Did you know that Estonia was the first country in the world to offer a digital nomad visa? This visa is an absolute game-changer for those looking to explore this gorgeous country in the Schengen Zone. So, if you’re eager to swap your gray cubicle for the colorful streets of Tallinn, here’s your ultimate guide on everything you need to know about the Estonia digital nomad visa!
Does Estonia Have a Digital Nomad Visa?
Estonia does have a digital nomad visa. In fact, Estonia was the first country in the world to launch a specific visa for remote workers. In July 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic’s first year, the Estonian government announced an innovative visa specifically for digital nomads. Here are a few key takeaways from the Estonia digital nomad visa:
- The visa is valid for up to 1 year.
- You can apply for an additional visa that allows you to stay for 6 months.
- The visa costs between €80 and €100 depending on how long you plan to stay.
- There are two types of visas for remote workers in Estonia: Type C (short stay visa) and Type D (long stay).
- You must make at least €4,500 per month in order to qualify for the visa.
- You cannot apply for the visa if you are an EU/EEA citizen or work for a company based in Estonia.
Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
A great place for digital nomads, Estonia is a tech paradise with amazing infrastructure. In fact, Estonia is one of the most digitally advanced countries on the globe; they were one of the first countries to introduce online voting in 2005!
Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
- You must have a minimum monthly income of €4,500.
- You must have a location-independent business or work remotely for a company located outside of Estonia.
- You should be able to do your work using telecommunications technology, such as wifi and a laptop.
- Your passport should have at least two blank pages and at least 3 months of validity after the visa expiry date.
- You must have health insurance covering you for the entire time you plan to stay in Estonia. The Insurance must cover at least €30,000 and be valid in the EU as a whole.
Who Can Apply for the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa?
Any remote worker who is not an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen can apply for the Estonia digital nomad visa. Do you work online and make at least €4,500 per month? Congrats! You qualify for this digital nomad visa!
Documents Needed to Apply for the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
You’ll need to prepare some documents for your application for this visa. Here is everything you should have ready.
- A valid passport with at least 3 months of validity after the visa expires. So, if the visa expires in 12 months, it should be valid for at least 15 more months.
- A completed Estonia DNV application form.
- Proof that your company or employer is not based in Estonia. This can be in the form of pay slips, an employment contract, bank statements, or a business ownership certificate.
- Proof of financial means. This should be a bank statement from at least the last 6 months that proves you have enough funds to support yourself in Estonia.
- A criminal background check issued by your home country or country of residence.
- Accommodation proof. This can be a rental agreement, Airbnb booking, or letter of invitation.
- Proof of health insurance with at least €30,000 and be valid in the EU as a whole.
Estonia Type C Visa vs Type D Visa
|90 days (out of 180 days)
How to Apply for the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
Applying for the type C and type D visas is essentially the same process. The type C digital nomad visa allows you to live and work in Estonia for 90 days out of 180 days. But isn’t that the same as the standard Schengen visa, you might ask? The only difference between the two is that the type C digital nomad visa allows you to work remotely; technically, you cannot work remotely from a standard Schengen visa.
The type D visa, on the other hand, allows you to work and live in Estonia for up to 12 months; it is the long stay digital nomad visa option.
Here is a walkthrough of how to apply for both visas.
Step One: Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
First, you’ll want to ensure you meet all the requirements for the digital nomad visa. The last thing you want is to go through the effort of applying only to find out that you don’t qualify!
Step Two: Gather the Necessary Documents
Time to get organized! While this isn’t the most complicated visa in the world, you still should make sure you have all the documents prepared. Before making an appointment for the application, double and triple-check that you have everything you need.
Step Three: Fill Out Your Application
You can find the online application here. Make sure to click on the “Schengen Visa” section if you plan to apply for the type C “short stay” visa for digital nomads. If you want to stay in Estonia for longer than 90 days, go for the type D “long stay” visa. The visa application will have you fill out some personal information as well as information on your plans for visiting Estonia.
Step Four: Make an Appointment with the Consulate
Once you have completed your application, you must schedule an appointment with the nearest Estonian embassy. Depending on your location, there may be a bit of a backlog for appointments. In some cases, you’ll have to wait up to a month for a visa appointment.
Keep in mind that there are a limited number of foreign consulates that handle visa applications. You can find a list of the consulates that offer these services on the Estonia Ministry of Affairs website.
Step Five: Submit Your Application and Pay Processing Fees
Next, submit your application to an immigration officer at the Estonian embassy. You are required to come to the appointment in person. The officer will generally go over your application and take a look at your supporting documents. Additionally, they will ask you some questions about your remote work and your plans for your visit to Estonia. As long as you have all the required documentation, you should be good to go. That said, the immigration official may ask you to provide additional information to back up your application.
You will also pay your visa processing fee at this point.
Step Six: Wait for Your Decision
Once the application is lodged, you’ll need to wait for the Estonian government to confirm your digital nomad visa. Generally, it should be processed within 30 days. If you still have not heard back from the embassy after 30 days, give them a call and ask for an update on your application.
Step Seven: Travel to Estonia
Once you have gotten a confirmation that your visa has been approved, congratulations! You are one step closer to living your digital nomad dream in Estonia! All that is left to do is travel to Estonia and start setting up your life there!
What If You Are Already in Estonia?
The above step-by-step is a guide on applying for a visa while abroad, but you can also apply for the Estonia digital nomad visa in Estonia. If you are already in Estonia, you can apply for the visa at a Police and Border Guard Board office. You’ll need to fill out the same application as you would if you applied for the visa abroad and then book an appointment with the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board office.
Extending the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
Unfortunately, you cannot extend your type C or type D digital nomad visas. That said, you can apply for a new visa once your current one expires. If you only applied for the type C visa, you can apply for the type D visa and stay for up to 12 months more. If your type D visa is expiring, you can apply for a new one, but you can only stay for 6 months more. So, the maximum you can stay in Estonia on a digital nomad visa is a year and a half.
Cost of Estonia Digital Nomad Visa
Depending on the type of visa you apply for in Estonia, you will either pay €80 or €100. These fees are all non-refundable and must be paid before you arrive in the country.
The type C short term digital nomad visa costs €80.
The type D long term visa costs €100.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Digital Nomad Visa in Estonia?
As mentioned above, the Estonia digital nomad visa will generally take a maximum of 30 days to process, though it often takes just 10 to 15 days. Estonia is a pretty tech-savvy and digitalized country, so the visa systems are streamlined and simple. This is relieving, especially if you have experience with the bureaucracy of Southern European visa systems. For example, the Spain digital nomad visa can take more than 3 months in some cases!
Alternatives to the Digital Nomad Visa in Estonia
If you don’t qualify for the Estonia digital nomad visa or if you have already used up your year and a half, don’t worry! There is still a way to live and work in Estonia!
Estonia Investment/Business Visa
The main alternative for digital nomads in Estonia is the investment/business visa. This visa grants you Estonian residency if you make an investment in the country. There are two types of Estonia investment visas: the major investment visa and the general investment visa. Both of these visas are a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship. However, keep in mind that Estonia does not recognize dual citizenship, so you must renounce your current citizenship before gaining Estonian citizenship.
General Investment Visa
Many digital nomads who plan to stay in Estonia after their digital nomad visa apply for a general investment visa. This is closer to a business or self-employment visa than an investment visa. The general investment visa is directed toward small business owners looking to start a company in Estonia. You must be directly involved with the company and physically present in Estonia to qualify for this visa. You can either make a €16,000 investment into your own company in Estonia or a €65,000 investment into another Estonian company. This visa also requires a business plan and proof that you are involved in the business.
Major Investment Visa
This visa is for “big money ballers.” To qualify for this visa, you must invest at least €1,000,000 into an Estonian company or investment fund. You don’t need to have a business plan for this visa, but the amount must directly impact the Estonian economy. Unlike the general investment visa, you don’t need to be directly involved with the business either.
Digital Nomad Visa in Estonia for EU Citizens
If you’re a citizen of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you can’t apply for the Estonia digital nomad visa. Why? Because you don’t need a visa to live and work in Estonia! If you want to set up base here, all you need to do is buy a plane ticket. If you stay fewer than 90 days, you can simply show up. However, if you are staying longer than 90 days, you’ll need to register your presence with the proper Estonian authorities. You can find more information here.
Can You Live in Estonia as a Digital Nomad on a Tourist Visa?
Many digital nomads live and work remotely in countries around the world on tourist visas. But what you may not know is that this is actually illegal in most places, including Estonia.
As a part of the Schengen Zone, Estonia offers visa-free tourist travel to citizens of more than 60 countries. The Schengen area encompasses 27 countries, and many foreign nationals can enter for 90 days out of any 180-day period.
While many digital nomads do live in the Schengen zone on a tourist visa, you should technically get a digital nomad visa, even if you plan to stay for fewer than 90 days.
A tourist visa is for tourism only. So, if you are going to Estonia and plan on working online, you’ll need a visa that allows you to do so. Do the Estonian authorities police this? Not really, but you should always respect the law when visiting other countries.
Tax Requirements for Digital Nomads in Estonia
Now for everyone’s favorite part: taxes. Taxes are generally the most confusing and frustrating part of being a digital nomad, so it really helps when a country lessens the burden.
The good news? You won’t be obligated to pay taxes in Estonia if you stay for less than 183 days. So, you’ll simply pay taxes in your home country, and the Estonian government won’t ask you for any payments.
If you stay in Estonia for longer than 183 days, however, you will be considered a tax resident and will need to pay taxes. But it’s not all bad news! Estonia has a relatively low tax percentage, and it is easy to calculate how much you’ll pay, so no surprises! All citizens and foreigners living in Estonia must pay a flat 20% tax rate. Additionally, Estonia has double tax agreements with many countries to help prevent foreigners from paying double tax, so you will likely be able to further reduce your tax obligation.
Is Estonia a Good Place for Digital Nomads?
As the first country to officially put a digital nomad visa in place, Estonia is an amazing country for remote workers. The small Baltic nation welcomes digital nomads with open arms. Here are some pros and cons of living in Estonia.
|Digital society. As mentioned, Estonia is a very digital society that is ahead of the curve. Things like voting, immigration, taxes, and more can all be done online. Additionally, wifi speeds are high, and the remote work infrastructure is immense.
|Extremely cold winters. Estonia is located very far north. In fact, Tallinn is the most northern capital city after Reykjavik, Helsinki, and Oslo. This means that the winters are brutal, with temperatures dropping well below freezing for several months. Additionally, the days are short in the winter, with as few as 6 hours of light!
|Low cost of living. Estonia is relatively inexpensive, and you can get a lot more bang for your buck here than in Western Europe or the USA.
|No pathway to residency. Unfortunately, the digital nomad visa does not offer a pathway to residency, so if you want to stay longer than 1.5 years, you will have to apply for other visas.
|Healthy country. Estonia has some of the cleanest air in the world and is considered a very healthy place to live.
|Tough language barrier. Estonian is the most difficult European language for English speakers to learn and the fifth hardest language in the world!
|Lots of English speakers. Luckily, while Estonian is SUPER hard to learn, many people in the country speak English fluently. In fact, more than 80% of Estonians under 30 can speak English.
|Not very diverse. Unfortunately, Estonia lacks a bit in terms of diversity. If you are expecting to find a melting pot of cultures, think again!
Best Places to Live in Estonia for Digital Nomads
Not every place in Estonia is a digital nomad haven. While you can set up shop wherever you want in the country, these four places in Estonia will be your best bet in terms of digital nomad infrastructure and social life!
Of course, the capital city of Estonia is a must-have in any list of the best places to live in Estonia as a digital nomad. In fact, most digital nomads that come to Estonia live in Tallinn. Why? Well, Tallinn is a cultural and commercial hub in Estonia – plus a major tourist destination. It is also by far the largest city in the nation, with around 500,000 inhabitants.
The city is a beautiful mix between medieval and modern. In Tallinn, you’ll be surrounded by history, and the 20 observation towers make for a great view of the city and the Baltic Sea. A huge advantage of living in Tallinn is the public transportation system. Have we mentioned that it’s free? Plus, there are plenty of cultural and sports events to keep you occupied during your stint here.
Another popular city amongst digital nomads in Estonia is Tartu. Hosting one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe, Tartu has a fun, youthful vibe, making it a perfect destination for digital nomads in their 20s in particular. While the city is much smaller than Tallinn, there are still plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars to keep you occupied. Just like Tallinn, this city boasts a rich history and some gorgeous architecture. And these historic buildings are set up against a backdrop of nature, including hills and lakes! One of the biggest draws of living in Tartu is its much lower cost of living compared to Tallinn. The efficient public transportation system is a huge plus, too!
If you want to live by the sea, consider Parnu! Located in the southwest of Estonia, this city boasts a resort vibe and is a popular summer holiday destination for Europeans. Due to its popularity, it boasts a lot of modern facilities, perfect for digital nomads who like to relax, including world-class spas and cocktail bars. Another gorgeous medieval city, this city is particularly famous for its bathhouses, which are a great attraction come the wintertime. So, you’ll have plenty to do all year round! The golden beaches and green parks are a big draw to this city as well. Parnu has a much lower cost of living than Tallinn – perfect for beach-loving digital nomads on a budget.
If you want to live somewhere smaller than a city, Haapsalu is an excellent choice. This city is located right by the sea. Famous for its healing seawater and mud bath houses, Happsalu is the place to go if you want to relax. And yes, this means the town has an excellent spa culture, perfect for remote workers who want to prioritize their well-being. While much smaller than the cities, Haapsalu still boasts plenty of restaurants and festivals to keep you occupied. There are many historical sites you can visit in the area as well. The cost of living is much lower in Haapsalu, but keep in mind that you may struggle to find English speakers here!
Cost of Living in Estonia for Digital Nomads
Estonia has a more affordable cost of living than other major European digital nomad destinations. But around how much should you budget to live here? One of the biggest costs you’ll have to consider when living anywhere is accommodation. However, how much you pay in terms of rent can really vary depending on where you decide to live. For example, in Tallinn, arguably the most expensive place to live in the country, a one-bedroom apartment may cost between €500 to €800 a month. On the other hand, in Parnu, the same would cost €350 to €500.
Another major cost of living consideration is food. In fact, Estonia has recently been battling with crazy high food prices, so expect to spend more than you would think! But as a general rule, if you budget around €250 to €300 a month on groceries, you should be set. And if you want to treat yourself to an occasional lunch out, you’ll spend anywhere between €6 and €20. A dinner, on the other hand, will cost anywhere between €20 and €40 per person.
Healthcare in Estonia for Digital Nomads
If you are living in Estonia on the type C digital nomad visa, you can legally stay in the country for up to 1.5 years, but you are not actually a resident. This means you are not eligible to register for the state health insurance system, also called the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF). But when applying for the digital nomad visa in Estonia, you have to provide proof of health insurance, so worst comes to worst, you should be covered in the country. Check out our list of the best digital nomad insurance options!
With that said, here’s the good news: in some cases, you will still be covered for healthcare in Estonia by the State. Namely, you will be covered in cases of emergency. Ambulances are also free, and most healthcare procedures are relatively affordable.
Best Coworking Spaces in Estonia
It’s important to have a good workspace at home, but every now and then, you may want to work in a coworking space instead. If you’re not sure where to go, here are some of the best coworking spaces in Estonia that you should check out:
- Lift99 (Tallinn) – €25 per day or €225 per month. Located in a hip area, the space boasts 24/7 access, meeting rooms, fast wifi, and kitchen.
- Spring Hub (Tallinn) – €20 per day, €80 per 5 days, €150 per 10 days, or €190 per month for hot desking. Good wifi, sauna, coffee, printing, meeting rooms, and community events.
- Mobispace (Tartu) – €25 per day for hot desking or €250 per month for a fixed desk. Offers 24/7 access, wifi, coffee/tea, meeting rooms, games, kitchen, sauna, and shower.
- Forwardspace (Parnu) – €15 per day or €150 per month for hot desking; €200 per month for a fixed desk. Features include 24/7 entrance (for monthly memberships), coffee/tea, strong wifi, events, and meeting rooms.
How to Find a Place to Live in Estonia
Once you have your Estonia digital nomad visa on hand, you can start working on your move to the country. One of the first things you’ll need to figure out, whether before you arrive or just afterward, is finding a place to live. Finding accommodation in a new country can be a daunting task, but don’t worry. This guide is for you! But before we jump into the nitty gritty of where to find accommodation, let’s first break down what to look for.
What makes a great accommodation for digital nomads?
- Fast internet: Internet is an absolute must for any digital nomad. While not all accommodations will have wifi included, if it’s part of the package, you’ll need to ensure that the internet is fast enough to handle your workload.
- Workspace: While a studio may be much cheaper than a one-bedroom apartment, sleeping and working in the same space is not really ideal. So, at the very least, try to find a place that gives you a separate working area from your relaxation area. Even better if you can find a place with an office nook of some sort!
- Good location: Our advice: don’t bring a car to Estonia. Especially if you’re in Tallinn, you can instead take advantage of the extensive public transportation system. This means if you’re finding a place to stay, you’re going to want to find an apartment that is easily accessible. Beyond public transportation access, find a place surrounded by everything you need, including cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets – maybe even a coworking space if that’s up your alley!
Where to Find Apartments in Estonia?
So, now that you know what to look for, it’s time to get searching for an apartment in Estonia! There are many different methods to find apartments, ranging from digital nomad rental listing sites to Facebook groups, so we’ll go over each of these methods below.
Rental Listing Sites in Estonia
Of course, one of the first places you should look is a rental listing site. Below are the three main sites you should peruse for accommodation in Estonia:
Join Facebook Groups
Facebook may be slowly aging out, but it is still a fantastic resource when it comes to looking for accommodation in a certain place. The best place to start would be Facebook groups, which we’ll list below, but you can check out Facebook Marketplace in that area, too.
- Üürikorterid (ILMA MAAKLERITA) (Apartments for rent (WITHOUT BROKER))
- Üürikorterid OTSE OMANIKULT (Apartments for rent DIRECTLY FROM THE OWNER)
- Üürikorterid OTSE OMANIKULT Tallinnas/Harjumaal (Apartments for rent DIRECTLY FROM THE OWNER in Tallinn/Harjumaa)
- Üürikorterid OTSE OMANIKULT Tartus/Tartumaal (Apartments for rent DIRECTLY FROM THE OWNER in Tartu/Tartumaa)
Travel Accommodation Sites
Finding accommodation in Estonia should not be too hard, as there are plenty of options out there on both rental sites and Facebook. However, if you still cannot find any accommodation or you’re simply looking for a place to stay while you figure out more permanent accommodation, travel accommodation sites can be a good option. While we do not generally recommend travel accommodation sites for ethical reasons (click here for more on this), these sites can definitely come in handy!
Estonia, Here We Come!
So, what are you waiting for? Apply for the Estonia digital nomad visa! Estonia’s digital nomad visa is your backstage pass to Europe, where your office is wherever you want it to be. I mean, just imagine clicking away at your laptop in a cozy Tallinn café, exploring the wonders of Estonian forests during your lunch break, and then wrapping up the day with a digital stroll through the medieval streets! Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?