The easiest way to explain the options, we categorise the students according to their duration of studies in Estonia. 1) All non EU/EEA degree seeking students or visiting students studying in Estonia more than 6 months, need a residence permit (hereinafter TRP, see below).2) All students, either degree or visiting, whose study period in Estonia is up to six months, can use D-visa to enter and study in Estonia (see below).
Additionally, there are some countries the citizens of which can enter Estonia visa free. Thus, all students, either degree or visiting, whose study period in Estonia is up to 3 months and who are the citizens of the countries listed in the blue box below, can enter Estonia without a visa or residence permit.
Albania*, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macao Special Administrative Region, Macedonia*, Malaysia, Marshall islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova*, Monaco, Montenegro*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia*, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, St Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, Taiwan**, Tonga, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Urugay, Vanuatu, Venezuela.
* Only for the biometrical passport holders ** Passports issued by Taiwan which include an identity card number
The citizens of above-mentioned countries can enter the Schengen area visa-free for the maximum period of 90 days in any 180 days period.
This means that the students from these countries have the right to enter the Schengen area visa-free, but as the study period is usually longer than 90 days, the University of Tartu strongly recommends applying for D-visa or temporary residence permit at the nearest Estonian embassy and entering Estonia either with visa or residence permit. Thus, the students having their study period longer than three months are not advised to enter Estonia visa free, as it is not in accordance with the laws and regulations of visa-free travelling and it may cause problems when reaching the first Schengen area country.
If you have more than 3 months before your planned arrival in Estonia, apply for the Estonian TRP at an Estonian representation of your home country or at the nearest Estonian representation. Please check the Estonian embassies and representations.If you have less than 3 months left before entering Estonia, there is a possibility to make the process faster: - master and PhD level students can apply for a visa and can enter Estonia without having applied for the TRP yet, however if the period from receiving the admission letter until the start of academic year is shorter than 3 months, we strongly recommend applying for both D-visa and TRP simultaneously. The visa is typically granted within two weeks. There are two main types of visa which could be applied for: D (long stay – 6 months) visa and C (short stay – 3 months) visa, the application procedure is described below. Please read the visa application guidelines carefully, since there are limitations one needs to know. Due to these limitations, the UT advises that all degree seeking students intending to enter Estonia with a visa, would at the same time apply for the TRP. Students can get their TRP in Estonia, yet the application process should be started abroad;
The following documents must be submitted when applying for the TRP in Estonia or at Estonian representation abroad:
1. Application forms
2. A document which certifies your legal income or that of your family members who support you financially. The document must show the amount, regularity and sources of the income during the six months before the submission of the residence permit application. If you get a stipend during your studies in Estonia, the proof of scholarship can be used to prove income. If the UT pays the scholarship, the document was sent to you with the admission letter.
3. Copy of an insurance contract guaranteeing that any costs related to medical treatment as a result of illness or injury during the period of validity of the residence permit applied for will be met. NB! Sign the copy of the insurance contract and the conditions of your insurance (summary of cover). For additional information with a list of providers accepted by the Police and Border Guard Board: http://www.ut.ee/en/welcome/health-insurance-0
4. A letter of guarantee (only if applying abroad) confirming that in case the existing insurance is not valid in Estonia, you will purchase a valid health insurance contract from Estonia. Note that if you apply for the permit in Estonia, the letter of guarantee is not acceptable and you need to submit the insurance contract with a provider accepted by the Police and Border Guard Board right away!
5. A document certifying the payment of the state fee
6. An identity document. Make sure the document is valid for at least 3 months after your intended period of stay.
7. A colour photograph sized 40x50 mm (it is possible to take a photo free of charge in Tartu Migration Bureau).
The above listed documents also apply for the extension of the TRP. Please note that extension of TRP can be applied only in Estonia! If you need to extend your TRP, you have to apply at least 2 months before the expiry of an existing TRP. To get the confirmation from the university required for the extension, send an email to your coordinator at the ISS in advance, indicating your full name and the date of expiry of your current residence card. Coordinator will send the confirmation directly to Police and Border Guard Board.
If you are planning to leave Estonia for some time (for holidays, for student exchange), make sure your Estonian residence card does not expire while you are abroad. You can apply for the extension of your Estonian resident permit well in advance, so that you could receive your new (extended) residence card before you leave Estonia. A residence card shall be issued to the applicant in person within 30 days.
There is also a possibility to pick up the residence card at the foreign representation of the Republic of Estonia or at the Service Office stated on the application form. Arrival of the residence card in a foreign representation may take more time.
Residence permits for studies (TRP) for full-time students only!
International degree students must fulfil the study programme at full capacity when applying for the TRP for the first time (i.e. they must be matriculated for full-time studies), extending the TRP, and applying for a new TRP, i.e. between study years.
If an international student fails to fulfil the requirements of full-time studies, the TRP is revoked. The UT is obligated to inform the Police and Border Guard Board of transferring an international student to part-time studies within two weeks' time from the day the decision of transferring was taken.
The difference between full-time and part-time studies here is described here:http://www.ut.ee/en/completion-curriculum
NB! To have the right to hold the Estonian TRP for study, one must take courses for at least 22.5 ECTS per semester, otherwise the TRP will be cancelled.The standard study load is 30 ECTS per semester.*
*Applies only to degree-seeking students!
Students who study in Estonia for up to six months (one semester) can apply for the long-stay (D) visa instead of the temporary residence permit (TRP) for study. Degree seeking students coming to Estonia with D visa and staying in Estonia longer than 6 months are required to start applying for the residence permit immediately after arriving to Estonia, regardless of the fact that they have D visa.
NB! It is not possible to extend D-visa. Students who stay for longer than six months must apply for the Estonian TRP. For more information, please see section "The list of documents to be submitted for TRP".
D-visa may be issued for single or multiple entries into Estonia. If you plan to travel during your study period, you should apply for the visa with multiple entries. D-visa enables to travel in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in a six-months period.
D-visa holders do not need to register themselves in the Population Register Office in Tartu or apply for the residence permit.
D-visa can be applied in person only at the Estonian embassies.
If the period from receiving the admission letter until the start of academic year is shorter than 3 months, we strongly recommend applying for both D-visa and TRP simultaneously. The visa is typically granted within two weeks. See "Residence permit for study".
1. valid travel document which is issued within previous 10 years, contains at least two blank pages for visa and is valid at least 3 months after the expiration date of the visa;
2. application form (provided by the embassy or from the following webpage: Ministry of Foreign Affairs);
3. one photo (size 35x45 mm);
4. an insurance policy valid for Estonia or for the Schengen area with coverage of at least 30 000 EUR for the entire duration of stay;
5.documents indicating the purpose of journey: UT admission letter;
6. any information which supports the applicant's intention to leave the Schengen area before the expiry of the visa;
7. documents proving the sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to the country of origin or residence (86 € for each day in Estonia): i.e. your scholarship proof or bank statement. In case UT pays you a stipend then a proof of receiving a fixed income, while studying in Estonia, is enclosed in the admission package;
8. a visa fee 80 €
More information: http://vm.ee/en/long-stay-d-visa
NB! Please pay attention when filling in the application that the duration of your intended stay (counted in days) would cover your whole study period. After you have received the visa, you should check if the duration of stay (number of days you are allowed to be in Schengen area) covers your study period. If not, you will later need to apply for the temporary residence permit for study.
If you should have any problems concerning your rights as a D-visa holder, please contact the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Police and Border Guard Board immediately.
Additional information from the web-page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This information applies to the students enrolled as of the academic year 2013/2014.If an international student takes an academic leave for reasons that prevent him or her from studying, pursuant to the Universities Act, the university is obligated to inform the Police and Border Guard Board thereof and the TRP is revoked. After the end of the academic leave, the person may again apply for a TRP. If an international student is employed during an academic leave, he or she must apply for a residence permit for employment in a timely manner in order to continue working.
UT rules on academic leave, applicable to the students enrolled as of 2013/2014, are described here: http://www.ut.ee/en/studies/study-regulations/academic-leave.
A residence permit grants the right to work
From 01.09.2013, international students who have the TRP for studies may work in Estonia without a separate permit, as long as their work does not interfere with their studies. No evidence for working while studying needs to be submitted to the Police and Border Guard Board. If an employed international student takes an academic leave, he or she must apply for a residence permit for employment.
Extending a residence permit for post-study period during the last year of study
Upon an international student's request, the PBGB extends his or her residence permit during the last year of study for up to 6 months after the end of studies. If the UT does not wish for the international student's residence permit to be extended beyond the period of studies, the Police and Border Guard Board must be notified thereof.
NB! UT will perform the statutory duties of a sponsor even after the international student has finished his or her studies (i.e. for up to 6 months). Accordingly, in case a last-year international student applies for an extension of his or her residence permit, the International Student Service may consult programme managers and supervisors to determine whether:
a) the international student is likely to graduate;
b) seeking a job in Estonia seems justified (there has been an expression of interest).
Spouses of master or doctoral level international students may apply for a residence permit to live in Estonia. For that purpose, evidence must be given for the presence of legal earnings per family member. For minimum rates, see webpage of Police and Border Guard Board.