All the students without EU/EEA or Swiss citizenship need a visa or temporary residence permit for study (TRP) for their studies in Estonia. There are a limited number of Estonian embassies handling visa or residence permit applications across the world. All the students applying for the visa/residence permit need to consider that they must visit an Estonian embassy either in their home country or abroad. Those who need to go abroad, please consider that travelling requires additional time and financial resources. The countries with Estonian embassy handing visa/residence permit applications are 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 is needed for studying in Estonia?
The easiest way to explain the options is to categorize the students according to their purpose and duration of studies in Estonia. Yet, please remember that these four are generalized categories. There can be some differences to be applied for single programmes or individuals or study levels, thus please always follow the exact guidelines given in 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, Vanuatu, Venezuela. * Only for the biometrical passport holders ** Passports issued by Taiwan which include an identity card number
In the case, studies at UT last longer than 90 days, the University of Tartu strongly recommends applying for D-visa at the nearest Estonian embassy and entering Estonia either with visa or residence permit. Using visa-free access for a longer stay than 90 days 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 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.
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.
TRP can be applied in person only at the Estonian embassies or in Estonia, at Police and Border Guard Board. Applying in Estonia is applicable for the students who have entered Estonia with a visa or have used their visa-free access. Application process is the same regardless of the place of application. As of April 2017, TRP is given for the full nominal period of studies.
Students holding TRP for study can be employed in Estonia without holding a separate permit for employment, provided that employment shall not interfere with the studies. According to the law, TRP application ( from submitting until receiving) may take up to three months.
The following documents must be submitted when applying for the TRP in Estonia or at Estonian representation abroad:
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 the student applying for TRP is not required to ask for that document from UT. The students extending their existing TRP-s - please 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 needs to be at least 260 euros per month. However, this sum does not cover your monthly living expences in Estonia. If you get 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 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 see: http://www.ut.ee/en/welcome/health-insurance-0.As the TRP will be granted for the whole nominal period of studies, when applying for the TRP, you must have an insurance contract covering the nominal period of studies!
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).
There are also guidelines for accurate submission of an TRP application, please see here.
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 full time workload throughout studies at UT. 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 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.*
*Applies only to degree-seeking students!
UT rules on academic leave are described here: http://www.ut.ee/en/studies/study-regulations/academic-leave.
Working during studiesInternational 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.
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 months (one academic year) 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 or in Estonia, at Police and Border Guard Board. 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.
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 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. 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, of a duration no more than 90 days within the period of 180 days.
C-visa can be applied 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 consider applying for C visa in a country where Estonia is represented by some other EU member state embassy, would first make sure this is at all possible, since to our best knowledge foreign embassies/representations do not issue C visa for studying purposes, unless the study period at UT is less than 3 months. Please be aware that the University of Tartu or any of the Estonian embassies cannot issue a visa invitation for entering a country where the Estonian embassy, closest to an applicant, is located.
Students entering Estonia with C visa and staying in Estonia longer than 3 months are required to start applying for either D visa or the residence permit, depending on their duration and purpose of stay, immediately after arriving to Estonia.
5. documents indicating the purpose of journey: UT admission letter;
8. a visa fee 60 €
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.