction industry has a similar share of short-term workers. The number of foreign-origin short-term workers in the processing industry has also increased quickly, in the third quarter there were more foreign workers employed there than before the beginning of the pandemic, about 5% of the workforce.
The information and communication technologies sector makes up 3% of current short-term work registrations but the number of short-term workers who have headed there has also quickly risen in 2021. For concrete information and job offers on the ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) sphere, visit the Work in Estonia web portal.
The number of short-term workers who are Ukrainian citizens has grown significantly during the last few years. In 2021, 23,627 Ukrainian citizens registered short-term working, making up more than 70% of all short-term workers. The lion’s share of short-term workers is employed in two sectors: construction (6597 workers as of the beginning of 2022) and processing industry (6471 workers). There were also 5185 seasonal workers employed in Estonian in 2021, a large share of whom were employed in agriculture.
Tallinn Reception Centre for Ukrainians At the refugee reception centre, the City of Tallinn, the Social Insurance Board and the Police and Border Guard Board of the Republic of Estonia as well as the Estonian Refugee Council cooperate to meet the primary needs of the refugees from the war in Ukraine, including information on adaptation options.
Niine 2, Tallinn
Public transport: trams No 1 ja 2, Põhja puiestee stop
Advice on the phone 1247 or +372 600 1247.
More information here
International House of Estonia
The International House of Estonia offers different individual and group consultations in partnership with different government organizations, such as career counseling and adaptation consultations. Information on the consultations and different events can be found here.
If a person comes with a residence permit based on regular migration — for example, to work, study, settle with a family member, they will be covered by the adaptation programme Settle in Estonia and Estonian language training at the basic level (A1 and A2).
When coming as a beneficiary of international protection, they are covered by a mandatory separate settling programme which is specifically targeted at beneficiaries of international protection. In addition Estonian language courses up to level B1, the participation in which is also mandatory.
More information can be found here.
Healthcare is a basic human right. Urgent medical aid is ensured to all persons staying in Estonia if they have a severe or life-threatening health issue – even if the person who has arrived does not yet have a direct legal basis for being in Estonia.
The Family Doctor’s Advice Line 1220 (or +372 634 6630 when calling from abroad) is offering health advice in English and Russian. If necessary, the person will be forwarded to the emergency line 112.
Basic medical assistance is available at the reception center for refugees of Ukraine that has been set up in Tallinn.
Additionally, private initiatives like Viveo Health offer their services to Ukrainians. For example, people affected by the war in Ukraine can get a FREE medical consultation with a licensed doctor online via audio or video link, wherever they are.
The psychosocial crisis support phone line of the Social Insurance Board, 116 006 (+372 6147 393 when calling from a foreign phone number) offers humane, supportive, and practical help to fellow humans in a crisis or after that. It is also possible to talk online. Support is guaranteed in Estonian, English, and Russian.
Public transport in Estonia has been made free for Ukrainian war refugees. It is possible to travel for free on both city and county buses in Estonia, as well as on Elron trains. Refugees who have fled Ukraine can get a public transport card from the host local government, or from the regional Public Transport Center. The card will also apply to trolleybuses and trams. The right to travel free of charge does not extend to commercial, inter-city bus lines.
Estonia is ready to offer Ukrainians opportunities to continue their education in primary and general education as well as vocational and higher education.
The Estonian Ministry of Education and Research is compiling information on children arriving in Estonia based on visa-free travel from the region of the armed conflict in Ukraine to provide additional funding for additional schooling institutions, language study, and compensation for free school meals.
Children and young people who have arrived in Estonia can participate in formal or non-formal education as follows:
To apply for a kindergarten spot, it is necessary to contact the local municipality for the acceptance conditions and an overview of required documents, based on the order established by the rural municipality or city government. Applying for a kindergarten spot starts with a written application submitted to the kindergarten chosen by the parent or to the local municipality. If there are free spots at the desired kindergarten, the child will be accepted.
It is not compulsory to attend kindergarten in Estonia.
In cooperation with local municipalities, we are trying to ensure a place in school at the first opportunity for all children coming from Ukraine for whom school attendance is compulsory. When the child has reached Estonia, the parent can submit a written application to the school or the school holder.
Tallinn plans to create a separate project-based school for Ukrainian children, where all children from Ukraine can study, regardless of age. For now, however, each student will be approached individually.
More information can be found on the website of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.
Rendin, the home rental platform offers reliable rental agreements (in English, Russian, and Estonian) for free usage. It’s aimed at local landlords who’d like to give their property without fee/with a symbolic cost as a living space for the Ukrainian people. Also, both parties, the landlord and the tenant, are welcome to ask for free legal consulting about rental agreements and tenancy relations.
Estonia’s biggest newspaper Postimees has opened a Ukrainian language news portal to help Ukrainians in Estonia be up to date with the current news and events, both in Estonia and in Ukraine.
Estonian Investment Agency together with International House of Estonia provide full support and a personal business relocation adviser for all Ukrainian companies who need to relocate their business to Estonia.
Your personal business continuity adviser will connect you with all the local service providers and support in finding office premises, living place, school and kindergarten places.
Special tax measures for Ukrainian companies relocating to Estonia are currently in development.
A personal business relocation adviser at the Estonian Investment Agency helps your company employees to find transport solutions to Estonia and supports the company and its employees with all the next services that are needed for business continuity. Please contact our business continuity adviser for more information.
When working for a Ukranian registered company from Estonia, Ukrainian employees do not have to pay any tax in Estonia until the natural person’s residency for tax purposes is fixed in Estonia. Definition for determining natural person’s residency for tax purposes is described on Estonian Tax and Customs Board’s website.
Startup Estonia keeps offering startup visa program both for founders and talents who wish to work for Estonian startups. Startup visa applications for Ukrainian citizens are processed in a fast track, results usually come within 1-2 days. More information about the startup visa can be found here.
For the past three years, Ukraine has been one of e-Residency’s main target countries. Estonia has more than 5,100 Ukrainian e-residents in total, which have founded around 1,600 companies in Estonia. The e-Residency programme and Estonia’s community of 90,000+ e-residents support the Ukrainian e-residents by distributing information to them and spreading information about Estonian companies founded by Ukrainian e-residents. The e-Residency programme keeps accepting applications for e-Residency from Ukrainian citizens, though currently e-Residency cards cannot be issued at the Estonian embassy in Kyiv.
Applications for e-Residency from Russian and Belarusian citizens are currently not accepted and issuing e-Residency cards at Estonia’s embassies in Moscow and Minsk has been suspended.
If a Ukrainian citizen has applied for e-Residency since February 24 this year and applies to one of the service providers from Marketplace: Magrat, e-Residency Hub, Xolo, 1Office, Companio, SuccessHub, Thompson&Stein, Enty or eFinance for the establishment of an Estonian company this year, the service provider will bear the state fee for setting up the company in the amount of 265 euros. The e-Residency program reimburses Ukrainians the state fee for applying for an Estonian digital identity, which is up to 130 euros, depending on the point of issue. More information here.
If a foreigner has a valid residence permit to reside in Estonia, it does not become automatically invalid if the person leaves Estonia. Foreigners who have a residence permit are allowed to move freely, leave, and enter Estonia.
An employer can suspend (for instance, the parties agree upon an unpaid vacation), terminate, or continue the employment relationship.
The EU stands united in its solidarity with Ukraine and will continue to support Ukraine and its people together with its international partners, including through additional political, financial, and humanitarian support.
The EU has reacted swiftly and decisively to Russia’s aggression by adopting further restrictive measures in response, that will have massive and severe consequences for Russia.
More information can be found here.
|Immigration and working|
Head of the International House of Estonia [email protected] +372 627 9424
Director of Business Development in CEE [email protected] +372 512 6272