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Residence permit applications for 2022 - who can apply after the immigration quota is full?

Although the immigration policy of Estonia is strict (very small quota), there are options which do not go under the immigration quota meaning applications can be made all year round. Under current legislation one would have to apply already in December to have a realistic chance of getting under the immigration quota but there are also options that are not affected by the quota (this means applications can be made all year):

Let us look at the options:

1. Citizens of Japan and USA

That is right, immigration for Americans and Japanese into Estonia is easier.

2. Start-up business or start-up employment

Estonia is implementing a start-up programme under which if your business idea is approved by a special committee, you and your business partners can apply for a residence permit with the purpose of developing the business idea in Estonia. Employees for this business can also be hired outside of the quota which provides further support. Startup life in Estonia is quite vibrant.

All information can be accessed here:

3. Employment in the IT-sector

Information technology sector does not go under the quota either. In addition to searching employment from various resources like and , you can also start your own business (easy to do with our e-residency programme) and employ yourself. You would need Estonian Unemployment Fund approval prior to the TRP application but we also help with that.

4. Studying

Yes, studying is quota free as well. You are also allowed to work with a residence permit for studying as long as you follow the necessary educational programme.

5. Family members

You also can settle with your spouse or a parent, also with your child under certain conditions.

6. Existing residence permit holders

If you already have a residence permit and apply for a new one (for example when changing employers), you also need not worry about the quota.

7. Employment as a top specialist

Who is a top specialist? It is actually defined by certain criteria of the employer:

Residence permit for employment as a top specialist can be granted to an alien, provided that the company where an alien shall be employed has been registered in Estonia at least 12 months and the company complies with at least one of the following requirements:

  • The company has at least 65,000 euros of equity capital, which has been used for purchasing in Estonia and classing as fixed assets immovable property, machines or devices or used for making an investment into a company registered in another commercial register of Estonia, which has real economic activities in Estonia or into an investment fund created or established according to the Investment Funds Act

  • the sales revenue of the company shall be at least 200,000 euros per year

  • the social tax paid in Estonia monthly for the persons employed by the company shall be at least equal with the social tax paid in Estonia monthly on the remuneration equalling fivefold Estonian annual average gross wages

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