New Visa and Work Permit Restrictions on Citizens of Russia and Belarus in Estonia

The Estonian government approved a sanction restricting the opportunities for Russian and Belarusian citizens to work or do business in Estonia and suspending the issuance of visas and residence permits.

Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani noted that the sanction is an additional step to avoid a contradiction, where international and state sanctions restrict the economy and investments of Russia and Belarus, but at the same time give citizens of these countries residence permits to do business and work in Estonia. “We must decisively restrict the opportunities for the citizens of these two countries to come to Estonia and settle,” he emphasized.

The state does not revoke existing residence permits and the grounds for staying and working in Estonia, and a person can also apply for an extension or change of the basis for staying in Estonia in accordance with the law.

Thus, on the basis of a residence permit already issued for work, a Russian or Belarusian citizen can apply for a repeated residence permit in order to work for another employer. If the conditions provided by law are not met or the person has violated Estonian law, he or she loses the right to stay in Estonia. For example, a residence permit is revoked if a person has incited national, racial, religious, or political hatred or violence, or has committed a criminal offense.

They can continue to travel to Estonia within the framework of family migration or for humanitarian reasons.

As Estonian Interior Minister Christian Jaani explains, the decision was made by the Russians to prevent the avoidance of sanctions. According to the Minister, Russian citizens have made several attempts to do so.