Estonia is a full member of the EU, which means that its visa requirements distinguish between EU/EEA nationals and those from outside the European Union.
If you’re an EU/EEA national, you need to get a temporary right of residence in Estonia within three months of your arrival in the country. You can do this by registering your Estonian address at your local government authority.
You’ll also need to apply to the Migration Bureau for an Estonian ID card within one month of gaining temporary right of residence. For more information on ID cards, please visit the Estonian government’s website.
If you’re a non-EU/EEA national, you need to apply for a temporary residence permit for study (TRP) at your nearest Estonian embassy. As this can be a lengthy process – around three months – it’s recommended that you begin your application well in advance of your arrival in Estonia. If it’s fewer than three months until your studies begin, Estonian universities typically advise that you apply for a long term (D) visa that allows you to arrive in Estonia, where you can then continue your application for a TRP.
Once you’ve received your TRP, you need to register your address with the local government authority within a month.
For more information, please visit the University of Tartu’s useful page on visas and residency for international students in Estonia.
If you’re an EU/EEA national, you should make sure that you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you arrive in Estonia. This entitles you to the same level of healthcare as an Estonian citizen and means that you’ll pay the same rates as a local.
However, the EHIC isn’t an alternative to travel insurance and won’t cover all eventualities, such as a flight home or private healthcare. As such, it’s advisable to take out your own insurance policy.
If you’re a non-EU/EEA national, you need to make sure you’re covered by a private insurance policy for the duration of your studies – this is a strict condition of your residence permit. You then need to provide proof of the policy to the Estonian Policy and Border Guard Board.