Unknown to many, Estonia was the first European country to offer visas for digital nomads. The Estonia digital nomad visa was first introduced in July 2020, allowing remote workers to live in Estonia for one year while working or doing business remotely.
Dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe for having five times more startups per capita, Estonia is a haven for digital nomads and freelancers who have the freedom to work anywhere. Surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, Estonia has one of the lowest population densities in Europe, with almost 50% of the country covered in forest. If you're a digital nomad who loves nature and dreams of living in a country where nature is never far away, you should consider moving to Estonia.
After decades of Soviet rule, Estonia aims to establish itself as a forward-thinking nation by introducing numerous digital reforms. One of these is creating policies that will make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to set up businesses in the country. To encourage more foreign individuals to do business in the country, the Estonia digital nomad visa was launched.
Indeed, Estonia is a great country to live in as a digital nomad. But, before making the move, it's worth knowing the requirements and process of applying for the Estonia digital nomad visa. So, here's everything you need to know.
About the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
The Estonia digital nomad visa was the first visa to have ever been launched in Europe. Introduced in July 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, when almost all countries are closing their borders, the digital nomad visa of Estonia was the first of its kind in the world.
The Estonia digital nomad visa will allow you to live in the country for one year while working remotely for a company based outside the country. While it will not give you the same benefits that Estonian citizenship can, it can serve as a building block toward a permanent residency should you decide to live in the country permanently.
If you are a citizen of a European Country or any of the countries within the European Economic Area, you don't need to apply for the digital nomad visa. You can stay in Estonia for up to three months visa-free. However, it's worth noting that it's technically illegal to work in any country as a tourist.
The Estonia digital nomad visa can be useful for digital nomads from countries outside of Europe who want to stay in Estonia longer. With this visa, you can stay in the country for a year and work remotely with the full approval of the authorities.
Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Eligibility
To apply for the digital nomad visa, you must meet any of the following conditions:
- At least 18 years old.
- You can work in Estonia remotely using any form of telecommunication technology.
- A partner, shareholder, or employer of a company based outside Estonia.
- Offer consultancy services to companies abroad and can submit a copy of a contract.
- Must show proof of being a digital nomad or freelancer.
- You are financially stable, earning at least €3,500 per month.
Documents to Submit When Applying for the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
After reviewing the eligibility of the Estonia digital nomad visa and ensuring you qualify for the visa, the next step is to prepare the following documents needed for the visa application.
- Valid passport – your passport has to remain valid for at least 3 months after its return date. It should still have 2 blank pages to it.
- Application form – get a copy of the application form online, print the hard copy, fill it out and sign. Make sure to fill out the form completely and provide the correct information. Any incorrect and false information could cause your visa application to get rejected.
- Bank statement – request a bank statement from your bank containing information about your bank details for the past six months. It should prove that you have enough income to finance yourself in Estonia.
- Work contract – provide proof of a valid work contract from your employer outside Estonia. You also need to include a letter from your employer stating that you are allowed to work remotely.
- Proof of accommodation – submit a document proving you have a place to stay while living in Estonia. It can be an invitation letter, hotel reservation, rental agreement, etc.
- Health insurance – you need valid health insurance with coverage for the entire Schengen area. It should have at least €30,000 of insurance coverage.
- Criminal record – a document proving you have no criminal records. You can get this document from the police in your home country.
- University degree – submit any certificate from your college studies, training certificate, and other certificates.
Applying for the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
Once you have all the documents needed for the Estonia digital nomad visa, it's time to submit your application. Here are the steps:
1. Schedule Your Appointment
Once you have gathered all the documents and filled out the application form, it's time to schedule your appointment. Call the nearest embassy or consulate of Estonia in the country you live. Request an appointment for the visa application. They usually have a website where you can get their contact information to request an appointment. In some countries, they will require you to book online.
2. Show-up on your Appointment
Make sure you show up on the day of your appointment. Bring all the documents mentioned above and prepare for an in-person interview. The staff from the embassy will ask you questions like the purpose of your visit and other details about your decision to move to Estonia as a digital nomad. Make sure that your answer corresponds with the details on your supporting documents.
After the interview, you will submit biometric information, which means the staff will ask for your fingerprints and digital photo. This step may no longer be required if you have visited a Schengen country in the past five years.
3. Wait for the Visa to be processed
After submitting your application for the Estonia digital nomad visa, all you have to do is wait for it to be processed. The processing time will vary, but it usually takes 15 to 30 days. If you applied from Estonia, the waiting time is shorter.
You will receive a notification regarding the result of your application, either through email, call, or regular mail. If your application is not approved, you have an option to appeal the decision.
4. Apply for an E-Residency Card
Once you have your Estonia digital nomad visa, you can enter Estonia with it. When you're already in the country, you must apply for an e-residency card.
The Estonian government will issue the e-residency card to all residents in the country, which gives the cardholder access to e-government services. It will also allow the holder to conduct business or work online while living in Estonia.
Living as a Digital Nomad in Estonia
Estonia is an attractive destination for digital nomads for many reasons. It's part of the European Union and the Schengen zone, which means living in Estonia allows you to travel easily to other EU countries.
In addition, Estonia has reliable internet and a welcoming working environment. You will have everything you need to set up a digital working environment in Estonia. Therefore, you won't have a hard time adjusting should you decide to base yourself in Estonia. There is also a growing community of digital nomads and plenty of coworking spaces where you can take up work and meet other digital nomads.
You can enjoy a healthy work-life balance while living as a digital nomad in Estonia. The country has the perfect landscape to pursue outdoor activities, making it a great place to live for those who love outdoor adventures. If you are not at work, you can find yourself hiking or camping in its lush forest. During winter, you can enjoy ice skating, skiing, and snowmobiling.
Tallinn, the country's capital city, is a great base for digital nomads in Estonia. And although it's home to some of the world's best-preserved medieval towns, it has modern facilities and excellent infrastructures. Public transportation is cheap and efficient, making it easier to go around the city.
While the cost of living in Tallinn is a bit on the higher side, there are many reasonably-priced accommodations within the city centre. The average cost to rent a studio apartment in the centre of Tallinn is $902 per month, which is cheaper than in many other European countries. Furthermore, the locals are welcoming, and English is widely spoken, especially in Tallinn.
FAQs on the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
How Much Will the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Cost?
Applying for Estonia digital nomad visa will cost you 60 euros. You will pay for this when you visit the embassy to apply for the visa.
How Long Can You Stay in Estonia Using the Digital Nomad Visa?
The Estonia digital nomad visa will let you stay in the country for up to 12 months or one year.
Can You Extend the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa?
Unfortunately, you cannot apply for an extension once the digital nomad visa expires. However, you can apply for another visa once the validity of your Estonia digital nomad visa is over. It's also worth noting that you are not allowed to stay in Estonia for more than a year and a half. You must leave after living in the country for 18 months.
Can I Enter Other Schengen Countries Using the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa?
Having the Estonia digital nomad visa means you are a legal resident of the country. As a resident of Estonia, you are allowed to visit other Schengen member countries. However, you can only stay in the country for up to ninety days within the 180-day period.
More European Countries With A Digital Nomad Visa
Besides Estonia there are more countries in Europe that have implemented a digital nomad visa like Portugal, Latvia, Iceland, Malta, Cyprus, Romania, Spain, Croatia and many more for a full list check out this article: