Before the last economic crisis, the Estonia economy was growing very quickly. But as in many other countries, after the economic crisis of 2008-2009, the Estonian economy fell to its 2005 level. The preceding growth had been impressive and the same can be said about the decline.
The average Estonian resident's income is now about 55% of the European average. This gap was quickly decreasing, but it increased again because of the crisis. Although the extremely vigorous period of economic reforms is now over, the changes that Estonia is presently going through are far more extensive than those in the developed countries. The privatisation has been completed and the rules governing the economy resemble those of the Western Europe.
The Estonian economy is diverse – industry and transport, as well as commerce and different branches of services are all equally important. Due to the available natural resources Estonian economy largely relies on the branches related to the forest; Estonian energy sector is based on oil shale, a resource quite rare elsewhere in the world. Finland and Sweden are the most important trade partners, but the role of other European counties and countries of the world has increased over the years as well. The Estonian economy profits significantly from the business generated by more than 4 million tourists a year, most of whom come from Finland.
Economic reforms and swift changes brought about an increase in unemployment in the 1990s, although a great number of people left Estonia during the first years of independence (in the period between the population polls of 1989 and 2000 the population of Estonia decreased by at least 194 thousand people, which is about 12%). During the fast growth of the economy, unemployment fell to 4% and salaries grew very quickly. During the crisis, salaries were cut and, because of layoffs, unemployment reached 19% by the beginning of 2010. Since then, the situation has slowly started to improve.
In general, Estonian governments have been pursuing a balanced policy thanks to which the state budget has been more or less balanced or in surplus. Reserves that had accumulated from budget surpluses enabled the Estonian government to avoid borrowing during the crisis. Because of that, the Estonian burden of debt was among the lowest in Europe – only 7.2% of GDP. During the recession of 2009, the government was forced to increase taxes and cut spending to decrease the deficit, leading to a deficit that was very modest compared to the rest of Europe, just 1.7% of GDP.
a valid travel document which is issued within previous 10 years, contains at least two blank pages for visas and is valid at least 3 months after the expiration date of the visa; a fully completed and signed application form (207.73 KB, PDF).
According to the new Estonian Aliens Act from the October 1, 2010 a long-stay (D) visa is possible to apply for a number of reasons such as study, work or family relations. A long-stay visa may be issued for single or multiple entries into Estonia with a period of stay up to six months and with a period of validity up to twelve months.
All students who are not Estonian citizens or EU citizens (including EEA countries and Switzerland) need a temporary residence permit for study. EU citizens should obtain a temporary right of residence in Estonia.
Please note that Estonia does not issue a "study visa", all NON-EU students should apply for temporary residence permit for studying (TRP). When certain conditions are met, then it is possible to apply for C- (short term) or D-visa (long term) to travel to Estonia and apply for residence permit after arrival. The visa and residence permit application process will usually begin after student has been accepted to study on chosen programme and after university has forwarded required acceptance documents to the accepted student.
Students who are third country nationals (not EU citizens) have to apply for a temporary residence permit for study at the nearest Estonian Embassy or Consul in their home country or country of residence (more info on the page of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
If there is no Estonian Embassy or Consul in your home country or country of residence, you should contact the nearest Estonian Embassy. More information about application process and all the required documents (including legal income proving certifications) can be found from Estonian Police and Border Guard Board website.
Starting from the 1st of October 2010, all third country nationals who already stay legally in Estonia and wish to study at master’s or doctoral level have a right to apply for residence permit for study at the Police and Border Guard Board in Estonia. Temporary Residence Permit for Studies is issued for the duration of nominal studies (bachelor 3 years and master 2 years).
Students from third countries have to register their place of residence in the Local Government authority within 1 month from the arrival to Estonia on the basis of residence permit for study.