Estonia – Highly-qualified worker

Estonia – Highly-qualified workerAre you a non-EU citizen wishing to work as a highly-skilled employee in Estonia? You can find information below on the conditions to fulfil and procedures to follow, as well as the rights you can enjoy during your stay.

To come to Estonia as a highly-qualified worker, you have to obtain an EU Blue Card.

You must hold a university or college diploma from an educational programme that lasted at least three years. Alternatively you can prove your qualifications by showing at least five years of professional working experience.

A job requesting high qualification is a job the necessary knowledge and experience for performance of which is evidenced by higher professional qualification.

You can also apply for a residence permit as a top specialist. For more details please see the section ‘Other kind of worker’ (top specialist).

Where and how to apply 

Blue Card

You may apply for an EU Blue Card at the Estonian embassy or consulate in your country of origin or residence.

You may apply for an EU Blue Card at the Police and Border Guard Board services if you are legally staying in Estonia or if you have a Blue Card issued by another EU country.

More on holders of Blue Cards from other EU countries

Employer obligations

Your employer must contact the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund to obtain a permission to fill a position by employing a third-country national.

The consent of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund is not needed for certain categories of workers and in case of renewal.

The employer must pay you at least 1.5 of the annual average gross monthly wage in Estonia, last published by the Statistics Estonia.

For some professions the employer must pay 1.24 of this wage. These professions are:

  • top specialists or supervisors
  • top specialists in natural and technical science and health protection;
  • experts in pedagogy, business, administration, IT and communication;
  • experts in the area of law, culture and social affairs.

Documents required

To obtain an EU Blue Card you must present:

  • an employment contract for a high qualified job with a duration of at least one year or a binding job offer for at least one year;
  • documents proving your qualifications.

If the profession is regulated, you must present your qualification documents the assessment of which will be coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Research. If the position or profession is unregulated an assessment is made by a structural unit of Estonian ENIC/NARIC.

Refusal of a Blue Card

An EU Blue Card can be refused in the following circumstances:

  • non-compliance with the requirements;
  • the annual immigration quota is filled;
  • non-payment of tax by the employer;
  • sentence imposed on the employer for allowing irregular employment;
  • non-compliance by the employer with the obligation to inform about changes in the conditions of employment and the termination of a contract;
  • justified reasons to doubt the trustworthiness of the employer;

An EU Blue Card can be withdrawn or not renewed in the following circumstances:

  • unemployment for more than three months or more than once;
  • you have been assigned a subsistence allowance during the validity of an EU Blue Card;
  • employment with an employer who did not have permission from the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (during first two years).

Further requirements

You must register your place of residence in the Population RegisterSearch for available translations of the preceding link within a month of your arrival.

Duration of validity of a card

An EU Blue Card is granted for the duration of your employment contract plus three months, and for a maximum period of two years and three months, renewable for a period of four years and three months maximum.


Appeals can be brought to administrative courts against decisions to refuse an EU Blue Card within ten days from the date of notification of the decision.

Change of employment 

You can change employment. During the first two years of the validity of your EU Blue Card, your new employer must obtain permission from the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. You do not need a permission from the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund if you have been residing in Estonia on the basis of the EU Blue Card continuously for at least two years and hold a valid EU blue card.

You must notify any change in the conditions of your employment as defined in the residence permit for employment to the Police and Border Guard Board.


Your EU Blue Card will not be revoked if you become unemployed unless the period of unemployment is longer than three months or there are several periods of unemployment during the validity of your Blue Card.

Family reunification

You can bring your family members to join you in Estonia.

Change of status

You can change status and may apply for a temporary residence permit (also for grounds other than employment) at the Police and Border Guard Board services.

Long-term residence

If you hold an EU Blue Card, you can apply for a long-term residence permit after five years of continuous temporary residence in the EU, if you have resided on the territory of Estonia for the last two years. You must submit your application to the Police and Border Guard services   no later than two months before expiry of your valid Blue Card and fulfil the following conditions:

  • You have registered your residence in Estonia;
  • You have a permanent legal income for subsistence;
  • You have a health insurance;
  • You comply with integration requirements i.e. pass a test of the Estonian language at least at B1 level if you are 15-65 years old and you do not have restricted active legal capacity.

More on long-term residence permits

No information available at the moment.