Estonia rating from Being Digital Nomad
Sharing its borders with the Gulf of Finland, the Baltic Sea, Latvia, and Russia, the landscape of Estonia is characterized by medieval cities, dense forests, wetlands, and numerous lakes.
Going hand in hand with the rapidly changing digital trends worldwide, Estonia introduced its digital nomad visa in August 2020 (the first country to do so).
The country has implemented various electronic systems in governance and infrastructure, making it one of the most digitally advanced societies in the world.
Estonia’s digital nomad visa is a relief for workers who constantly have to get tourist visas or individuals who have always dreamt of working in ‘the digital goldmine of the world.’
- Types of visas
- Requirements and eligibility
- How to apply for Estonia’s Digital Nomad Visa
- Estonia for digital nomads
- Cost of living in Estonia
- Why Estonia: Some amazing facts
- Wrapping up
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Types of visas
In August 2020, Estonia officially became the first country in the world to launch a designated visa for digital nomads (Type D visa).
The Type D visa is a temporary stay allowance for up to 12 months. During this period, you are permitted to visit any of the Schengen Member States for 90 days.
On the other hand, a Type C Visa will allow you to stay in the country for up to 90 days in 180 days — quite similar to the rules of a Schengen visa.
The Estonia Start-up Visa applies to those seeking to start a business in Estonia. It is valid for 12 months and allows you to work for an Estonian company while setting up your start-up.
Estonia allows dependents to travel with you by applying under the same visa scheme.
Requirements and eligibility
The digital nomad (type D) visa is open to all location-independent workers. According to Estonia’s e-residency website, you might well be eligible if you work remotely using telecommunications technology.
The website also notes that applicants should have an active employment contract with a country outside Estonia or their own company registered abroad. Applicants can also be freelancers who derive income from online work outside Estonia.
Requirements for Estonia’s digital nomad visa
As per the eligibility criterion shared by the Estonian government, the eligibility for Estonia’s digital nomad visa for remote workers looks like this:
- You must be over 18 years old.
- You must earn your income via telecommunications technology or conduct business through your own company registered abroad.
- Your clients or company must be registered abroad.
- You must be financially stable before applying for the visa. You should be good to go if your current monthly income is about $4,950 (gross of tax). Before applying, you must also prove that your income met the minimum requirements for six consecutive months.
The Republic of Estonia requires you to have the following documents ready at the time of application.
- Valid passport
- Signed application form ($110/application)
- Passport size photo (size 35x45mm)
- Insurance covering the duration of your trip
- Proof of foreign employment/ownership of a business
- Bank documents proving the regularity of your income ($4,950/month) for the past six months
- Details of your professional and academic past
How to apply for Estonia’s Digital Nomad Visa
Here are the steps to apply for the Estonian DNV:
- Collect all the required documents
Ensure that you have all the right documents in place. Attest them if needed.
It helps to have a checklist in place so you do not miss out on any one piece. Remember that all the documents are important.
- Fill out the application form online
The Estonian’s digital nomad visa application form has to be filled out online. The form can be found here. Download and print the form when you are done. Attach the required images.
- Submit the form at the embassy
You have to submit the abovementioned application form (printed and signed) at the nearest Embassy or Police and Border Guard office. Double-check that you got all the documents right.
- Collect the visa once approved
Go back to collect your visa. With that, you are ready to travel! Please note that visa approval is subject to the embassy’s clearance.
Estonia for digital nomads
Ideally, there are certain aspects that any nomad would consider before choosing a destination to settle for. Interestingly, Estonia checks so many items on this list.
Here’s why this country in Northern Europe is an ideal pick for digital nomads:
- Estonia is an easy place to start a business venture. It takes only five minutes to use your e-id and initiate your venture. Estonia has been ranked 1 in Europe for start-up friendliness, with over 1300+ start-ups.
- Estonia’s e-taxation is quick and requires no paperwork. It contains automated data that only requires a digital ID that pays your taxes in the blink of an eye. The best part is that you become a tax resident only if you work for 183 days consecutively. That means you don’t have to pay taxes with a short-stay visa.
- Estonia ranks fifth on the ITU global cybersecurity index. This protects one’s data from unauthorized access, boosts the company’s credentials, and attracts more stakeholders to invest in the country.
- Estonia’s e-residency programs welcome and nurture freelancers from all over the world. Simply put, it allows digital access to the country’s trustworthy, transparent services and business environment.
- Estonia’s internet supports freedom of speech — not in the financial term, but the ability to share information. The free internet makes freedom of expression come true, resulting from high internet access levels, citizen participation, and a firm belief and support for freedom of expression.
Digital nomad hotspots
Estonia’s major digital nomad hotspot is its capital city, Tallinn, often known as the ‘Silicon Valley of the Baltics.’
The city’s thriving start-up and tech ecosystem regularly hosts expos and meetups, attracting a strong presence from the global digital nomad community. You will also find an abundance of coworking spaces and remote worker-friendly cafes in the city.
Other popular destinations in Estonia include:
Tartu: The second largest city after Tallinn, it is affordable and has a good public transportation system and free public Wi-Fi.
Haapsalu: While not as technologically forward as the previous two on this list, Haapsalu is known for its blend of natural beauty, medieval architecture, and infrastructure which include coworking spaces/cafes and good internet.
Pärnu: A scenic coastal town in Southwest Estonia known for its slow-paced lifestyle that has its share of coworking spaces.
Here are some of the noteworthy coworking spaces in Estonia (with prices for desks)
- Baltic Cowork (Tallinn):
- LIFT99 (Tallinn):
- Mobispace (Tartu):
- Baltic TCM OÜ (Pärnu)
Estonia has invested heavily in developing its railway network, which connects the major cities and towns in the country. The trains are modern and comfortable and often offer free Wi-Fi onboard.
Also, most of Estonia’s cities have a sophisticated public transportation system, including buses, trams, and trolleys.
A monthly pass (public transportation) in the capital city of Tallinn costs about $33.
Cost of living in Estonia
For the most part, Estonia is relatively affordable. Given below is the average cost of living in Estonia. The upper bracket includes the costs for two people living a semi-luxurious lifestyle.
|Furnished studio in city center (one-bedroom)||$700|
|Furnished studio outside center (one-bedroom)||$500|
|Furnished flat in city center (three-bedroom)||$1,100|
|Furnished flat outside center (three-bedroom)||$800|
|Food and Groceries||$300 – $450|
|Transportation||$40 – $70|
|Utilities (Water, Electricity, Gas, Internet)||$120 – $180|
|Coworking Space||$200 – $300|
|Health Insurance||$60 – $120|
|Miscellaneous Expenses||$300 – $500|
|Total Average Monthly Expenses (excluding rent)||$1,100 – $1,700|
Why Estonia: Some amazing facts
To begin the discussion, naturally, the first question that would pop up is: Why Estonia?
So here are some fascinating facts about the country that explain why it is a great option for digital nomads:
- Estonia is a multilingual country
- Estonia has the cleanest air in the world
- Most state services in Estonia are online
- Estonia has a high number of start-ups in Europe, which makes it an interesting place for entrepreneurs
- Longest paid maternity leave
- UNESCO has listed several cultural sites in Estonia
Estonia might just be the country that gives you the space to truly get in touch with your digital nomad side.
What digital nomads say about Estonia:
Applying for a visa in Estonia is a wise decision considering the country’s tech-savvy identity, supportive environment, and tremendous benefits. Good luck expanding your horizons. May the odds be in your favor.
Update: Estonia is not accepting applications from citizens of Russia and Belarus (exceptions can be found here).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some of the common questions asked about this visa:
Estonia’s digital nomad visa is special because it was one of the first countries in Europe to launch such a program.
You cannot hold a job in Estonia. Your employer must be based outside the country.
The visa is valid for a stay of up to one year.
The application process might take up to 30 days.
The visa allows you to travel to other Schengen Member states and stay there for 90 days.
No, this visa does not lead to residency options.