Study in Estonia
Estonia quick facts
Official name: Republic of Estonia
Location: North Eastern Europe, Scandinavia
Government: Parliamentary Republic, single chamber Parliament (Riigikogu) of 101 members
Head of state: President
Area: 45,227 km2 (larger than e.g. the Netherlands, which is 41,526 km2) neighbours: Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Russia
Population: 1.3 million
Membership: European Union, WTO, OECD & NATO, Schengen Area
Independence: Declared in 1918; regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991
National day: 24th of February, Independence Day
Main religion: Lutheran
Currency: Euro (€)
Language: Estonian (English, Russian and German are also widely spoken)
Climate: Humid/temperate. 50% of Estonian land is covered by forests.
Proportion of urban population: 68%
Largest city: Tallinn (418,000 inhabitants – 32% of the total population, 2012)
Other major cities: Tartu (100,000), Narva (66,700), Kohtla-Järve (45,400), Pärnu (44,100)
Telephone: Country code +372
Time zone: GMT + 2 hours
GDP (PPP): $21,059 per capita (estimated 2012)
Major natural resources: Timber, oil shale, phosphorite, peat, limestone, dolomite
Distances from Tallinn: Helsinki 85 km, Riga 307 km, St Petersburg 395 km, Stockholm 405 km, Vilnius 605 km
Flight times: Helsinki 35 min, Stockholm 1 h, Copenhagen 1 h 30 min, Moscow 1 h 40 min, Amsterdam 2 h 20 min, London 2 h 45 min
Estonian inventions: Skype, Minox miniature camera, Schmidt’s telescope, etc.
Successful Estonian start-ups: e.g. Erply, TransferWise, GrabCAD, Fortumo, Click&Grow, ZeroTurnaround, Fits.me, Now!Innovations, etc.
Notable people: Composer Arvo Pärt, supermodel Carmen Kass, actress Mena Suvari and actor Johann Urb, designer Oskar Metsavaht, footballers Mart Poom and Joel Lindpere, one of the best chess players of the 20th century Paul Keres, noted astronomer and astrophysicist Ernst Öpik, former Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom Lembit Öpik, the “father of embryology” Karl Ernst von Baer etc.
Most likely you have asked yourself: Why should you come to study to Estonia?
Estonia is an e-society, with electronic ID-cards, e-government, e-health, e-school, e-parking etc. (www.e-estonia.com). You would be living in a very unique country!
It takes only about 20 minutes to found your own company online and 99% of banking is done online.
Europe's hottest start-up capitals: Tallinn (Wired magazine). As a result, Estonia has more successful start-up companies per head than in any other country in Europe, e.g. TransferWise, CrabCAD, Fortumo etc. We are talking about companies where even Sir Richard Branson invests.
Home of Skype – the Skype software was developed by four Estonian engineers. Skype has an office in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, and the company also provides scholarships for bright IT students who have chosen to study in Estonia.
Ranked 1st worldwide in air quality (World Health Organization 2013).
Estonia ranks 2nd in Internet freedom in the world (1st place Iceland, 3rd place Germany).
Ranked 2nd in the world for Internet access in schools (1st Iceland, 3rd Finland, The Global Information Technology Report 2013).
Estonia is also the only Eurozone nation to run a budget surplus. Voted as best-performing economy in Europe. (www.europeanvoice.com)
Has Europe's largest 4G coverage (95% of the country). Only Singapore and South Korea have managed to do the same.
One of the safest countries in the world. (http://www.statisticbrain.com)
Why Estonian universities?
Over 100 unique and high quality degree programs
Internationally accepted diplomas
Various state scholarships
English language widely spoken
High level research projects
Active and fun student life
Source: Erasmus Network Survey 2010
A total of 90% of international students are satisfied with their overall living and studying standard in Estonia (global average 88%).
International students in Estonia do not need an additional working permit to work while studying full time and they are allowed to work on the condition that it does not interfere with their studies. Students have to receive passing grades for a full load of courses and finish studies within the nominal time.
All non-EU students can also stay to Estonia for additional 6 months after their graduation (with the permission of the university) to look for a job in Estonia. Upon finding a job after graduation, they can use this time to apply for a temporary residence permit for work.
Average monthly salary in Estonia:
All students who are not Estonian citizens or EU citizens (including EEA countries and Switzerland) need a temporary residence permit for study. EU citizens should obtain a temporary right of residence in Estonia.
Please note that Estonia does not issue a "study visa", all NON-EU students should apply for temporary residence permit for studying (TRP). When certain conditions are met, then it is possible to apply for C- (short term) or D-visa (long term) to travel to Estonia and apply for residence permit after arrival.
The visa and residence permit application process will usually begin after student has been accepted to study on chosen programme.
In order to obtain temporary right of residence, a student should register his/her place of residence in the Local Government authority of the place of residence within 3 months from the day of entry to Estonia. In addition, a student has to apply for an Estonian ID-card within 1 month from obtaining the temporary right of residence. More information can be found on the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board web page.
Students who are third country nationals (not EU citizens) have to apply for a temporary residence permit for study at the nearest Estonian Embassy or Consul in their home country or country of residence (more info on the page of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
If there is no Estonian Embassy or Consul in your home country or country of residence, you should contact the nearest Estonian Embassy. More information about application process and all the required documents (including legal income proving certifications) can be found from Estonian Police and Border Guard Board website.
Starting from the 1st of October 2010, all third country nationals who already stay legally in Estonia and wish to study at master’s or doctoral level have a right to apply for residence permit for study at the Police and Border Guard Board in Estonia.
A temporary residence permit is valid for maximum of one year and should be renewed at least 2 months before the date of expiration at the Police and Border Guard Board. Estonian ID-card issued to a student is a document, stating that a student was issued a temporary residence permit for study in Estonia.
Students from third countries have to register their place of residence in the Local Government authority within 1 month from the arrival to Estonia on the basis of residence permit for study.
IMPORTANT: temporary residence permit for studying must be renewed every year at least 2 months before the date of expiration!
Your spouse/child may apply for a temporary residence permit if you are coming to Estonia for master's or doctoral studies. For more information and required documents, please visit Estonian Police and Border Guard Board`s website.
The issue of residence permits to the third country nationals and persons with undetermined citizenship is regulated by the Aliens Act.
For submitting the application in the Service Office you need to make a reservation.
Residence permit may be temporary or long-term.
The immigration quota for 2017 is 1317.
Upon the issue or extension of the residence permit an alien is issued a residence card.Residence card contains its holder’s personal data, data related to residence and work permits, photo and fingerprint images.
By applying for a residence permit fingerprints are captured from applicants as of 6 years of age. In order to capture fingerprints, an applicant has to apply in person to the Service Office of a Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board or to foreign representation of the Republic of EstoniaFingerprints are not taken, if a person is less than 6 years of age, less than 5 years have passed from capturing fingerprints by applying for a travel document, residence permit/right of residence or residence permit card, or if permanent incapability of a person to give fingerprints has been established in advance.
As a result of the amendments of the Aliens Act from 18.01.2017, aliens who have a residence permit of Estonia are no longer obliged to stay in Estonia for at least 183 days during a year. Aliens have an obligation to use a residence permit in accordance with its intended purpose and fulfil the conditions for the issue of the residence permit also during the period of its validity. As a consequence of the amendments, the obligation to register stay away from Estonia at the Police and Border Guard Board was lifted. Details of the place of residence in the Population Register of Estonia still have to be correct.
Temporary residence permit for studying
A temporary residence permit can be applied for study in educational institutions acknowledged by the state.
For submitting an application, please address in person 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 of the Police and Border Guard Board. For submitting the application in the Service Office you need to make a reservation. An application for a child under 15 years of age shall be submitted by his/her legal representative (e.g. parent, guardian). A minor at least 15 years of age, who is permanently residing in a foreign country, may submit an application for temporary residence permit and work permit independently only upon a notarially attested consent of his/her legal representative.
Additional documents when applying for a residence permit for a minor child under age 15:
An applicant in the status of long-term resident of another EU Member State is required to prove such status upon applying for the residence permit.
Decision on granting or refusal of residence permit
Granting or refusal of temporary residence permit shall be decided within 2 months from the acceptance of the application.
Temporary residence permit for study may be issued to an alien with a period of validity until the end of the nominal study period but for no longer than the estimated duration of studies.
In case of granting a residence permit, a residence card shall be issued to the applicant in person within 30 days at the foreign representation of the Republic of Estonia or at the Service Office stated on the application form. Arrival of the residence card in a foreign representation may take more time.
Residence card for a minor under 15 years of age shall be issued to his/her legal representative.
Alien, who holds a residence permit for study, can be employed in Estonia without holding a separate permit for employment, provided that his or her employment shall not interfere with the studies.
Extension of temporary residence permit
Please submit an application for extension of temporary residence permit in person at a Service Office at least two months prior the expiry of the current residence permit.In case if less than 5 years have passed from the previous applying for residence permit and from capturing of fingerprints, you can also apply for residence permit or textension of residence permit by post or by e-mail.
The decision on extension or refusal to extend the temporary residence permit shall be made at the latest 10 days prior the expiry of the validity term of the temporary residence permit. The residence card shall be issued at the Service Office named on the application form.