Give us a call or Get a quote

+44 (0) 20 8050 4748

Category Transport
Moving to Estonia

Innovation is the first thing that comes to mind when we mention Estonia. The country, located in north-eastern Europe, certainly impresses with its efforts to make the most of new technologies. Even more, these efforts are succeeding and technology is being actively introduced into the daily lives of Estonian residents. In fact, Estonians have had electronic identity cards since 2002, the country's elections are held electronically and free Internet is everywhere. In case you are already considering moving to Estonia, this guide will provide you with useful tips to make the process easier. 

Estonian language

The official language of the country is Estonian. It is spoken by just over one million people worldwide. Its formation dates back to the 12th-13th centuries, and the language derives from the Balto-Finnish dialects. Over the years, German, Slavic and Baltic languages have influenced its development. In modern Estonian there are two dialects, Northern and Southern, which differ significantly from each other.

Estonian is defined as closest to Finnish. Many Estonian words are borrowed from German. There are a bunch of interesting words. For example, there is a word that literally translates as "morning idyll after New Year’s Eve". Since the language is spoken mostly in Estonia and is not widely spoken in other parts of the world, learning it is only preferable when settling into the country and learning about its culture.

Fortunately for anyone planning a move to Estonia, as many as 76% of locals speak foreign languages. Among the most common are English, Russian, Finnish and German. According to data from 2022 on the command of foreign languages in Estonia, nearly half of the population speaks English and the number of English speakers is growing. English speakers are mostly people of active age - between 15 and 50 years.

For anyone wishing to learn Estonian, there are plenty of alternatives available, including free mobile apps or online language courses that could introduce you more closely to specific words relating to the country's professional vocabulary and informal communication. A foundation, INSA, has also been established in Estonia to promote the successful integration of immigrants. It organises free language courses for different language levels and many inclusive events.

New home when relocating to Estonia

Although finding a home in Estonia can be challenging, there are plenty of alternatives to make your search easier. You can find homes to rent in:

Websites of real estate agencies

This classic way of searching for a home would be useful to inform yourself about the specifics of domestic life in the country directly from a specialist. They would introduce you to local features that you might not have thought of at first.

Social network groups

They offer a wide variety of options for finding suitable accommodation after moving to Estonia, and in addition, help you find new contacts to make it easier for you if you need to change residence or in case of other issues related to life in the country.

Through personal contact with landlords

This alternative is suitable for people already settled in Estonia who would like to change their current accommodation. Getting to know local landlords can help you negotiate better terms and conditions, as well as speed up the process of moving into a new home, as you would get information directly from them instead of having to keep an eye out for listings and spend time in meetings and viewings. In case you are planning a move to Estonia and you know people living in the country, you can inquire if their neighbours or acquaintances offer housing for rent.

It is common practice when renting in the country to pay a deposit of up to 3 months rent in advance. In addition, if you use the services of a real estate agent, you should also set aside money for their commission. An important part of the total cost of a home is the cost of bills, which may vary depending on the type of home and the appliances in it.

Rental prices vary widely, depending on the location, size and furnishings of the home. On average, the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is 550 euros and in the suburbs it is around 420 euros. Two-bedroom apartments in central areas are available at prices of around 1,000 euros per month.

Finding a promising job after relocating to Estonia

The working climate in the country is particularly favourable for entrepreneurs. In fact, Estonia is among the countries actively promoting the creation of so-called "start-ups" and is among the leaders in Europe in this respect. One of the best-known start-ups, the home country of which is Estonia, is Skype, founded in 2005. Among the country's most prosperous industries are information technology and cyber security, and the labour market is characterised by talented staff with excellent English language skills. These are also the prerequisites that make Estonia a favourable destination for foreign investors.

Since 2011, wages in the country have been rising steadily. The average gross salary in the country for 2022 is EUR 1 685.

Job search in the country is possible through online platforms or career events. The highest number of positions are in engineering, information technology and English teaching. A large proportion of those who relocate to Estonia set up their own business. Although English is widely spoken, fluency in Estonian is among the advantages that would make you stand out in the job market after migrating to Estonia. The availability of an excellent internet network in the country also creates career opportunities for people working remotely.

An urban view in Estonia - old architecture

Moving to Estonia with kids

The country is innovative not only in terms of the daily amenities created for the society but also when it comes to the upbringing and education of children. Mathematics and programming are strongly present in the curriculum. The education system is one of the best in the world, with all students having equal access to a high quality education with curriculum and goals individually set by each school.

In fact, it is innovative education that may become the reason for migration to Estonia. Education in the country is free of charge, including the provision of textbooks, free lunch, school transport and additional services (in case of need on the part of the student). The school year lasts 35 weeks and includes 4 holidays. Despite the strong focus on mathematical sciences, students in Estonia also have the opportunity to participate in so-called 'hobby schools' - innovative educational institutions offering training in music, sports, technology and other fields, which is based on informal methods. The interest in this type of learning is more than clear - more than half of the country's young people actually attend hobby schools.

Secondary education in the country lasts about 3 years (after the age of 16) and is divided into general secondary education and vocational training. Interestingly, general secondary education in Estonia actually consists of a minimum of 96 individually selected courses, while vocational training is carried out in close cooperation with a number of companies and with the possibility of an apprenticeship. Higher education in Estonia offers the acquisition of Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degrees and takes place in various forms encouraging working while studying.

Moving to Estonia with pets

It is possible to move to Estonia with a pet. Animals allowed into the country on a non-commercial basis are:

  • cats
  • dogs
  • ferrets
  • amphibians
  • reptiles
  • some bird species
  • domestic rabbits and rodents
  • ornamental fish
  • invertebrates (excluding bees, molluscs and crustaceans)

The animal must be accompanied by its owner or an authorised person. If travelling alone, the pet should enter the country within 5 days before or after its owner, and a document (such as an airline ticket) is required to prove this. The main requirements for entering an animal into Estonia are:

  • It must have a microchip identification (compliant with ISO standard 11784 and readable with a device compliant with ISO standard 11785)
  • Have an EU pet passport and proof of rabies vaccination (on arrival from an EU Member State)
  • Have a health certificate issued within 10 days prior to travel (for animals arriving from non-EU countries)
  • Provide a declaration, signed by the owner and accompanying the health certificate, that the journey is for non-commercial purposes

Driving in Estonia

Estonia's capital Tallinn offers free public transport. However, you must have a registered address in the city to take advantage of it.  You can use public transport for free by getting a smart card (Uhiskaart). For this, you need an ID and proof of residence in Tallinn.

For drivers planning to move to Estonia, it is important to know that if they do not have an electronic ID card, they need to carry a valid driving licence, insurance, ID and proof of car ownership (V5C certificate) when driving. Driving documents issued in foreign countries are recognised in the country. Those issued in EEA member countries are valid until their original expiry date. They can be exchanged for an Estonian licence, for which you must live in Estonia for at least 185 days a year or study there for a period longer than 6 months. Normally, the licence can be exchanged without further tests, unless it has expired more than 5 years ago.

The replacement of a driving licence is carried out upon presentation of:

  • proof of identity
  • a valid health certificate
  • photo and signature
  • a foreign licence to be replaced
  • proof of payment of the state fee

Health rights after relocating to Estonia

Health insurance in the country is public (obtained when you are employed) and private. The health system is based on the principle of solidarity - it is designed to be accessible to residents of all regions of the country. Important conditions for those having access to public health insurance are that they are registered in the labour register and have an identification code. Self-employed persons pay their own contributions, of which 13% are for health care. There are about 40 hospitals (private and municipal) in the country. Among the advantages of private health services are shorter appointment times with a specialist. In case you need a private doctor, the Estonian Health Board can guide you in choosing one.

Nature and climate

Temperatures vary across the country, with the highest temperatures in July. The differences can be drastic - from 30°C in summer, to -23°C in winter. Nature benefits from the relatively low population density and after moving to Estonia you can enjoy a wide variety of woodlands, meadows, lakes and islands. The natural diversity makes activities such as camping and hiking particularly popular. Some of the country's most famous attractions are Laheema National Park, Parnu Beach, Keila Waterfall and Tallinn Botanical Garden.

A practical lifestyle that combines the convenience of modern technology with the opportunity for professional development is one of Estonia's distinctive advantages. If you are planning a future move there or to another European country and have specific questions about the process, don't hesitate to contact Movega Removals, a company with extensive experience and proven expertise in transportation services. You can email us using the available chatbot feature and а contact form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.