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Frequently asked questions

Staying in Estonia

How long can I stay in Estonia?

As of 9 March 2022, Ukrainian citizens and their family members who have come to Estonia because of the war will be able to apply for temporary protection from the Police and Border Guard Board of Estonia. Temporary protection is a one-year residence permit that enables to offer a sense of security and social guarantees to Ukrainian citizens and their family members. Once they have applied for temporary protection, war refugees have similar rights as Estonian residents - for example, the right to study and work and thus receive health insurance.

Temporary protection can be applied for by Ukrainian citizens and their family members who arrived in Estonia since 24 February. This also applies to people of other nationalities and their family members who had international protection in Ukraine and who arrived in Estonia since 24 February.

There is no obligation to apply for temporary protection. All citizens of Ukraine have the right to remain in Estonia without applying for temporary protection.

Temporary protection does not apply to Ukrainian citizens and their family members who were residing or staying in Estonia before 24 February 2022. For these citizens, the Police and Border Guard Board decision allowing temporary stay in Estonia is still valid, even if other grounds for stay (e.g. visa waiver or visa) have expired.

Will we be issued any official documents to stay here?

By decision of the Director General of the Police and Border Guard Board, all Ukrainian citizens are now allowed to enter Estonia without a visa. Also, those citizens of Ukraine whose visa or other basis for stay has expired or will expire in the near future may continue to stay in Estonia. Thus, the basis for stay in Estonia is a Ukrainian document.

For applicants for temporary protection, the Police and Border Guard Board issues a temporary residence card.

Where can I apply for temporary protection?

You can apply for temporary protection in Tallinn at Police and Border Guard Board service offices at A. H. Tammsaare tee 47 and P.Pinna 4. For details, see https://www.politsei.ee/en/services/services. To submit an application, you must book an appointment in advance at https://broneering.politsei.ee/. The client support 612 3000 can also help you make a reservation.

The Police and Border Guard Board is also planning to establish pop-up processing points in accommodation facilities where refugees from Ukraine are staying. Information on this can be obtained onsite at the accommodation facilities.

Where can I apply for the Estonian identification (ID) code and why do I need it?

The personal ID code is required for national registration, including temporary protection by the Police and Border Guard Board. ID code does not automatically entitle you to public services or benefits. Private contracts (e.g. banks, electricity, TV services, rental contracts, etc.) can be concluded without an ID code.

To apply for an ID code, you need an identity document (passport, identity card). If the minor does not have a passport or identity card, a birth certificate is needed.

You can apply for an ID code at the Tallinn Vital Statistics Department, the Tallinn City Office Service Bureau and eight district administrations: 

  • Tallinn Vital Statistics Department, Pärnu mnt 67, phone +372 645 7481 (Monday 9-13 and 14-17.30, Tuesday 13-17, Wednesday and Thursday 9-13 and 14-17, Friday 9-13).
  • Tallinn City Office Service Bureau, Vabaduse väljak 7, phone +372 640 4457 (Monday 8.15-12.30 and 13-18; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 8.15-12.30 and 13-17; Friday 8.15-14).
  • Haabersti District Government, Ehitajate tee 109a, phone +372 640 4815 (Monday 8.15-12, Thursday 8.15-12, 14-16.30).
  • Kristiine District Government, Metalli 5, phone +372 6457127 (Monday 8.15-12 and 14-17.30, Wednesday and Thursday 8.15-12 and 14-16.30, Friday 8.15-12).
  • Lasnamäe District Government, Pallasti 54, phone +372 6457730 (Monday 8.15-12 and 13-18, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 8.15-12 and 13-16.30, no service on Friday).
  • Mustamäe District Government, Vilde tee 118, phone +372 6457500 (Monday 8.15-12 and 13-17.30, Tuesday and Thursday 8.15-12 and 13-16.30, Friday 8.15-12).
  • Nõmme District Government, Valdeku 13, phone +372 645 7333 (Monday 8.15-18, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 8.15-17, Friday 8.15-16).
  • Pirita District Government, Kloostri tee 6, phone +372 645 7641 (Monday 8.15-12 and 14-17.30, Thursday 8.15-12 and 14-16.30, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday by appointment only).
  • Põhja-Tallinn Disrtict Government, Kari 13, phone +372 645 7057 (Monday 8.15-12 and 13-17.30, Tuesday 8.15-12, Wednesday 8.15-12 and 13-16.30, Thursday 8.15-12, Friday 8.15-12).
  • Kesklinn District Government, Pärnu mnt 9, phone +372 645 7855 (Monday 8.15-12 and 13-18, Tuesday 8.15-12 and 13-16.30, Thursday 8.15-12 and 13-16.30, Friday 8.15-12, no service on Wednesday).

If I don't have documents, where can I apply for them?

Contact the Embassy of Ukraine in Estonia by calling +372 601 5815. If a parent has a document but a child does not, you should also contact the Ukrainian Embassy. At the embassy, the child's details will be entered in the parent's passport, or a certificate with the child's personal details will be issued.

Do I need to extend my visa? If the visa-free stay expires, what do I do?

Citizens of Ukraine who are already in Estonia and whose visa or other basis for stay has expired or will expire in the near future can continue to stay in Estonia temporarily. There is no need to apply for or extend a visa.

Where can I get legal advice on international protection?

Estonian Human Rights Centre provides free legal assistance in matters of international protection. Counselling is available in Estonian, Russian and English. Legal advice is given by experienced lawyer Uljana Ponomarjova every Wednesday from 13-17 at Niine 2, Tallinn. Advance registration is required by calling +372 5385 9033.

The counselling sessions are organised in cooperation between the Estonian Human Rights Centre and the Adaptation Support Unit of the Tallinn Social Welfare and Health Care Department.

 

Where can I exchange Ukrainian hryvnias? Can I use Ukrainian bank cards in Estonia?

In Estonia, Ukrainian hryvnia exchange is currently offered only by Tavid currency exchange. Rates are available at www.tavid.ee. In addition, several Ukrainian banks continue to offer digital payment services (cards and transfers) despite the war situation. It is therefore recommended for Ukrainian refugees in Estonia to check whether bank cards issued by Ukrainian banks work in Estonia. If they do, they can be used to pay for purchases in shops and to withdraw cash in euros. For these transactions, the exchange rate of Ukrainian Hryvnia to Euro is set by the Ukrainian bank that issued the card. The Republic of Estonia is offering a wide range of assistance to people arriving from Ukraine, more information can be found on the crisis information website kriis.ee/en.

 

Accommodation

What will happen after the 30-day stay in the hotel expires?

War refugees are guaranteed accommodation until they are able to find work and long-term accommodation, either:

  • renting an apartment independently;
  • renting an apartment with the help of the local authority;
  • staying in a place offered by volunteers.

It will take time to arrange long-term accommodation for thousands of refugees, as there are not so many vacancies in Tallinn. Therefore, the help of relatives and acquaintances of refugees and the accommodation offered by volunteers is crucial.

   

Working

Information on working in Tallinn on this page.

  

Education

How can I enrol my child in kindergarten or school?

All Ukrainian war refugees can report their wish to apply for a place in a kindergarten or school at the Tallinn Education Department. The Tallinn Education Department will also conduct information sessions for Ukrainian families staying in the accommodation. 

If you have any questions about the kindergarten, please contact Tallinn Education Department on +372 5300 7845 or e-mail ukraina@haridus.ee 

Further information: children and youth from Ukraine in Estonia | Ministry of Education and Research (hm.ee)

Is it compulsory to attend kindergarten?

Attendance at kindergarten is not compulsory in Estonia. If possible, we offer kindergarten places to children aged 3-7 living in Tallinn. There is a fee for the kindergarten service. The fee per child in Tallinn municipal kindergartens is €79.79 per month (€87.64 per month in kindergartens with a swimming pool), plus food fee. The daily cost of food ranges from €1.18 to €2.40. To get a place at a kindergarten, a child must have an identity card.

Is school education compulsory?

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, everyone has the right to education. Basic school (grades 1 to 9) is compulsory. Children who have reached the age of seven before 1 October of the current year are admitted to the first grade. Children must attend school until they complete basic education or turn 17 - the same applies to children of foreign nationality in Estonia. Education in general education schools owned by state or municipality is free of charge.

Can I get a vocational education and how?

See the possibilities of vocational education in Tallinn at /est/haridus/Kutseoppe-voimalused-Tallinnas-2.

How can I register for Estonian language courses?

Refugees can participate in language learning and adaptation programmes free of charge, but they can also start learning the language on their own  via the online learning environment keeleklikk.ee.
From 4 April to 29 May, the Multikey Online School, supported by the City of Tallinn, will run a free online Estonian language course "Learn and talk with me". You can register for the course at learn.multikey.app/A1_kodurahu_april.

Temporary protection beneficiaries are obliged to follow an adaptation programme with language learning at A1 level. Courses will start in summer 2022. Information about the courses will be provided by the Police and Border Guard Board via e-mail; the course registration page is settleinestonia.ee.

For more information on language courses, please visit the website of the Integration Foundation at integratsioon.ee/en/estonian-language-courses-adults. Consultants from the Integration Foundation can answer any questions concerning language training by phone on 800 9999 or by e-mail at info@integratsiooniinfo.ee.

It is also possible to get Estonian language training through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) if you have been granted temporary protection and register as unemployed: tootukassa.ee/en/services/job-search/unemployment-registration.

   

Benefits

Do you provide financial support?

War refugees under temporary protection are entitled to subsistence allowance to meet their basic needs, as well as other social welfare assistance, on the same basis as people living in Estonia. 

To apply for the subsistence allowance and for advice, please contact the refugee centre at Niine 2, if you have been granted temporary protection.

Temporary protection beneficiaries are entitled to other forms of financial support, such as family allowances. See https://www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee/en/family-and-child-protection/kinds-family-allowances for more information.

We live with an acquaintance, but soon they will no longer be able to support us. How is a person's basic subsistence guaranteed?

Ukrainian war refugees under temporary protection are entitled to subsistence allowance on the same basis as people living in Estonia. See point 13. The subsistence allowance only covers minimum expenses. Already now, many Estonian employers have made job offers to Ukrainians https://www.onlineexpo.com/ru/rabota-dlia-ukraintcev-v-estonii/vakansii/ and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) also offers a wide range of counselling services https://www.tootukassa.ee/ru/statya/estonskaya-kassa-po-bezrabotice-pomozhet-vam-nayti-rabotu.
See also "How can I register for work?"

My mother is a pensioner, are there any social benefits for her?

See "Pensions and allowances" https://sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee/en/ukraine

 

Health

How can I get medical help?

All people staying in Estonia are guaranteed emergency assistance in the event of a serious or life-threatening medical condition, including emergency dental care. To get emergency care, go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital or call 112.

Health advice is available in English and Russian on the family doctor's advice line 1220 (from abroad on +372 634 6630). If necessary, you will be transferred to the emergency number 112.

Health insurance is extended to the beneficiaries of temporary protection, which means access to health services and medicines, and health checks are guaranteed.

Family doctors provide primary health care to all Ukrainian refugees. They provide medical care as needed and refer patients to specialists for further examinations or necessary procedures. For the list of family doctors providing assistance to refugees, see here. You will need to contact the family doctor yourself.

In addition to the initial medical check-up at the refugee centre, war refugees, regardless of whether they have health insurance or not, can go for an additional medical check-up at Tallinn hospitals if they need to undergo tests, plan treatment or obtain a prescription. It is strongly recommended that the secondary medical check-up is carried out within 7 days of arrival.

You need to book an appointment in advance for the second medical check-up on the telephone number below.

  • West Tallinn Central Hospital ( Ehitajate tee 27, tel +372 626 1314).
  • East Tallinn Central Hospital (Pärnu mnt 104, Magdalena unit, temporary campus, tel +372 620 7390).
  • North-Estonian Regional Hospital (Hiiu 44, tel +372 617 1300).
  • If a child needs medical assistance, please turn to the Tallinn Children's Hospital (Ravi 18, tel +372 697 7200).
  • Pregnant women should go to the Women's Clinic of the East Tallinn Central Hospital (Ravi 18, B-unit, tel. +372 666 1900).

For more information on health checks, call 1247.

How can I get health insurance?

Temporary protection beneficiaries are not automatically insured in Estonia. Health insurance can be obtained by taking up a job or registering as unemployed after receiving temporary protection. Children and pensioners living in Estonia also become entitled to health insurance after they have been granted temporary protection. See more at haigekassa.ee/en.

Health insurance guarantees that people can receive planned general and specialised medical care on equal terms with citizens of Estonia.

Where and how can I buy prescription medicines?

Prescription medicines are dispensed to war refugees at the Tõnismägi Heart Pharmacy (Tõnismägi 5), which is open 24 hours a day.
Prescription medicines are dispensed on prescription only. The following prescriptions are suitable:

  • Estonian paper prescription (no need to have an Estonian personal identification number, date of birth is fine)
  • Printout of Estonian digital prescription (no need to have an Estonian personal identification number)
  • Ukrainian paper prescription

Ukrainian passport or other identity document is required for issuing medicines.

Where can I get vaccinated against COVID-19? 

Vaccination is voluntary in Estonia, but we strongly recommend you do it, as it protects the health of yourself and your loved ones.

You can get vaccinated at the Covid vaccination point in the centre of Tallinn, at Vabaduse Square. Specialists are also at hand to answer any questions you may have about vaccination.

Vaccination is free of charge.

There are five different vaccines to choose from:

For age 12+

  • two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech (COMIRNATY), recommended interval between doses I and II: 6 weeks.
  • two-dose Moderna (SPIKEVAX), recommended dose interval between doses I and II: 4 weeks.

For age 18+

  • two-dose Nuvaxovid (NOVAVAX), recommended dose interval between doses I and II: 3 weeks.
  • single-dose Janssen vaccine

For children aged 5-11

  • two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech (COMIRNATY), recommended dose interval I and II: 6 weeks.

If you have had the COVID-19 virus, it is recommended to be vaccinated in the sixth month after a positive test result.

If you have been previously vaccinated with Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneka or Sputnik, it is recommended to administer the third dose three months after the last vaccination.

If you have previously been vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine, it is recommended that a third dose is given two months after the last vaccination.

  

Transportation

How can I use public transport?

In Tallinn
Refugees living in Tallinn are issued with a Tallinn smartcard (green card) certifying their right to use public transport. Smartcard is issued in the Refugee Centre (Niine 2, Tallinn). The smartcard is free of charge for public transport, but must be validated when boarding the vehicle. Validators are installed at the doors of buses, trams and trolleys.

In Estonia
Ukrainian war refugees can travel free of charge on public transport in Estonian cities and on county bus lines, using a public transport card with special rights.

The right to free travel applies in all cities with bus, tram and trolleybus lines, and on city and county buses as well as trains.

The right to free travel does not extend to commercial bus lines (e.g. Tallinn-Tartu bus lines).

To validate the right to free travel valid on trains, trams, trolleybuses and buses, war refugees can obtain a public transport card from their host local authority or regional public transport centre. Passengers travelling by train must also show an identity document.

You can easily plan your trips with the travel planner peatus.ee, a central channel for reliable info on public transport connections and real-time data all over Estonia.

If I have a green card for my car, do I still need separate insurance?

Every vehicle must have a motor insurance contract. For a vehicle not registered in a contracting country of the European Economic Area (EEA), this may be a green card issued in the country of registration or a border insurance from an EEA contracting country.

For example, a vehicle registered in Ukraine must have a green card issued in Ukraine or border insurance with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia or another EEA country in order to drive in Estonia.

For more information on border insurance, see https://www.lkf.ee/et/kindlustamise-tavad/piirikindlustus.


More FAQs answered on national crisis website.

Last modified 04.08.2022