Guidance

Living in Estonia

Official information British people moving to and living in Estonia need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.

Brexit: what you need to know

There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in Estonia while the UK remains in the EU.

While the government continues to negotiate Brexit, you should:

Before you go

See our travel advice for Estonia and sign up for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

See moving or retiring abroad.

Visas and residency

See entry requirements for Estonia in our travel advice.

All Estonian citizens and residents over 15 must have an ID card. If you’ll be in Estonia for more than 3 months, you should register on the Estonian Population Register and apply for an ID card.

Healthcare

See our travel advice for Estonia.

The NHS has information about healthcare for British people living in and visiting Estonia.

You need a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to get emergency medical treatment during temporary stays in EU countries. You also need comprehensive travel insurance to cover anything not covered by your EHIC.

If you’re studying, your UK EHIC card will cover you for the duration of your course. If your course isn’t part of a UK degree (eg postgraduate studies), your EHIC is valid for 12 months. See studying abroad.

If you work or study in Estonia, health insurance is normally arranged through your employer or school. The government pays the health insurance of children under 19, pregnant women, women on maternity leave, retired and unemployed people. See health insurance.

You can find English-speaking doctors in Estonia. You should also check your prescriptions are legal in Estonia.

You can use your Estonian ID card to get digital prescriptions.

S1 form – healthcare paid for by the UK

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Estonia and get an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit.

You need to apply for a S1 form – contact the Department for Work and Pensions’ International Pensions Centre.

When you get your S1 form, register it at your nearest Estonian Health Insurance office before you register with your local GP.

Working in Estonia

See working in another EU country.

Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).

Tax

See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad.

Estonia and the UK have a double taxation convention to prevent income being taxed in both countries. We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Estonia.

See paying income tax in Estonia and tax-free income in Estonia.

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances – contact the company providing your social security/health cover.

Pensions

See State Pension if you retire abroad and new State Pension.

If you haven’t worked in Estonia, you should claim your UK state pension by contacting the International Pension Centre.

If you have worked in Estonia, you should contact the Social Insurance Board.

If you’ve worked in several EU countries, see state pensions abroad.

Life certificates for UK state pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Benefits

See claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad.

Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

You may be eligible to claim some Estonian social security benefits – see Estonian social security benefits.

If you’ve worked in Estonia but haven’t paid enough national insurance contributions, you should get a statement of your UK National Insurance contributions.

Driving in Estonia

See driving abroad and road travel in Estonia.

See driving licence renewal and exchange and taking a vehicle out of the UK.

After 6 months, you can exchange your UK driving licence for an Estonian driving licence.

See car registration and taxes – Estonia.

Winter tyres are compulsory from 1 December to end of March, but can be used from 15 October until end of April – see Tark Tee for road conditions and restrictions.

When driving, you should always have:

  • your driving licence
  • your car papers
  • your insurance paper
  • your MOT certificate
  • your passport or ID
  • a high-visibility jacket
  • a red warning triangle
  • first aid kit
  • fire extinguisher
  • wheel chock

Voting

British citizens living abroad can vote in some UK elections – you’ll need to register as an overseas voter.

If you’re resident in Estonia, you can vote in local municipal and European Parliamentary Elections.

Births

See register a birth abroad.

Deaths

See what to do after someone dies.

See also:

Getting married

See getting married abroad.

Renewing passports

See overseas British passports applications and get an emergency travel document (sometimes called an emergency passport).

Pets

See travelling with pets.

Emergencies

Estonia uses the European emergency number 112.

If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad.

Other useful information

Returning to the UK

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

See tax if you return to the UK.

See bringing your pet to the UK.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Estonian authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 11 November 2013
Last updated 7 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. All content has been reviewed to ensure it's accurate and up to date.
  2. Advice on UK old age state pension added under healthcare.
  3. First published.