Guidance

Living in Estonia

Information for British citizens moving to or living in Estonia, including guidance on residency, healthcare, and passports.

This guide sets out essential information for British citizens moving to or living in Estonia. Read about how our embassy in Tallinn can help.

This information is provided as a guide only. You should get definitive information from the Estonian authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Read general guidance on moving or retiring abroad.

To stay up to date:

If you were living in Estonia before 1 January 2021

Some parts of this guide only apply if you have been living in Estonia since before 1 January 2021. You should read these in addition to the rest of the guidance in each section.

You should also read our Living in Europe page for detailed guidance about citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Coronavirus

Follow the advice of the Estonian Government and your local authority. You should also read the Estonia travel advice.

For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in Estonia, read coronavirus travel advice and the Estonian government’s coronavirus advice.

Visas and residency

You must tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

Check the entry requirements for Estonia and read the Estonian government’s guidance on residence permits. You can contact Estonian Migration advisers for support and advice on settling in Estonia.

Make sure you are registered on the Estonian Population Register.

Visas and residency if you were living in Estonia before 1 January 2021

If you have lived in Estonia since before 1 January 2021, you and your family members have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

You have the right to request a new residence document ‘Elamisloakaart’. This document shows that you have the rights defined in the Withdrawal Agreement.

Read the Estonian Ministry of Interior’s information on how to apply for an Elamisloakaart residence document.

We strongly recommend that you request the Elamisloakaart. It also shows your right to enter Estonia and exempts you from ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) and visa requirements.

Your close family members continue to be able to join you and settle in Estonia at any point in the future. Read more information on who this applies to in the Living in Europe guidance and Estonian Government guidance.

They must travel to Estonia and then submit an application as your family member. Nationals of certain non-EU countries may require a visa before travel. The Estonian authorities should issue family reunion visas free of charge.

Passports and travel

Coronavirus travel restrictions may affect travel to and from Estonia.

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Estonia.

Check the Estonia travel advice for passport validity requirements.

Always carry your passport when travelling within the Schengen area. If you have citizenship of an EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) country, in addition to your British citizenship, you should enter and leave Estonia using your EU or EFTA passport.

If you stay in Estonia with an Estonian residence permit or long stay visa, this time does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit for the Schengen area.

If you visit other Schengen area countries outside Estonia, make sure you do not exceed the visa-free 90 days in any 180-day period. You are responsible for counting how long you stay under the Schengen visa waiver, and you must comply with its conditions.

Different rules apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

If you were living in Estonia before 1 January 2021

When you travel, carry your Elamisloakaart residence document or frontier worker permit issued under the Withdrawal Agreement, in addition to your valid passport.

You must proactively show your residence document, or other evidence of residence status, if you are asked to show your passport at border control. Other evidence may be your tenancy agreement or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020. If you have applied for, but not yet received your residence document, you can request a certificate of application from the Ministry of Interior. You can show the certificate of application with your passport.

If you cannot prove that you are a resident in Estonia, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the EU. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. This will not affect your rights in the country or countries where you live or work. If a passport is stamped, the stamp is considered null and void when you can show evidence of lawful residence.

If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you can enter and exit Estonia with a valid passport. You do not need any additional validity on the passport beyond the dates on which you are travelling.

Healthcare

Read our guidance accessing healthcare in Estonia and make sure you are correctly registered for your circumstances.

Travel insurance is not intended to cover healthcare costs if you live overseas.

You must register for healthcare as a resident in Estonia, as well as registering, where necessary, with a health insurer.

Read the Estonian health insurance fund and Estonian official state portal to find out how the healthcare insurance system works.

You can use your Estonian ID card or residence document to get prescriptions.

You should also read guidance on:

Working in Estonia

If you are planning to come to move to Estonia and work, you may need a visa. Read the Estonian government’s guidance on working in Estonia as a foreign national and how to get a visa.

To apply for a job you may need to provide a:

If you require a record of your employment history in Estonia, use the Estonian Tax and Customs Board’s online self-service portal to get this information.

Read:

If you plan to work in Estonia, even if you work for a UK based employer, this may affect where you pay National Insurance-type contributions.. Read the National insurance and social security contributions section for more information.

If you were living in Estonia before 1 January 2021

You have the right to work under the Withdrawal Agreement, if you have an Elamisloakaart residence document, or have applied for one.

If you live in Estonia and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or EFTA country before 1 January 2021, read our guidance for frontier workers.

Professional qualifications

You may need to get your professional qualification recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in Estonia. When doing this, you will be treated as a third country national. A third country national is someone who does not have EU, EEA or Swiss nationality.

Read guidance on:

If you were living in Estonia before 1 January 2021

If the relevant regulator in Estonia officially recognised your professional qualification before 1 January 2021, or you started the recognition process by this date, make sure you understand the terms of your decision. You should get advice from the relevant regulator.

Studying in Estonia

If you are planning to study in Estonia, make sure you meet all visa requirements before you travel.

Contact the relevant higher education provider in Estonia to check what fees you may have to pay.

Read guidance on:

If you were living in Estonia before 1 January 2021

The studying in the European Union guidance includes information if you were already living in Estonia before 1 January 2021.

Tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Estonia so that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.

You should get professional advice on paying tax in Estonia. Find an English-speaking lawyer in Estonia.

Read guidance on:

National insurance and social security contributions

National Insurance-type contributions(NIC) are called ‘social security contributions’ (SSC) in Estonia. Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in Estonia.

If you plan to move to Estonia and work, even if you continue work for a UK-based company remotely, you and your employer may need to pay social security contributions in Estonia. These social security contributions would entitle you to certain benefits, such as healthcare, in Estonia.

Read guidance on national insurance for workers from the UK working in the EEA or Switzerland

Check your UK National insurance record.

Benefits

UK benefits

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Estonia.

Check which UK benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

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

Estonian benefits

Find out about Estonian benefits and allowances from the Estonian State Portal.

Pensions

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Estonia.

Read State Pension guidance if you have lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand and you are claiming or waiting to claim your UK State Pension.

If you retire in Estonia, you can claim:

Read the Money and Pension Service’s MoneyHelper guidance on pension and retirement for more information on cross-border pensions.

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 do not.

Money and banking

Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA depends on local laws and regulation.

Read the Money and Pension Service’s MoneyHelper guidance on banking, insurance and financial services for more information on cross-border banking.

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on buying a property abroad.

Driving in Estonia

You cannot renew or replace your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence if you live in Estonia. Read the guidance on what you must do to drive legally in Estonia:

Exchanging your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey or Guernsey licence

If you live in Estonia, you must exchange your licence for an Estonian one. You must exchange your licence within 12 months of arriving in Estonia. Contact the Estonian Transport Administration to find out how to exchange your licence.

Most drivers can exchange their licence without having to take a test. You cannot use an International Driving Permit (IDP) instead of exchanging your licence.

Exchanging your Isle of Man licence

If you have an Isle of Man licence you will need to take a test.

Disabled drivers

If you have a UK Blue Badge and live in Estonia, you must return it to the original UK issuing authority. Contact your local municipality office to apply for a new Estonian disabled parking card.

Read the EU guidance on the EU parking card for people with disabilities.

Bringing a UK registered vehicle to Estonia

Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Read:

Driving outside Estonia with an Estonian licence

You can use your Estonian licence when visiting the UK. Keep up-to-date with the UK Highway Code.

If you go to live in the UK, you can exchange your Estonian licence for a UK one without taking a test.

To drive in another country, in addition to you Estonian licence, you may need to apply for an IDP.

Read the EU guidance on:

Voting

If you have permanent or long-term residency in Estonia (obtained after 5 consecutive years of temporary residence), you can vote in local municipal elections.

You cannot vote in national elections or European Parliament elections.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships

If your child is born in Estonia, you can register the birth with the UK authorities in addition to registering locally. If your child has British nationality, you do not need to register the birth with the UK authorities to apply for a British passport.

If someone dies in Estonia read our guidance on:

Find out how you can get married or get a civil partnership abroad.

You may also need:

Pets

If you’re moving to Estonia with your pet, read the guidance and ensure you comply with the regulations:

To visit other countries with your pet, check the rules for the country you’re travelling to. Contact your vet to get the travel documents your pet needs.

Read guidance on:

Emergencies

Dial the European emergency number 112 in Estonia for the police, ambulance or fire brigade.

If calling from outside Estonia about an emergency in Estonia, you can dial (+372) 6000 112 to reach the Estonian Emergency Response Centre.

Dial the EU 116 000 hotline to report a missing child in the EU country where you live or in another EU country.

If you need guidance on child abduction, read the guidance on international parental child abduction; guidance from Hugo Legal, working in cooperation with the Estonian Ministry of Justice on child abduction (in Estonian) and Estonian free legal aid (in Estonian); the EU guidance on child abduction and EU guidance on child abduction to another EU country.

Read our information if you are a victim of rape or sexual assault in Estonia.

If you’re the victim of crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact the British Embassy Tallinn.

Returning to the UK

Check the COVID-19 travel guidance for entering the UK.

Tell the Estonian and UK authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

You must go online and notify the Estonian population register. You will be automatically de-registered from your local health care provider.

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

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, bringing family members, tax and access to services.

Useful information

Support for British nationals abroad: a guide sets out how to stay safe abroad, and explains how the FCDO can support you if you get into difficulty.

Published 11 November 2013
Last updated 11 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Important information in the 'Working in Estonia' and 'National insurance' sections if you work in Estonia, even if it is for an employer based in the UK.

  2. Guide reviewed and updated with new information, including in the sections on driving, national insurance and social security contributions, and emergencies.

  3. Guidance reviewed and updated with new information, including Passports and travel, and driving.

  4. Guidance reviewed for people who are moving or moved to Estonia after 1 January 2021. Following the residency application deadline, it also includes sub-sections relevant to people living there since before 1 January 2021.

  5. New information on residence card permit process and deadline added to visas and residency section

  6. Healthcare section updated including guidance on the S1 form and applying for EHIC and GHIC cards; working in Estonia section updated with link to Department for International Trade (DIT) guidance on working or providing services; and education section updated with link to DIT guidance on recognition of professional qualifications.

  7. Coronavirus section updated with a link to guidance on vaccines.

  8. Updated as the transition period ends with new information on residency, driving, pet travel and moving to Estonia.

  9. Passports and travel section updated on carrying proof of residence when travelling.

  10. Healthcare section updated on how to apply for a new UK EHIC as a student or S1 holder. Working section updated with information on frontier workers.

  11. Driving section updated to include further information on exchanging a UK driving licence.

  12. Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021

  13. Brexit update: includes further details on passport validity, healthcare rights and State Pension uprating if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

  14. Brexit update: Driving section updated to reflect new transition period to exchange UK driving licences

  15. Brexit update: healthcare section updated to reflect transitional arrangements announcement

  16. Brexit update: Pensions section updated to include further details on State Pension uprating.

  17. EU Exit update: added information about EEA and EFTA countries to the "Passports and travel after EU Exit" section

  18. EU Exit update: Updated information on passports and travel, pensions and returning to the UK.

  19. EU Exit update: updated information on healthcare, visas and residency, passports and travel

  20. EU Exit update: Added a link to the dedicated Brexit web page of the Estonian Ministry of Interior in the EU Exit section

  21. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.

  22. Updated information on passports: you must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip

  23. EU Exit update: updated information on access to healthcare

  24. EU Exit update: Added information about the next outreach event in Estonia

  25. EU Exit update: updated information on pensions and driving

  26. EU exit update: New information in residency and visa section on draft withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and EU. Plus information on travelling with pets in Europe in pet section.

  27. All content has been reviewed to ensure it's accurate and up to date.

  28. Advice on UK old age state pension added under healthcare.

  29. First published.