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Estonia Digital Nomad Visa: Eligibility and How to Apply

Written By: Chris Markham
Fact Checked By: Richard Nathan

Jan 20, 2022

26 min read

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Did you know Estonia was the very first European country to launch its own official Digital Nomad Visa (DNV)? As of August 1st, 2020, digital nomads worldwide can apply for their own DNV to Estonia.

This might not be exciting news for some, but for digital nomads, this is as good as gold.

With the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa, nomads can legally work and live in Estonia. Yes, legally!

I admit I was first a bit skeptical about the "new Croatia Digital Nomad program". As a digital nomad myself, I understand how frustrating it can be to travel and work abroad.

The reality is digital nomads often need to sidestep a few laws when planning their next destination. For example, most countries don't allow remote work on a tourist visa, especially the Schengen Member States.

In fact

I distinctly remember the time embassy authorities questioned me about the purpose of my trip to France. At the time, it felt more like an interrogation. You see, during my France Schengen Visa appointment, I was asked to present proof of financial means. Somehow, embassy authorities noticed that I work remotely. In a glaring manner, the authorities strictly informed me that I'm not allowed to work in France with a Schengen Visa.

Of course, I already knew this. But as a digital nomad, I didn't really care (shhh).

This is the problem we digital nomads face. To live and work legally in a country.

That's why the news of the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa immediately caught my attention. Finally, a country that embraces us, digital nomads.

After a few weeks of contemplating, I decided to apply for my own Estonia Digital Nomad Visa and see what it's all about. I'm happy I did. Estonia is a beautiful country, and I've had many unforgettable experiences!

Today I'll walk you through the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa requirements and the exact steps you should take when you start your application. At first, the process might seem confusing. However, after this guide, I promise you'll have the knowledge to confidently apply for your own DNV!

Let's get started:

The Estonia Digital Nomad Visa In A Nutshell

Who Is Eligible For An Estonia Digital Nomad Visa?

Like most visas, you need to be eligible for the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa before you can apply for one. If you work remotely, you probably meet these requirements without knowing them.

To be eligible:

  • You must be able to work independently of your location (remotely).

  • You must be able to complete your work using communications technology like wifi, laptops, or your cell phone.

  • You must have an active work contract with a company registered outside of Estonia (foreign employer), work for your own company registered outside Estonia, or work as a freelancer for clients mainly outside of Estonia. As you can see, whatever work you do, it must be for a company registered outside of Estonia.

  • You must prove that you meet the minimum income requirements of the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa. The current requirement is €3504 per month (before tax deductions). Furthermore, before starting your application, you need to prove that you have repeatedly earned the amount mentioned above in the past 6 months.

There Are 2 Types Of Estonia Digital Nomad Visas

Digital nomads have the option to apply for 1 of 2 Estonian Digital Nomad Visas. The one you apply for depends on the duration of your stay.

If you plan to stay in Estonia for less than 90 days, you can apply for a Type C Digital Nomad Visa.

On the other hand, if your trip exceeds 90 days, you need to apply for the Type D Digital Nomad Visa.

In this guide, I explain both visas in detail.

What Is The Processing Time For The Estonia Digital Nomad Visa?

A complete Estonia Digital Nomad Visa application takes around 15 - 30 days to be processed. If you're required to add additional documents or your information is incomplete, the processing time may take longer.

How Much Is The Estonia Digital Nomad Fee?

As mentioned, there are 2 types of DNV. The short-stay Type C visa and the long-stay Type D visa. Each visa has its own price tag.

  • For the short-stay Type C visa: €80

  • For the long-stay Type D visa: €100

Where Can I Apply For My Estonia Digital Nomad Visa?

There are 2 ways you can apply for your Estonian Digital Nomad Visa:

1. At your local Estonian Embassy or Consulate.

2. Within Estonia at a Police or Border Guard Office.

If you plan to apply within Estonia, be sure that you start your visa application at least 15 days before your initial entry visa expires. Once your application is lodged, you are allowed to stay in Estonia for 15 days after your initial entry visa expires.

The process of applying for your DNV within Estonia is the same as applying at the embassy in your home country. First, collect the required documents, call the Police or Border Office for an appointment, and submit your application and supporting documents.

What Is A Digital Nomad Visa?

A Digital Nomad Visa is a travel authorization that allows nomads to live and legally work in a country. Like most other visas, a Digital Nomad Visa requires you to submit certain required documents alongside your application form. Generally, you'll find that you need to meet some sort of income requirement before you can apply.

Quick fact:

A Digital Nomad Visa is a term mainly used by digital nomads. It's not the official name of the visa. Some countries have their own name for this type of travel authorization. For example, Croatia has the Digital Nomad Residence Permit, which is not actually a visa.

For the purpose of this post, I'll refer to this type of travel authorization as a Digital Nomad Visa.

What Is A Digital Nomad?

A digital nomad is someone who can work remotely from any location (remote workers). We usually hang around coffee shops, libraries, coworking spaces, or anywhere we can find wifi. Because we're not anchored to one location, we can travel to any one of the amazing countries out there!

The best part of being a digital nomad is that you have the opportunity to see a thousand different things you never thought you would.

For example, once I wrote an article while sipping a glass of Nemea Agiorgitiko watching the sunset across Santorini, Greece. You won't find that in an office!

I should mention that each EU country that offers some type of Digital Nomad Program (like Croatia), will have its own definition of a digital nomad. This is mainly for legal purposes.

From my research, I've learned that most European countries define a digital nomad as a non-EU citizen who completes their work obligations through means of communication technology. Typically, these non-EU citizens cannot work for a company registered in the country (which provides the digital nomad visa).

What Are The Types Of Estonia Digital Nomad Visas Available?

I am pleased to announce that Estonia offers 2 types of Digital Nomad Visas. The type of visa you apply for depends on how long you plan to stay in Estonia. The 2 options you have are the Type C Visa and Type D Visa. If this sounds like gibberish to you, let me explain.

The Type C Digital Nomad Visa

The Type C Visa is commonly referred to as the short-stay visa or the Schengen Visa.

"But the Schengen Visa is a Tourist Visa!"

Yes, yes, I know. Personally, I think the reason why Estonia offers the Schengen Visa as a new Digital Nomad Visa is for the sake of simplicity. It's much easier to adjust a few visa policies than create an entirely new visa.

The Type C Visa will allow you to stay in Estonia for a maximum of 90 days within every 180 days. Yup, the standard Schengen Visa rules. Later I'll walk you through the steps of applying for your Type C Digital Nomad Visa.

The Type D Digital Nomad Visa

Similar to the Type C Visa, the Type D Visa is not actually a Digital Nomad Visa. Instead, it's a temporary stay permit that allows you to live in Estonia for up to 365 days, i.e., one year. Therefore, it's known as a long-stay visa.

Some things make the Type D Digital Nomad Visa worthwhile:

  • You can live and work in Estonia for up to 1 year

  • You can travel to the other Schengen Member States for 90 days within 180 days.

The Schengen 90/180-day rule applies. Meaning if you've visited a Schengen Country for 90 days consecutively, you need to wait 180 days before you can visit another Schengen Country.

  • You can apply for two consecutive long-stay visas.

So, before your initial Estonia Digital Nomad Visa expires, you can apply for a new one. However, you're not allowed to stay in Estonia longer than 548 days within 730 consecutive days. This means you need to travel back to your home country or another country during your stay in Estonia.

An easy solution would be to travel to other Schengen Countries for 90 days using your first Digital Nomad Visa, travel to your home country for 1 month, and finally travel to more Schengen Countries with your second Type D Digital Nomad Visa.

Applying for a Type D Visa is different from applying for a Type C Visa.

Not to worry, I'll explain how you can apply for both Estonian Digital Nomad Visas.

What Are The Document Requirements For The Estonia Digital Nomad Visa?

As I mentioned before, there are 2 types of Estonian Digital Nomad Visas you can apply for. The short-stay visa and the long-stay visa. You'll need to submit a list of required documents for each visa.

What Are The Required Documents For The Type C Digital Nomad Visa?

As you already know, the Type C Visa is basically the Schengen Visa. Therefore, you need to submit the same documents like that of the Schengen Visa:

If you are unsure of any one of these documents, refer to Atlys's Schengen Visa Document Requirements guide. In this guide, you'll find an in-depth explanation of each of the documents mentioned above.

Quick tip:

If you check the documents above, you'll see that the flight itinerary, proof of accommodation, and COVID-19 requirements are linked. These are tools Atlys created to help travelers apply for their visas. Furthermore, it's free!

The Flight Itinerary Tool can be used to generate a flight itinerary for you. Most applicants buy flight tickets without knowing if their visa is successful. Can you see the problem? What if their visa is denied? Now they have a flight ticket but can't fly. The flight itinerary tool solves this problem. It generates a valid flight itinerary you can use for your visa applications; plus, it's absolutely free.

The Hotel Itinerary Tool does the exact same as the Flight Itinerary Tool. It generates a valid proof of accommodation document you can submit for your visa application. Once again, absolutely free.

The final tool I use the most is the COVID-19 tool. Basically, it informs you of a country's COVID-19 requirements and restrictions. Here you'll find vital COVID-19 information about your next destination.

What Are The Required Documents For The Type D Digital Nomad Visa?

You probably already guessed that the document requirements for the Type D Digital Nomad Visa are different from the Type C Digital Nomad Visa. I'll briefly explain each document and what you should present.

  • A Valid Passport or Travel Document

Be mindful that your passport must not be close to its expiry date. It must be valid for at least 3 months after your initial Digital Nomad Visa expires. This means your visa must be valid for 15 months from your departure date. For example, if your departure date is January 1st, 2022, your passport expiry date should not be earlier than April 1st, 2023. Additionally, your passport must have 2 blank pages available for your new Estonia DNV.

You need to complete your application form online through the official government website. Be sure that the information you provide is correct. I recommend referring to your passport when filling in your personal details. After completing the form, print it out and sign it. Keep in mind that an incomplete application form could delay the visa processing time. In worst-case scenarios, it could result in a denied application.

  • 2 Passport Sized Photos (size 35x45 mm)

These are pretty self-explanatory. Just ensure that your photos are recent, in color, and taken in front of a white background.

  • Medical Insurance or Health Insurance

Like most long-stay visas, you're required to present proof of valid health insurance. Your insurance policy must cover all medical expenses that may occur during your stay. On top of that, it must be valid for the duration of your trip (12 months). Unfortunately, the government doesn't specify the minimum amount your insurance must cover. Nevertheless, I recommend finding an insurance policy that meets the Schengen Visa Travel Insurance requirements. A letter from the insurance company should suffice.

  • Documents Indicating the Purpose of Your Trip

Assuming that the purpose of your trip is for remote work, you can provide a letter from your employer as well as your work contract. This just indicates that you plan to travel to Estonia for remote work purposes.

  • Proof of Accommodation

I'll be honest, this is not a "required document". So you won't find this on the official government website. However, because you're planning an extended stay in Estonia, presenting a document that proves you have accommodation would benefit your application immensely. Proof of accommodation documents includes a rental agreement, hotel reservations, Airbnb bookings, or even a letter from a friend (if you plan to stay with a friend).

What Documents Do I Required To Prove I'm A Digital Nomad?

As you already know, the documents listed above are the required documents for each respective visa. So, to turn your standard Type C/D Visa into an Estonia Digital Nomad Visa, you need to submit the following documents alongside the other documents. Essentially, these documents prove that you are, in fact, a digital nomad.

Let's take a look at what's required:

  • Documents that verify you can complete your work obligations regardless of where you are (location-independent) and that you use telecommunications technology to do so.

  • Documents verifying you'll continue to work for a foreign-registered employer, a foreign-registered company in which you have shared, or as a freelancer primarily providing services to clients with a foreign organization under a valid contract.

  • Documents indicating your income for the past 6 months before applying. These documents must indicate the amount, regularity, and sources of income.

  • A description of your academic and professional history.

Okay, these document requirements might seem a bit confusing. But don't worry, I'll list what you can submit.

  • A letter explaining that you plan to use your visa for remote work purposes

  • A letter from your employer stating you're able to complete your work remotely

  • An employment contract

  • A document that proves you pay your taxes (this could be an income tax return form)

  • If you own a business, your business license

  • Bank account statements of the past 6 months

  • A letter describing your academic and professional history. You can add reference numbers or relevant certificates and degrees.

Remember

You need to prove that you meet the minimum income requirements for your Estonia Digital Nomad Visa application.

You'll need to have a monthly income of at least €3504 (gross of tax).

"But what if I don't have a monthly income of €3504"

Well, there is a workaround to this problem.

You're required to show the monthly income requirements. However, it does not state that your income must be recurring. So, technically, you could use a large amount of savings. However, this requires that you prove you have the total amount of 12 months, which is €42 048 (€3504 x 12). Call it a loophole, if you will.

I should mention that I don't recommend this route. It will benefit your application if you prove you have a recurring monthly income.

For a long time, digital nomads had to skirt past certain laws and restrictions. Now, we finally have the option to do things legally! So, let's keep things legal.

A Few Other Thing To Keep In Mind

1. The documents you require may be different

The documents you need to submit depend on the country you're from.

For example, the documents Indian citizens need to submit might differ from those US citizens need to submit. Therefore, it would be best to contact the Estonia Embassy or Consulate you plan to apply at before starting your visa application.

Embassy authorities will have the latest information regarding your application and information surrounding Estonia's COVID-19 requirements.

The documents listed above apply to US citizens. However, I've talked to other nomads that said their documents were pretty similar. So, at worst, you'll probably need one or two additional documents.

2. It would be beneficial to translate your documents

Your document will most likely be processed by an Estonian official. Out of experience, I've learned that translated documents speed up the processing time of a visa application. So, instead of submitting your documents in English, consider getting them translated to Estonian. This way, officials will have an easier time assessing your application.

If you plan to do this, be sure that your documents are translated by a certified translator. You can find one on upwork for relatively cheap.

How To Apply For The Estonia Digital Nomad Visa?

The application process relatively simple. I have compiled a list of steps you can follow to get your next Estonia Digital Nomad Visa. And yes, you'll find steps for the short-stay visa as well as the long-stay visa. Excited? Let's go!

How To Apply For The Type C Digital Nomad Visa?

Step 1 - Collect All The Required Documents

The first step is to collect all the required documents for your visa application. I opt to do this first as this tends to be time-consuming. To simplify this task, create a document checklist. You'll be surprised by how effective a checklist can be.

Once you've gathered all your documents, store them in a flip file or somewhere safe. And remember, make copies of everything. You might need it in the future.

Step 2 - Complete Your Application Form

You need to complete your Estonia Digital Nomad Application form online. As always, make sure the information you provide is correct. The form is relatively simple and requires you to fill in your basic information and trip information.

Before continuing to the next step, I would like to point out a few things regarding the application form.

1. If you don't understand what is required from a certain field, you'll find a blue question mark on the right-hand side of the field. It provides some additional information about the field.

2. When you enter the purpose of your trip, select other and enter " remote work". Next, you'll find another field that asks for additional purposes. There, select the checkbox *** "Tourism"***. See the screenshot below:

EDNV8.png

If you like, you could elaborate on the purpose of your trip within the "Additional Information on the purpose of stay" tab.

3. On the 10th page of the application form, you'll be asked who will pay for your stay. Because you plan to be a digital nomad in Estonia, you need to select "by the applicant himself/herself"

The next field asks how you plan to pay for your trip. Here you can enter "salary" under the "Other, please specify" tab.

EDNV10.png
   

4. Lastly, on the 12th page of your application form. You'll see the field " Place of submitting visa application". Once you click on it, it will show you a list of Estonian Embassies where you can apply at. Choose the one where you would like to apply at.

Where to submit.png

If you plan to submit somewhere else, contact the embassy first and find out if you can submit your application with them.

Step 3 - Schedule Your Visa Appointment

Because the short-stay Estonia Digital Nomad Visa is the same as the Schengen Visa. You need to schedule an appointment at the embassy or consulate. There are 2 ways to schedule your visa appointment.

1. Contact the embassy and ask for an appointment slot. Be mindful that there are only a limited amount of slots available. Meaning you won't always find a date and time that suits your needs. You may need to adapt to the embassy's appointment schedule.

2. Use Atlys's appointment tool to schedule your next appointment. You can find the tool at the top of this page. First, it checks open appointment slots for you. Then, once you find one that suits you, it schedules your appointment. Easy peasy.

Step 4 - Attend Your Visa Appointment

After successfully scheduling your appointment, the next step is to attend your appointment. Once you arrive at the embassy, you'll attend an in-person interview with an embassy staff member.

This is where you submit your application form alongside your supporting documents. Furthermore, the embassy official will ask you a few questions about your trip and the purpose of your trip. Just answer all the questions honestly and to the best of your ability. Remember, you can always use your supporting documents to support your answers.

If you're nervous about your interview, learn about the questions officials typically ask and how you can ace your interview.

Once your interview is complete, you'll be asked to submit your biometric information. Basically, all officials do is take your fingerprints and a digital photograph. This is not required if you've been to the Schengen Area in the last 59 months.

Finally, you'll be asked to pay the visa application fee. You may be asked to pay before or after your appointment. Either or, you can expect to pay around €80 for your new Estonia Digital Nomad Visa.

Step 5 - Wait For Feedback

The last step is to wait for your visa to be processed. Depending on your application, the processing time can range between 15 - 30 days. I have found that submitting your application in their native language (Estonian) will speed up the processing time.

Once your application is successful, you'll be notified via mail, email, a phone call, or whatever contact method you provided.

If your application is successful, congratulations, you beautiful nomad! If not, don't worry! You can appeal the initial visa decision.

How To Apply For The Type D Digital Nomad Visa?

Step 1 - Gather All The Required Documents

Like all visa applications, you need to submit all your supporting documents if you hope to have a successful application. As I mentioned, the best way to ensure you have every single document is to create a document checklist. Just tick the documents you already have. Then, you'll easily see what you still need to get. Very effective!

Step 2 - Complete Your Application Form Online

Once you've collected your required documents, you can start filling out your long-stay visa application form. The application form must be completed online.

You're required to fill out your basic information, such as your name(s), passport number, address, and so on. Also, there are some questions surrounding your trip to Estonia, like the duration of your trip, where you plan to stay, etc.

If you're stuck on any field, you'll find a blue question mark on the right-hand side of the field. It gives more information about the field and what you need to fill in.

Now, I won't go through each field of the application (as it's pretty self-explanatory). However, I want to point out a few things:

1. On the 8th page of the long-stay application form, you'll find the field " Purpose of your journey". You'll see an option "remote work". That's the one you need to select.

ED1.png

2. On page 9 of the application, you need to enter where you plan to stay in Estonia. Ensure that the information you provide is correct and the same as your proof of accommodation.

ED2.png
   

3. Finally, on the 10th page, you're asked who will support the trip financially. Of course, this is you, the applicant.

Underneath, you'll see " Means of support during stay". Because you're a digital nomad, you can select salary.

Additionally, you'll find a space for your travel insurance. You're only required to enter the duration your insurance is valid for. Just be sure you submit a letter from your insurance company (or a relevant document) when you submit your visa application.

ED3.png

Step 3 - Schedule An Appointment At The Embassy

Step 3 is to schedule an appointment at the Estonian Embassy you plan to apply at. Keep in mind that the embassy might not have early appointment slots available. In most cases, the earliest available slot will be in a month's time.

You can schedule your appointment via a call to the embassy or by using Atlys's handy appointment tool found at the top of this page.

Step 4 - Submit Your Visa Application

You must submit your application form and your supporting documents at your appointment. Typically, you'll be required to attend an in-person interview with one of the embassy staff members. During the interview, the staff member will scan through your documents and ask a few questions about your trip. Answer these questions honestly. Explain to the official that you plan to work remotely in Estonia. Remember, you can use your documents to support your answers.

This is also when embassy officials collect your biometric information, such as your fingerprints and a digital photo. If you've visited the Schengen Area in the past 59 months, this is not required.

The final thing is to pay the visa application fee. You can expect to pay around €100 for your new long-stay Digital Nomad Visa.

Step 5 - Receive Feedback

After submitting your application, your visa will be processed. It takes around 15 - 30 days for it to be processed and for you to receive feedback.

Check your emails regularly, as this is how the embassy will notify you of your application. Then, after favorable feedback (congrats!), you can travel back to the embassy and collect your shiny new visa.

And That's The Estonia Digital Nomad Visa

Phew! Finally. That's everything you need to know about the Estonia Digital Nomad Visa. I know it might seem challenging to get your DNV, but the process is pretty straightforward. Collect your documents and submit them. That's the gist of it.

Oh and if you're wondering where to start your nomadic adventure in Estonia, I suggest Tallinn!

Anyway, enjoy your next nomadic adventure in Estonia!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Mail My Estonia Digital Nomad Visa Application?

No. You're required to submit your application in person at the Embassy or Police or Border Guard Office.

Do US Citizens Need A Short Stay Digital Nomad Visa?

US citizens enjoy visa-free travel to Estonia for tourism purposes. The government does not specify that US Citizens need a Digital Nomad Visa. However, as you plan to work remotely in Estonia, we assume that you'll need to apply for your short-stay Digital Nomad Visa.

It would be best to call your nearest Estonian Embassy before applying.

If I Have My Digital Nomad Visa, Can I Bypass Estonia's COVID-19 Restrictions?

No. Even if you have a new Estonia Digital Nomad Visa, you must abide by the COVID-19 pandemic requirements and travel restrictions. So if your home country is not allowed to enter Estonia, you won't be able to enter the country even if you have a DNV.

Do Digital Nomads Pay Tax In Estonia?

The rule is that you have to pay taxes only after acquiring tax residency. You become a tax resident if you live in Estonia for more than 183 days within 12 months.

So, digital nomads who stay in Estonia for more than 183 days within 1 year will need to pay tax.

What Other Schengen Countries Can I Visit With My Estonia Digital Nomad Visa?

If you applied for a long stay DNV, you're allowed to visit any one of the 26 Schengen Countries within Europe for a maximum of 90 days within every 180 days.

These countries include:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Does The Digital Nomad Visa Lead To Permanent Residency In Estonia?

The Estonia DNV is only valid for 1 year and cannot be extended. Therefore, your Estonia DNV won't lead to permanent residency.

Can I Work For An Estonian Company With My Digital Nomad Visa?

No. To be eligible for the Estonia DNV, you're not allowed to work for a company registered within Estonia. However, you are allowed to work for any other foreign company registered outside Estonia.

What Is The Difference Between The Digital Nomad Visa and e-Residency?

Well, the Digital Nomad Visa is specifically catered toward remote workers who's next destination is Estonia. Whereas, e-residency is for nomads, the self-employed, startup companies, and entrepreneurs.

So, what is e-residency then?

"A government-issued digital identity and status that provides access to Estonia’s transparent business environment." - Republic of Estonia E Residency

For more information about e-residency, check this guide.

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