Residence permit for settling permanently in Estonia
Residence permit for settling permanently in Estonia (not to be confused with long-term residence permit) could be the next step after you have lived in Estonia based on a temporary residence permit and it is time for applying for an extension.
Residence permit for settling permanently offers some more beneficial terms, mainly that there is no income requirement anymore that is tied to the Estonian average salary. But let us look at the other conditions as well. You can apply for this type of residence permit if:
you have settled in Estonia based on a temporary residence permit and your permanent settling in Estonia is in compliance with public interests;
you have resided permanently in Estonia at least 3 years within the 5 consecutive years (except if you have obtained higher education in Estonia in the Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral study);
you are well adapted in Estonia;
your activities so far have been in compliance with the purpose and terms for granting the residence permit to you.
Most of these conditions do not raise any issues but a it is worth noting that the calculations of 3 years within 5 years underwent some legal changes recently (in May 2022) - namely studying time is not taken into account anymore. It does not affect the permits already given but unfortunately people who were studying at the time of the changes and were maybe relying on the existing law also lose this right.
The other important conditions here is that you need to prove that you have sufficient legal income (that is not the average salary requirement but something different). Sufficient legal income is also something that can change from year to year and also depends on the number of family/household members. The amount per month is 200 euros and 160 euros for the next family member, 240 euros for a child.
There is no requirement for language courses/levels but it certainly helps as it shows intent to settle in Estonia (to show you have "adapted well"). It can help the application if you show connection to Estonian life such as hobbies, attending courses or events etc.
If there have been fines issued then be ready to explain why these have happened. Also it is likely the Police and Border Guard will inspect your social media pages.
It is possible to apply for the residence permit for settling permanently in Estonia in foreign representation of Estonia or at the Police and Border Guard Board service office – both in person.