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What do I need before leaving?

EE ESTONIA
Are you a non-EU citizen living in Estonia and would you like to bring your non-EU family members to live with you there? You can find information below on the conditions to fulfil and procedures to follow, as well as the rights your family members can enjoy during their stay.


A non-EU citizen who wishes to settle in Estonia can bring in his/her spouse and other family members. A residence permit for settling with a spouse can be applied together with the sponsor.

Other family members include:

  • minor children;
  • adult children if the child is unable to cope independently due to health reasons or disability;
  • the parent or grandparent in need of care which he or she cannot receive in the country of his or her location or in another country and if the permanent legal income of his or her child or grandchild who legally stays on Estonia ensures the subsistence of him or her in Estonia and if the family member living in Estonia has a long-term residence permit;
  • to a ward in order to settle with the guardian who resides in Estonia if the permanent legal income of the guardian ensures the subsistence of the ward in Estonia

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Where to apply

Family members can apply for a residence permit at the Estonian embassy or consulate in their country of origin or residence. A third-country national may apply for a residence permit directly at the Police and Border Guard Board in Estonia in case he or she has a legal ground for staying in Estonia (e.g. visa).

Documents required
  • Family members must prove sufficient legal income. Lawfully earned remuneration for work, parental benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, income received from lawful business activities or property, pensions, scholarships, alimony, support, benefits paid by a foreign state and the subsistence ensured by family members earning legal income are deemed to be legal income.
  • Family members must prove accommodation in Estonia (subject to some exceptions)
  • Family members must have health insurance contract covering any costs related to medical treatment occurring during the validity of the residence permit.

Documents required vary according to the applied residence permit.

When settling with a spouse:

  1. An identity document

ii) A document which certifies that an applicant and the person inviting him or her are married, if they were married in a foreign state, not in Estonia; a written explanation about previous marriages; a written invitation from the spouse settling with whom the residence permit is applied for. You and your spouse must prove close economic ties and a psychologically stable and not fraudulent relationship. Grounds for rejection include failure to prove that you and your spouse cannot move to your joint country of nationality, the country of nationality of your spouse or the country of habitual residence of your spouse

Settling of a minor child with the parent:

  1. An identity document of the child, if (s)he has one and of the parent;

ii) invitation by the parent; data of close relative and family members; child's birth certificate, if the birth was registered abroad, not in Estonia; if the child’s name in the birth certificate differs from the name in the identity document, a document certifying the change of the name if the parent's name in the child's birth certificate differs from the name in the parent's identity document, a document certifying the change of the name of the parent (e.g. certificate of marriage), if the name was changed in a foreign country, not in Estonia; an identity document of the legal representative.

Additionally, the signed consent which is certified notarially or officially at a foreign representation of the Republic of Estonia, of a parent, who is not moving to Estonia or is permanently residing in a foreign country, for his or her minor child settling in Estonia (the consent must be valid at least two months after the granted), except if the parent who is not moving to Estonia submits the application for residence permit on behalf of his or her minor child or is present at the Service point upon submission of the application and grants his or her written consent upon the submission of the application.

If you are seeking to reunite with a minor child, the child's interests must be taken into consideration when granting a residence permit.

Settling of an adult child with the parent:

  1. An identity document of the child, if (s)he has one and of the parent.

ii) invitation by the parent; data of close relative and family members; child’s birth certificate, if the birth was registered abroad, not in Estonia; if the child’s name in the birth certificate differs from the name in the identity document, a document certifying the change of the name; if the parent’s name in the child’s birth certificate differs from the name in the parent’s identity document, a document certifying the change of the name of the parent (e.g. certificate of marriage), if the name was changed in a foreign country, not in Estonia; an identity document of the parent; a document, which certifies that the adult child is not able to cope on his/her own due to his/her state of health or disability.

Settling of a ward with the guardian:

i) identity documents of the ward and the guardian

ii) invitation by the guardian; data of close relatives and family members; a document certifying the establishment of guardianship.

Settling of a parent/grandparent with the child/grandchild:

i) identity document

ii) invitation by child or grandchild; data of close relative and family members; documents certifying kinship; a document that certifies the state of health, if the need for care proceeds from the state of health of the applicant.

Further requirements Family member is required to register their place of residence in the Population Register within a month from the date of their arrival or from the date of notification of the decision on the issue of the residence permit.
Duration of validity of permits

Spouse

If the marriage has lasted less than three years, your spouse may be granted a residence permit for up to one year, which may be extended.

If the marriage has lasted longer than three years, your spouse may be granted a residence permit for up to three years which may be extended.

As of 01.10.2017 the above-mentioned regulation is abolished, but the requirement stands that the period of validity of the residence permit to be issued to a spouse may not exceed the period of validity of a residence permit of the family member for the purposes of settling with the residence permit is issued.

Other family members

The period of validity of the residence permit to be issued to a family member may not exceed the period of validity of a residence permit of the family member for the purposes of settling with whom the residence permit is issued.

Appeals Appeals against refusals can be brought to administrative courts within ten days from the date of notification of the decision.

Further information

More on residence permits to settle with a spouse

More on residence permits for a minor child to settle with his/her parent

More on residence permits for an adult child to settle with his/her parent

More on residence permits for a ward to settle with his/her guardian

More on residence permits for a parent/grandparent to settle with his/her child/grandchild


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Long-term residence

After five years of continuous residence on the basis of a temporary residence permit, non-EU national may apply for a long-term residence permit at the Police and Border Guard Board.

Application for long-term residence permit shall be present no later than two months before expiry of valid temporary residence permit in the following conditions:

  • You have registered your residence in the Population Register of Estonia;
  • You have a valid temporary residence permit;
  • You have a permanent legal income for subsistence;
  • You have a health insurance;
  • You comply with integration requirements i.e. pass a test of the Estonian language (at least at the level of B1) if you are 15-65 years old and you do not have restricted active legal capacity.

More on long-term residence permits;

Right to employment A non-EU citizen who has a residence permit to settle with spouse or a close relative residing permanently in Estonia permitted to work without any restrictions.


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