Estonia Digital Nomad Visa

Estonia Digital Nomad Visa, Tallinn

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Everything You Need to Know About the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa in 2024

Not a country I often see popping up on people’s must-visit lists, Estonia is a fantastic option for digital nomads looking for a destination less travelled. 

This small Baltic country offers a compelling mix of factors that make it an attractive digital nomad hub. The capital, Tallinn, delivers an exceptional quality of life with its beautiful Old Town, lively cultural scene, awesome selection of cafes, and great nightlife. Estonia also provides a world-class digital infrastructure with ultra-fast, low-cost internet access across the country.

For digital nomads, Estonia enables a healthy work-life balance thanks to its abundance of nature escapes like forests, beaches and islands within easy reach of cities. The low cost of living compared to Western Europe also makes it very affordable. With English widely spoken and seamless travel connections, Estonia serves as an accessible European base.

Before we begin, here’s a run down of the key information that you need to know regarding this visa:

Validity: Up to one year (with possibility of extension)

Target Audience: Remote workers and freelancers with location-independent income

Fees: €80 for a short-stay visa (C visa), €100 for a long-stay visa (D visa)

Travel: Allows travel within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period

It is important to note that while this information was all correct at the time of writing, situations can change very quickly and without warning. 

You should also be aware that I am writing from a UK perspective, and regulations and requirements vary from country to country.

You should make sure that you check with your own country’s advice and with your closest Estonian consulate or embassy before you make your application.

What Is The Estonia Digital Nomad Visa?

The Estonia Digital Nomad Visa is a visa specifically designed for remote workers who want to experience the unique blend of historic charm, a thriving startup scene, and breathtaking natural beauty that Estonia offers. It allows you to legally work for your employer or clients abroad while living in Estonia.

It is also one of the few visas that I’ve seen that really takes into account the realities of the digital nomad lifestyle – making caveats in the application process to allow for flexibility when it comes to employment contracts and wage requirements. 

When applying for the Estonia digital nomad visa, you can apply for either an Estonian long-stay visa (D-visa) or a short-stay visa (C-visa). The state fee for a D visa is €100 and for a C visa is €80. 

The process for applying for each visa is largely the same, and you’ll find the step-by-step guide below.

Estonian flag in castle

How long can you stay in Estonia with the digital nomad visa?

Estonian long-stay visa (D-visa) gives successful applicants up to one year in Estonia, or a short-stay visa (C-visa) granting 90 days within a 180-day period, depending on your planned period of stay. 

Neither visa has the option for extensions however you can apply for a residency permit, or reapply for the digital nomad visa itself. Neither of these options is guaranteed and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

You should also know that you cannot stay in Estonia for more than 548 days within 730 consecutive days, even if you do get approved for consecutive long-stay visas.

Estonia coastline

Digital Nomad Visa Estonia Eligibility

So who can apply for the Estonia digital nomad visa?

Here’s a quick summary: 

  • Age: 18 years or older
  • Nationality: Citizens of most countries outside the EU (EU citizens enjoy freedom of movement within the EU)
  • Occupation: Freelancers, remote workers, or company owners with location-independent income
  • Financial Requirements: Monthly income of €4,500
  • Health Insurance: Valid health insurance covering the entirety of your stay in Estonia
  • Clean Criminal Record: Background check demonstrating a clean criminal record

But let’s take a look in a bit more depth at what these requirements mean…

Estonian deer

Financial requirements

When applying for the Estonia digital nomad visa you’ll have to provide evidence of sufficient income within the past six months. The sufficient income threshold ensures that digital nomads can sustain their lifestyle while residing in Estonia and will not become a burden to the Estonian social welfare system.

There is a recommended minimum monthly income requirement of €4,500, or €150 per day. This is to ensure you can support yourself financially during your stay in Estonia, however, this is not a strict requirement.

Decisions as to what constitutes sufficient income will be made on a case-by-case basis based on the proof of income and employment agreements that you submit. As long as you can prove you have the means to support yourself your application may still be considered.  

Be prepared to submit bank statements, invoices, or contracts verifying your income stream.

Travelling estonia as a digital nomad

Passports & Eligible Countries

Citizens of most countries can apply for the Estonia digital nomad visa, providing that they do not come from an EU/EEA or Schengen country. Citizens of the UK, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are all able to apply.

As EU citizens benefit from free movement, they do not need a visa to live and work in Estonia. 

Language requirements?

There are no specific language requirements to apply for the Estonia digital nomad visa

While Estonian is the official language, English is widely spoken in Estonia, particularly in major cities like Tallinn. I always recommend trying to learn some basics of the language of whatever country you are visiting so here are a few basic Estonian phrases to get you started:

Hello – Tere (Tere hommikust – Good morning)

Goodbye – Nägemist (Head aega – Have a good time)

Please – Palun

Thank you – Aitäh

Digital nomad visa estonia - estonian street

What do I need to apply for the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa?

Below is a summary of the general documents that the majority of people will need to submit. There maybe slightly different requirements for citizens of differing countries so always double-check with the relevant consulate or embassy in your home country.

Here’s a checklist to get you started:

  • Valid passport: At least 2 blank pages and validity to cover your stay.
  • Visa application form: Filled out online and printed.
  • Proof of income: Bank statements or invoices showing a minimum monthly income 
  • Accommodation: Rental agreement or booking confirmation.
  • Health insurance: Valid for your stay in Estonia.
  • Criminal background check: From your home country.
  • Cover letter: describing your work or study, and professional life course, plus an explanation on how you will use the visa for remote work
  • Proof of employment and/or remote work:
    • Employed: Letter from your employer confirming remote work.
    • Freelancer: Contracts, invoices or emails proving you work for foreign clients.

What’s really good about this digital nomad visa is that it provides flexibility in terms of the documents you can submit, showing an understanding that many freelance situations are potentially more casual agreements than formal contracted employment.

Although the application does prefer to see written contracts, you can use emails and other documents can also be taken into account in the place of contracts if they are relevant and presented as such, showing, essentially, a form of written evidence proving you provide services as a freelancer and get paid accordingly.

talinn skyline

How To Apply For Estonia's Digital Nomad Visa?

There are three accepted ways to apply for Estonia’s digital nomad visa:

  1. directly through an Estonian Representation that handles visa applications,
  2. directly at a Police and Border Guard office 
  3. at a VFS office, which has been delegated the right to handle digital nomad visa applications on behalf of the Estonian Government (can be found in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Ukraine).

If there is no VFS office or Estonian embassy, you can travel to the nearest Estonian Representation that handles visa applications or enter Estonia on a tourist visa and make your application at a local Police and Border Guard office here.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Gather your documents: Ensure you have all the necessary paperwork as outlined in the previous section. Double-check that everything is translated into English if needed (official translations may be required for some documents).
  2. Complete the online application form: The Estonian Police and Border Guard website provides the online application form. You make your selection for the relevant visa type here. Fill out the form accurately and truthfully, providing all the requested information.
  3. Submit your application and fees: Once you’ve completed the online form, submit it along with the required documents and pay the visa application fee (either €80 for a short-stay visa or €100 for a long-stay visa).
  4. Attend a visa interview (if required): In some cases, you may be required to attend an interview at the Estonian embassy or consulate in your home country. This is an opportunity for the authorities to verify your application and ask any questions they may have.
  5. Wait for a decision: Processing times can vary depending on your nationality and workload at the embassy or consulate. It typically takes around 30 days on average to receive a response. 

For a more detailed and up-to-date guide on the application process, I highly recommend visiting the official website of the Estonian Police and Border Guard.

Successful applicants will be notified when they need to visit an Estonian Embassy or Police and Border Guard office to verify their identity and pick up their digital nomad visa.

estonian island

Tax Implications for Digital Nomads in Estonia

Navigating taxes can be tricky, so consulting a tax advisor familiar with Estonian regulations is crucial. 

Bearing in mind that I am not a tax professional, in my experience digital nomads residing in Estonia under the Digital Nomad Visa are not subject to Estonian income tax on their foreign-sourced income provided that you are spending less than 180 consecutive days in the country. 

You’ll most likely be subject to tax requirements in your home country though so check with your local government to be sure you are staying on the right side of the law!

Work Restrictions or Limitations On The Estonia Digital Nomad Visa

The Estonia Digital Nomad Visa allows you to work legally in Estonia for a foreign employer or as a freelancer. 

You should fit under one of the following categories:

  • You work for an employer registered in a foreign country and you have a contract of work with that employer;
  • You conduct business activity for a company that is registered in a foreign country and of which you are a partner/shareholder; or
  • You offer freelance or consulting services mostly to clients or businesses located in a foreign country, and with whom you have contracts.

Unlike many other digital nomad visas, the Estonian visa does not categorically prevent you from taking on work with Estonian employers or clients. As long as your work for foreign companies and clients provides the majority of your income, you can also work for companies within Estonia. 

Need some inspiration for your next digital nomad job? Check out our blog post here for the best digital nomad jobs for 2024!

estonia skyline talinn

Pros & Cons Of Estonia Digital Nomad Visa

Advantages of the Estonia digital nomad visa

  • Live and work in a beautiful and vibrant country: Estonia offers a unique blend of historic charm, a thriving startup scene, and stunning natural landscapes.
  • Access to the Schengen Area: The visa allows you to travel freely within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Explore other European countries during your weekends or breaks!
  • Fast and efficient application process: The online application system is user-friendly, and processing times are generally quite fast.
  • E-Estonia: A digital nomad’s dream: Estonia is a world leader in digitalisation. With its e-Residency program and commitment to online services, Estonia makes life as a digital nomad incredibly convenient.
  • High Standard of Living: Estonia offers a high standard of living, with a strong emphasis on digital society and innovation.
  • Understanding of Digital Nomads: Unlike many other countries Estonia has a good understanding of the digital nomad lifestyle and has incorporated that into the visa application process, making caveats wherein formal work contracts cannot be supplied, and regular/routine income is not universally expected. 
  • Employment restrictions: No specific restrictions against working for Estonian businesses. 

Disadvantages of the Estonia digital nomad visa

  • Limited stay: The initial visa is valid for one year, with extensions requiring further application and not being guaranteed.
  • No Path to Residency: This visa does not lead to permanent residency or citizenship in Estonia.
  • Income requirements: The minimum income threshold can be a barrier for some applicants.

Living in Estonia as a Digital Nomad

Estonia is a great choice for digital nomads due to its highly developed infrastructure, and investment in technological and digital progression.

soomaa national park, estonia

Estonia average cost of living for a digital nomad

The cost of living in Estonia varies depending on your lifestyle choices. However, compared to other Western European countries, Estonia is generally considered affordable. Numbeo is a great resource to compare the cost of living in Tallinn with your current city:

  • Overall: Expect to spend around between €800 – €1,000 per month excluding rent for a single person.
  • Accommodation: Renting a one-bedroom apartment in Tallinn (the capital) can cost around €600-€800 monthly.
  • Food: Eating out is affordable, but groceries are reasonable too.
  • Transport: Public transport is cheap and efficient.

Digital Nomad Community In Estonia

Estonia has a thriving digital nomad community, and you’ll find plenty of co-working spaces, networking events, and online forums to connect with fellow remote workers.

Popular digital nomad locations in Estonia

Tallinn, the vibrant capital city, is a popular choice for digital nomads. It offers a mix of historical charm and modern amenities, with plenty of co-working spaces, cafes, and restaurants.

However, charming university towns like Tartu and Pärnu also offer a great work-life balance and a unique Estonian experience. 

These are my recommendations for must-see places you should visit when in Estonia:

  • Tallinn Old Town: Tallinn’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a must-see for any visitor to Estonia. The town is full of medieval architecture, cobbled streets, and charming cafes, great for plugging in and getting some solid work done. 
  • Saaremaa Island: Saaremaa is the largest island in Estonia and is known for its beautiful beaches, amazing nature, and impressive historical sites – check out the Kaali Meteorite Crater Field for example! 
  • Tartu: Tartu is Estonia’s second-largest city and is home to the country’s oldest university. The city has a vibrant student scene, good nightlife and plenty to see and do with a variety of museums and historical sites.
  • Parnu: Parnu is a popular beach resort town located on the coast of the Gulf of Riga. The town is known for its long sandy beaches, its beautiful promenade, and its lively nightlife.
  • Soomaa National Park: Not a city but still worth even a quick trip! This gorgeous national park is famous for its fifth season, spring floods, that turn the forests and meadows into an amazing, albeit temporary, wetland. You can canoe through the flooded forest, in between the trees and look out for some incredible wildlife.

Overview of coworking in Estonia

Estonia is known for its digital society and innovation, so it’s no surprise that it has a thriving co-working scene from trendy cafes with dedicated work areas to high-tech office spaces with all the bells and whistles. Spaces like Lift99 in Tallinn offer a great environment for digital nomads to work and connect with others.

These are some of my favourite co-working spaces in Estonia:

Tallinn (Capital):

  • Lift99: a vibrant community, social atmosphere and flexible workspace options.
  • Spring Hub: Offers a budget-friendly and social coworking environment.
  • Workland: Provides premium workspaces with a focus on professionalism and convenience.

Tartu (Second-largest city):

  • Garage48 HUB: Caters to digital nomads and remote workers, offering a collaborative atmosphere.

When looking for co-working spaces I like to use websites like Coworker to explore options and compare prices.

Tips For Cultural Adaptation For Digital Nomads

Adjusting to a new culture is an integral part of the digital nomad experience.

I think the best general top tips for cultural adaption, no matter where you are travelling are: 

  • Learn basic phrases.
  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Embrace the slower pace of life.
  • Connect with the local community.
  • Be open to new experiences.

As I have already mentioned, my number one tip when travelling is to try to learn some of the language – learning a few phrases in Estonian can also go a long way in making a good impression! 

Here are some other top tips for adapting to culture in Estonia: 

  • Embrace the slow pace of life: Estonia has a more relaxed pace of life compared to some other countries. Take this opportunity to unwind and disconnect from the hustle and bustle.
  • On the flip side – in Estonia, punctuality is valued and people tend to be quite direct in their communication. 
  • Sauna culture: Saunas are a deeply ingrained part of Estonian culture. 
  • Respect personal space: Estonians tend to value their personal space. Be mindful of this when interacting with locals, especially in public spaces.
Lift99 coworking hub for digital nomads in estonia

Brief Comparison With Other Digital Nomad Visas

Estonia’s program joins a growing list of Digital Nomad Visas worldwide, each with its own unique features and requirements. 

The Estonia digital nomad visa is a great choice thanks to the countries strong understanding of digital nomads and their lifestyles, plus the countries dedication to the tech scene.

Estonia is far from the only option however -here’s a quick comparison with other popular digital nomad visa destinations, allowing you to weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision based on your preferences and goals:

  • Portugal: Offers a lower minimum income threshold but requires proof of sufficient funds for your stay.
  • Spain: A relatively new program with a competitive application process.

Remember, the “best” Digital Nomad Visa depends on your individual needs and priorities. You should consider factors like cost of living, visa requirements, community vibes, and your lifestyle preferences when making your choice.

Conclusion

With its stunning landscapes, thriving startup scene, and commitment to digitalisation, Estonia offers a unique and enriching experience for digital nomads. Whether you’re a seasoned remote worker or just starting out, Estonia could be your perfect home base for exploring, working, and living life to the fullest.

This guide has hopefully equipped you with the knowledge and resources you need to embark on your Estonian digital nomad adventure. But remember, this is just the beginning! The world of digital nomadism is vast and ever-evolving. Keep exploring, researching different destinations and visa options, and most importantly, embrace the freedom and flexibility that this lifestyle offers.

If you’re still trying to decide on your next destination then why not check out our Thailand Digital Nomad Visa guide here, and our Spain Digital Nomad Guide here.

Let us know what else you want to know, and what country we should cover next by leaving a comment below! 

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