Estonia Digital Nomad Visa: A Practical Guide for Remote Professionals

Estonia

Digital nomads are always on the go. They travel to new destinations regularly in search of fresh adventure, diverse cultures, and an enabling work environment. Estonia offers all of these and even more, making it a suitable destination for digital nomads like you.

However, before you decide to make this country your next travel destination, it’s important you understand everything regarding the Estonia digital nomad visa, including the application process, visa requirements, etc. Lucky for you, we covered all in this article.

What is a Digital Nomad Visa?

A digital nomad visa or a temporary stay visa is a document that authorizes an individual to legally live and work in a foreign country for a certain period. The visa, which goes by different names, is designed to attract remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs whose work isn’t tied to a specific location.

Digital nomad visas are available in over 50 countries, and many of them come with a duration of 12 months, which can be extended if you meet certain criteria. Like other visas, interested individuals must apply for a digital nomad visa online or at the Embassy or consulate of the host country.

What is the difference between a Digital Nomad Visa and a Regular Work Visa?

A digital nomad visa is designed for remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs whose work isn’t tied to a specific location. These individuals can tour and explore the host country while working from any location of their choice, whether coffee shops, public libraries, or even beachside cafes. 

On the other hand, a regular work visa is designed for foreign individuals employed by local businesses in the host country. This visa is tied to a specific job and employer and lasts for the duration of the job contract.

Unlike a digital nomad visa, which allows holders to work for a company registered abroad, holders of a regular work visa cannot work for employers outside of the host countries. Furthermore, these individuals may need a new visa if they change jobs.

What are the types of Estonia digital nomad visas available?

There are two types of Estonia digital nomad visas: the Type C Estonia digital nomad visa and the Type D Estonia digital nomad visa. Each visa has a different duration, depending on how long you plan to stay in the country.

The Type C Estonia digital nomad visa, commonly regarded as the short-stay visa, will allow holders to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days within 180 days.

On the other hand, the type D Estonia digital nomad visa, commonly known as the long-stay visa, is a temporary stay permit that lets holders live in the country for up to 365 days.

Estonia

Advantages of Living and Working in Estonia

So you are considering applying for an Estonian digital nomad visa but aren’t sure if it’s the right choice. Below, we’ll delve into some advantages of living and working in this beautiful country.

1. Low cost of living.

If you are looking for one of the cheapest places to live in Europe, look no further than Estonia. Unlike other EU countries, Estonia boasts affordable living costs suitable for the average digital nomad.

Their houses are affordable—better than many other European countries—and the same with food, transportation, and even recreational activities. Estonia is the place for you if you are a digital nomad looking for a country to have fun and work for clients abroad on a stringent budget.

2. Minimal crime rate.

Did you know that Estonia isn’t only one of the cheapest places to live in Europe and one of the safest countries in the European Union? With a low crime rate, digital nomads can work and explore this picturesque country without having to watch their backs regularly. Furthermore, Estonian citizens enjoy a healthy democracy where the rule of law is respected.

3. Quality health care.

In addition to the low cost of living and crime rate, Estonia woos digital migrants or nomads with reliable and well-organized health care services. However, to access this service, you’ll need to get health insurance.

One of the most common health insurance coverage in Estonia is provided by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF). To qualify for this insurance, you or your employer must pay social taxes in the country. Those who pay taxes in a different country must buy private insurance.

4. Beautiful landscape.

Nestled within the captivating beauty of Northern Europe, Estonia has many breathtaking landscapes. Its pristine forests, scenic lakes, and lush islands are enough to attract digital nomads looking to work remotely while exploring the picturesque surroundings. And let’s not forget its beautiful national parks. If you love working surrounded by the soothing sound and captivating sight of nature, then the Soomaa National Park is the perfect place.  

5. Digital infrastructure.

As a digital nomad, you need robust digital infrastructure to thrive; Estonia has everything. With an average internet speed of 103.48Mbps, digital nomads can enjoy high-speed internet connection. Several places offer free Wi-Fi, making it easy to work wherever you please and meet other digital nomads.

6. Welcoming locals.

It is one thing to visit a foreign country and another to be welcomed warmly by the locals. Estonians—especially those in the capital city of Tallinn—are fond of welcoming visitors with open arms, which is why many tourists view it as a friendly country. They don’t just “welcome” tourists. They even go ahead to offer them food and parting gifts.

7. Estonia is part of the Schengen area.

Estonia is a member of the Schengen area. This allows you to access other countries (Schengen countries) without the trouble of border checks or paperwork. As a Schengen country, digital nomads in Estonia can easily travel to nearby countries, except Russia, which isn’t a member of the Schengen area.

8. Quality higher education.

The Estonian Government prioritizes education, so it is no wonder the “Times” considers it to have Europe’s best school system. It’s also among the top three countries in the world for reading, math, and science. The best part? Their education is affordable compared to what you have in some European countries. 

9. Promises loads of fun.

In addition to the enabling work environment, Estonia promises loads of fun for those looking to immerse themselves in fun-filled activities after work.

These fun-filled activities include exploring its picturesque national parks, castles, and manors, attending festivals, trying its cuisines, or visiting its magnificent beaches.

Whether you are a remote worker or an individual looking to conduct business in Estonia, there is always a fun activity for everyone.

10. Fresh air.

Did you know Estonia has one of the cleanest air on the planet? The air in Estonia is so refreshing and clean that you’d want to bag it up and take it along when leaving.

So, if you need extra motivation to visit Estonia, think of the invigorating air coursing through your lungs while you explore its beautiful landscape and experience its vibrant culture.

11. Accessible transportation system.

Don’t have a car? No problem. Estonia’s comprehensive bus network has got you covered, with routes connecting most cities and towns.

But that’s not all.

The bus network also comprises international routes like Berlin and Warsaw, making international travel easy and convenient. And if you love traveling by train, train stations are scattered across the country.

Things to Consider Before Applying for an Estonia Digital Nomad Visa

Are you thinking of applying for Estonia’s digital nomad visa? There are five things to consider first.

Eligibility.

You must determine your eligibility before applying for an Estonian digital nomad visa. To be eligible, you have to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a minimum of 18 years old. You must not be an EU/EEA, Switzerland, or Russia citizen.
  • You must have a valid work contract with a foreign company or conduct business via your own company registered abroad.  
  • You have to show, with proof, that you are a digital nomad.
  • You must prove you can work remotely using telecommunication technology and internet access.
  • For the past six months, you must have made a minimum of €3,504 per month (before tax deductions).

Can you take your family members along?

Estonia allows digital nomads to bring their family members (spouses and children) to the country. But, there is a condition. You are only allowed to bring children—who must be minors—or adults who can’t live independently because of some health disorders. 

To take your family along, they’ll have to apply for Estonian visas like you did. They’ll have the same rules as you and must provide the same documentation, except those regarding contracts and salaries.

If you are lucky, the Estonian authorities might let your spouse search for a job in the country during your stay there.

Will you pay taxes?

It depends.

If you spend more than 183 days in Estonia, you become a tax resident; hence, you must pay personal income tax there. The tax is 20% of your income, which is okay. We advise that you contact the Tax and Customs Board to determine the following:

  • Whether you are required to pay taxes in Estonia or the country where the client you work for is registered
  • Your tax rate: If you earn from a foreign client and can prove it with the necessary documentation, the tax rate might change.

To avoid paying the same tax twice, we recommend you check if the country your employer is registered with has signed the Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation. Finally, if your country of origin has a tax treaty with Estonia, you’ll pay less tax.

Cost of living.

Estonia is one of those charming countries with affordable living costs. It boasts affordable rent (on average 68.6% lower than in the U.S.), transportation, utilities, and food. And, of course, digital nomads looking to have fun or relax via recreational activities can do so without breaking the bank.

Services Offered.

Before applying for Estonia digital nomad visa, it’s important to understand the country’s digital infrastructure level.

Do they have a stable internet connection to support your remote work? What is the average internet speed? Is it so slow that it makes your work tiring, slow, and frustrating? Or so fast that it makes your work enjoyable and smooth, accomplishing tasks easily and efficiently?

As a digital nomad, you need a reliable digital infrastructure to enjoy seamless remote work and communication.

How to Apply for a Nomad Visa in Estonia

How to Apply for a Nomad Visa in Estonia?

To become an Estonian digital nomad visa holder, you must tender an application for consideration and approval. Here are the steps to apply for an Estonia digital nomad visa.

Step 1: Study the eligibility requirements of the Estonia digital nomad visa.

Step 2: Collect all the necessary documents and arrange them properly.

Step 3: Complete the application form online.

Step 4: Proceed to print the form and sign it after completion.

Step 5: Schedule an appointment at your nearest Estonian Embassy or consulate to submit your application form and the required documents.

Step 6: The most frustrating aspect of the application process is waiting and worrying about the outcome. Unfortunately, applications aren’t processed quickly. Depending on the number of applicants, getting a response takes about 15-30 days.

Step 7: When ready, you are required to pick up your Estonian digital nomad visa at the nearest Estonian Embassy. Remember, standard visa rules and procedures apply.

PS: Are you already legally in Estonia and want to extend your stay? If yes, you can do so by applying for the Estonia digital nomad visa at a Police and Border Guard Board office. Ensure you take along the required documents to avoid any delays.

Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

Here are all the documents required to apply for an Estonia digital nomad visa. Ensure you carry along the following documents when visiting the Estonian Embassy.

A valid passport: You need a valid passport that doesn’t expire until the next six months.

Passport-sized photos:  Two recent, color passport-sized photos with a white background.

Completed application form: The online application form, completed and signed by the appropriate authorities

Valid health insurance: Proof of valid health insurance that extends throughout your stay in Estonia.

Criminal record: A valid document showing that you have zero criminal records. This document can be obtained from the Police in your home country.

Employment or business documents: Proof of employment or business ownership. Plus, proof that you run your business remotely, depending on the eligibility requirements.

Proof of accommodation: Poof that you have a roof over your head during your stay in Estonia. The proof can be an invitation letter, hotel reservation, rental agreement, etc.

Proof of income: Valid proof like a bank statement or other documentation showing that your income meets the minimum threshold of €3,504 (gross) during the six months before the application.

All the required documents are to be submitted to the nearest Estonian EmbassyYou may also want to take a digital photo to confirm your identity. However, this won’t be necessary if you’ve traveled to one of the Schengen countries in the last five years.

How Much Does the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Cost?

The Estonia digital nomad visa cost is as follows:

  • The cost for a long-stay visa (type D-Visa) is €100.
  • The cost for a short-stay visa (type C-Visa) is €80.

Digital nomads whose visas are denied can appeal the decision for an extra € 80. Payment can be made using cash or a debit/credit card. Plus, it’s worth noting that refunds won’t be made after a rejected application.

Conclusion

The Estonia digital nomad visa offers digital nomads a unique opportunity to explore Estonia’s picturesque landscape, nature reserves, and vibrant culture while working remotely. However, you must get past the hurdle of applying for a visa to enjoy all these.

Luckily, this article does well to arm you with the knowledge required to get an Estonia digital nomad visa and enjoy your stay in one of Europe’s most captivating destinations.

FAQs

FAQs about the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa and Living In Estonia

My home country has no Estonian Embassy; where do I apply?

You must travel to the closest country with an Estonian embassy and apply there. Alternatively, you can visit a VFS office certified by the Estonian Government to handle visa applications.

Does an Estonian digital nomad visa lead to permanent residency?      

No. It doesn’t. The Estonian digital nomad visa doesn’t make you a citizen nor offers you the right of permanent residence in Estonia or the European Union.

Can I work for Estonian Clients or companies registered in Estonia while on a Digital Nomad Visa?

No, you can’t. An Estonian digital nomad visa allows you to work remotely for clients or companies outside Estonia. Working for Estonian clients or companies would violate the terms of your visa.

What happens after my Estonia Digital Nomad Visa expires?

You must leave the country. It’s possible to apply for a new Estonian digital nomad visa or another type of visa, depending on your situation and eligibility.

Can I Visit Other Schengen Countries With an Estonian Digital Nomad Visa?

You can visit other Schengen countries and work remotely as a digital nomad in Estonia. However, your stay in those countries is limited to 90 days within a 180-day period.

Can I Mail my Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Application?

No. You must visit the Estonia embassy, Police, or Border guard office to submit your Estonia digital nomad visa application.

Does health insurance come with my digital nomad visa?

No, it doesn’t. You need to get your health insurance coverage with a minimum of €30,000 before applying for an Estonia digital nomad visa.

How Long Can I Stay in Estonia With a Digital Nomad Visa?

An Estonia digital nomad visa allows you to stay in the country for 12 months.

What is the Difference Between the Estonian Digital Nomad Visa and the E-residency?

An e-residency is for those who wish to establish a company online and operate it from Estonia with the support of the Government. On the other hand, an Estonian digital nomad visa allows you to work remotely for a business or company outside Estonia. 

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