Mistakes expats make in Estonia

Hello everyone,

Did you make any mistakes when you first moved to Estonia? What were they?

How did you address your mistakes? Did you learn anything from them?

With hindsight, what would you do differently?

Are there any tips you could give future expats in Estonia to help them avoid these kinds of mistakes?

We look forward to hearing from you!


Hey there,

I have some piece of advice for those of you planning to move to Estonia.

The first thing you need to do when you arrive is to apply for your residence permit in order to get your documents. Without a document, you cannot really do much: you can't get a monthly phone agreement, cable TV, internet and I think you can't even get a rental contract. It's really important to do this as soon as you arrive! Good luck!


Thank you for the advise Alina. I have been reading on how to move there and in my case I'm employed and can work from anywhere in the world which is why I'm considering the move. Will this be an issue when applying to the residence permit? I can bring a work letter and anything but really does not say much in that case on the website. Thank you for any tips on this.

Did you investigate taxation in Estonia? There are some countries in Europe, where you'd have to pay only ~10% of your income as a freelancer (Bulgaria, Hungary, ?Czech Republic). The last time I checked, in Estonia you'd have to pay waay more than 20%.

I don't know if this qualifies as a mistake per se, but I would definitely recommend anyone moving to Estonia (or anywhere) to do their research and make sure all their paperwork is in order.

When I got married to my Estonian wife, I was required to have an apostille on my birth certificate from the US. I sent out for the apostille but for whatever reason it never made it there. I ended up having to pay a family member to make a trip to the capital of Illinois to get the paperwork done.

If I would have had it done myself beforehand it would have cost me about $2. Instead I ended up paying $200, covering the family members gas money, time, and expenses to express mail it back to me so I would have it in time for the wedding.  :dumbom:

Will ask about that. I'm not a freelancer so I guess there has to be a different taxation. I will be travelling next September for tourism/seeing the country so will make some time to do this diligence.  Thank you so much for the heads up.  :)

Why would they need birth cert, a passport wouldn't suffice? Or is this only for marriage registration?

Can we apply for a residence permit before we secure a job?

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