How to get permanent residency in Estonia?
Firstly, the law differentiates between long-term residency and right of permanent residence - the latter is for EU citizens and in this article we focus on long-term residency for non-EU citizens. So what are the requirements?
You hold a valid temporary residence permit;
You are covered by health insurance;
Your place of residence has been entered into the population registry;
You have resided in Estonia permanently for five years on the basis of temporary residence permit directly prior submitting an application for long-term residence permit.
Permanent residence in Estonia includes temporary absence from Estonia, if such absence does not exceed six consecutive months and a total of ten months during five years prior to the date on which the alien submits an application for long-term residence permit. If absence from Estonia during the last five years prior to the submission date of the application has exceeded six consecutive months and a total of ten months during the last five years and if the Police and Border Guard Board has subsequently deemed his or her absence to be reasoned, then the period of permanent residence in Estonia, requested for long-term residence permit, will extend by the absence time. Please note that these rules are different for Blue Card holders.
5. You have permanent legal income for subsistence in Estonia.
Sufficient legal income is deemed to be at least 150 euros per month per person. The amount goes higher if there are more family members. So interestingly for the duration of your temporary residence permit the income/salary requirement is the average Estonian wage and then for permanent residency it goes down almost 10 times.
6. You comply with the integration requirement, i.e. you have knowledge of the Estonian language at least at B1 level established by the language act or level corresponding to that.
Other things to note - long-term residency permit is not given if the temporary residence permit has been given on the basis of studies. If you have a temporary residence permit based on work for example and have previously had one based on studies then it will not be an issue.
How long does it take for the permanent residency to be granted? Officially you should apply at least 2 months before the expiry of the temporary residence permit but in reality you should go for at least 3-4 months before as the proceedings always take longer.
I hope you have found this article helpful.