New info for the students processing their documentation in Estonia!
Please reserve an appointment time at the Police and Border Guard Board, either online or by phone! More information is here.
All students without EU/EEA or Swiss citizenship need a visa and/or or temporary residence permit (TRP) in order to study in Estonia. There are a limited number of Estonian embassies that handle visa or residence permit applications across the world. All students applying for visas/residence permits need to consider that they must physically visit an Estonian embassy either in their home country or abroad. Those who need to go abroad or travel to a different city, please consider that travelling requires additional time and financial resources and plan accordingly so that your arrival in Estonia is not delayed. The countries with Estonian embassies that handle visa/residence permit applications include China, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Australia, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, USA, Georgia, Israel, Canada, India, Japan and some EU countries – Ireland, Finland, Great Britain, France, Latvia and Sweden.
What document(s) do I need to study in Estonia?
The easiest way to explain the options is to categorize students according to their purpose and the duration of their studies in Estonia. Please remember, however, that these four are generalized categories. Differences may apply to certain programmes, individuals or study levels. Thus, please always follow the exact guidelines given to you by UT staff.
Albania*, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominica, El Salvador, Georgia, 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, Uruguay, Ukraine*, Vanuatu, Venezuela. * Only for the biometrical passport holders ** Passports issued by Taiwan which include an identity card number
Even if you are a citizen of one of the countries in the above list, if you plan to study in Estonia for more than 90 days, the University of Tartu strongly recommends applying for a D-visa at the nearest Estonian embassy and entering Estonia either with a visa or a residence permit. Entering the Schengen zone to study for a period of longer than 90 days is not in accordance with the laws and regulations of visa-free travelling and it may cause problems when you reach the first Schengen area country. NB! The University of Tartu is not liable for any fines or fees that you may incur if you enter the Schengen area without a valid D-visa or residence permit.
Please also see FAQ about visa-free entry here.
TRP is only for degree-seeking students, not for exchange/visiting students.
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 list of the Estonian embassies and representations where the TRP application can be submitted at the beginning of the page. The list of documents to be submitted is given below. Please note that it may take up to three months from the date of applying until receiving TRP. Personal presence is required while lodging the TRP application.
If you have less than 3 months left before entering Estonia, we strongly recommend applying for both D-visa and TRP simultaneously. The visa is typically granted within 10 days (though the maximum process period by law is 30 days). Please see the visa and TRP application documents below. Once you have the visa, you can enter Estonia and get your TRP issued in Estonia. Applying for both concurrently enables you to collect the TRP in Estonia quite at the beginning of your studies. Please note that having TRP is required for several stipends, such as PhD study allowance etc. Further information see here.
The TRP can be applied for in person only at Estonian embassies abroad or in Estonia at the Police and Border Guard Board.
Students who have entered Estonia with a visa or used their visa-free access (view the blue box above for the risks associated with entering without a valid visa) may apply for the TRP after arriving to Estonia. The application process is the same regardless of the place of application. As of April 2017, the TRP is granted for the entire nominal study period (3 years for bachelor students, 2 years for master's students, etc.).
Students holding a TRP for study can be employed in Estonia without a separate employment permit, provided that the employment will not interfere with their studies.
In brief, D-visas are typically granted within ten days, while the TRP application process (from submission of documents to receipt of the permit) may take up to three months.
The following documents must be submitted when applying for the TRP in Estonia or at Estonian representation abroad. Below ( at the end of the documents' list) there is some additional information for the UT students extending their TRP.
1. Application forms
Please note that one of the documents listed on the Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB) website is titled an invitation by educational insitution. This will be provided by UT directly to the PBGB, thus you are not required to ask UT to provide you that document while you are applying for a TRP. Students who are extending their existing TRPs must inform UT of the extension.
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. Please note that the legal income per person must be at least 280 euros per month. However, this sum does not cover your monthly living expenses in Estonia.
Check the PBGB website on legal income to find out which type of income is suitable. The easiest way to prove legal income is with a bank statement. The students can use either their own or parents' bank statement. The latter should not be used if the parents' do not support you during the studies in Estonia. If you receive or will be receiving a scholarship during your studies in Estonia, the proof of scholarship can be used to prove legal income. If UT pays the scholarship, the relevant document, if possible, is provided along with the admission letter. NB! You do not have to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds for the entire study period, but rather provide evidence that you or your parents have earned legal regular income within the last six months. Read more on real living expences in Estonia here.
As stated on the PBGB website, by signing the application form (including the TRP extension application form) you confirm that you have sufficient legal income and do not need to submit proof of having legal income. Since the PBGB may ask for the relevant proof at their own discretion, we suggest having it ready and submitting it together with the TRP application/TRP extension application.
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 TRP applied for will be met. NB! Sign the copy of the insurance contract and the conditions of your insurance (summary of coverage). For additional information and the companies acceptable for medical coverage see here. Insurance can be purchased for a year, yet a student needs to make sure that he/she has continuous health insurance coverage throughout the validity period of the TRP. As stated on the PBGB website, by signing the application form (including TRP extension application form) you confirm having required health insurance. Since everyone must have health insurance, we suggest having it ready and submitting together with the TRP application/TRP extension application (except in the cases explained under item 4).
Degree-seeking PhD students do not need to purchase medical insurance for their studies in Estonia, as they are covered with the Estonian national health insurance (Haigekassa) as soon as thery have their TRP. Still, for travelling to Estonia and for the first months before you receive your TRP, please have appropriate insurance coverage.
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 PBGB 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 at the Tartu Migration Bureau while submitting your documents).
There are also guidelines for accurate submission of an TRP application, please see here.
UT students who extend their TRP
1. UT needs to send a TRP invitation to the PBGB. So, once you start with the extension process, please fill in a form here. If there are any questions after filling the form, please send an e-mail to studentvisasupport [ät] ut.ee
2. Please be aware that the extension of TRP can also be done electronically provided that you use digital signing and follow the technical requirements listed here. As for the documents needed for TRP extension, please follow the list given above.
Please note that the students who need to extend their TRP considerably earlier than regulated by law (two months prior the expiry of the TRP) need to provide some evidence to explain the need for initiating extension process earlier than foreseen by law. For example, the ones who take up either studies or internship/traineeship abroad, please provide the PBGB with admissions’ notification or any other proof issued by a particular hosting institution and confirming your stay abroad. If there are other reasons, please provide written explanation to make the processing easier for the PBGB.
If needed, please discuss with the PBGB whether the extended TRP can be picked up in any other Estonian embassy aboard, if this suits better with your travelling plans.
Registration of residence means that the data about a person’s place of residence is entered into the Population Register.
PhD students: your haigekassa account (national health insurance) can be activated only after your residence is registered.
International degree students must fulfil their study programme at full capacity when applying for the TRP for the first time (i.e., they must be matriculated for full-time studies) and maintain a full-time workload throughout their studies at UT.
If an international student fails to fulfil the requirements of full-time studies, the TRP is revoked. The University of Tartu is obligated to inform the Police and Border Guard Board if an international student transfers from full-time to part-time studies within two weeks' time from the day the decision to transfer was taken.
The difference between full-time and part-time studies here is described here.
To hold the TRP for study, one must complete at least 22.5 ECTS per semester; otherwise the TRP will be revoked.
The standard study load is 30 ECTS per semester, which applies only to degree-seeking students.
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.
NB! After the revocation of TRP, you must return the TRP card to the Police and Border Guard Board!
After the end of the academic leave, the person may again apply for 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 are described here: http://www.ut.ee/en/studies/study-regulations/academic-leave.
Working during studies
International students who have the TRP for study 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.
NB! To be able to travel during the extension period, apply for a special sticker (similar to multiple entry visa) to indicate the existence of the extension period. For application, please contact the Police and Border Guard Board and submit an application and photo. There is no specific application template, just write the purpose (applying for the extension sticker), name and your Estonian ID code. The state fee is 30 euros. An application can be submitted during the period of validity of the TRP, yet no earlier than a month before the expiry date of the TRP, as well as after its expiry. Still, the 183-day extension starts from the expiry date of the TRP, not from the sticker application date.
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.
Students who study in Estonia for up to 12 calendar months (365 days) can apply for the long-stay (D) visa instead of the temporary residence permit (TRP) for study. Degree-seeking students coming to Estonia with a D-visa and staying in Estonia longer than 12 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 the 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. Please note that D-visa may be applied 3 months prior intended arrival to Estonia.
D-visa holders do not need to register themselves in the Population Register Office in Tartu or apply for the residence permit.
You must be present in person at an Estonian embassy abroad or in Estonia, at the Police and Border Guard Board while applying for a D-visa. Applying in Estonia is applicable for the students who have entered Estonia with C-visa or have used their visa-free access. Application process is the same regardless of the place of application. The visa is typically granted within 10 days (though the maximum duration of the process by law is 30 days).
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). Please make sure you pick the right form - the application form for long-stay visa;
3. one photo (size 35x45 mm);
4. insurance policy valid for Estonia or for the Schengen area with coverage of at least 30 000 EUR for the entire duration of the D visa period. Please pay attention to the fact that the requirements for insurance coverage are different for D visa and TRP. For D visa application, the insurance coverage is higher, as stated above;
5.document indicating the purpose of journey: students present their admission letter;
6. document which supports the applicant's intention to leave the Schengen area before the expiry of the visa. Students present their admission letter, to our best knowledge there is no need to present any extra document;
7. documents proving the sufficient means of subsistence i.e. your scholarship proof or bank statement. Please see the section on legal income titled - List of documents to be submitted for TRP application or for TRP extension. The same rules described there also apply for proving sufficient means of subsistence for the D visa. In the case UT pays stipend, a proof of receiving a fixed income, while studying in Estonia, is enclosed in the admission package;
8. visa fee 80 €
More information here.
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. Additionally, please be aware that for D visa application you are required to submit a document proving accommodation confirmation. The students not staying at the UT dorms should have some kind of booking confirmation (from hotel/hostel, future landlord etc) to be handed in along with other application documents.
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. According to the general practice, a D visa is usually granted within ten days from the day of submission.
Additional information from the web-page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The purpose of C-visa is to transit through or stay in the territory of the Schengen States, Estonia being one of Schengen countries, for a duration no more than 90 days within the period of 180 days.
A C-visa can be applied for in person only at the Estonian representations handling visa applications or at the representation of the EU member state representing Estonia in issuing Schengen visas. Please see here.
We highly recommend that all students who are considering applying for a C-visa in a country where Estonia is represented by the embassy of some other EU member state first make sure this is possible. To the best of our knowledge, foreign embassies/representations do not issue C-visas for the purpose of studying unless the study period at UT is less than 3 months. Please be aware that neither the University of Tartu nor any of the Estonian embassies can issue you a visa invitation for entering the country where the closest Estonian embassy is located. This must be handled by the applicant.
Students entering Estonia with a C-visa and staying in Estonia for longer than 3 months are required to start applying for either a D-visa or residence permit, depending on the purpose and duration of their stay, immediately after arriving to Estonia.
2. application form (provided by the embassy or from the following webpage: Ministry of Foreign Affairs);
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 60 €
More information here:
If you should have any problems concerning your rights as a C-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.