Changes to immigration and granting residence permits in Estonia
1. Previously when a person was applying for a residence permit as a member of a board, the permission from the Estonian Unemployment Fund was not necessary, it was also not necessary to meet the salary criterion of an alien. Starting from 01.07.2012, these requirements only apply if a person is applying as a board member of a legal person governed by public law. If a person is applying as a board member of a legal person governed by private law, the permission from the Estonian Unemployment Fund is still not necessary, but the person must meet the salary criterion that is at least equal to the latest annual average wages in Estonia published by Statistics Estonia, multiplied by the coefficient 1.24. As of right now, the sum is 1050 EUR.
2. There are new requirements when applying as member of the board of a legal person governed by private law :
1) the legal person governed by private law must have been registered in the Estonian Commercial register at least 5 months previous to filing the application for a residence permit;
2) the legal person governed by private law must have had an actual business in Estonia at least for 5 months previous to filing the application for a residence permit;
3) the settlement of an applicant is significatly important to attainment of the object of the legal person.
3. Changes to residence permit for business:
1) residence permit may be granted if:
1.1. an alien is holding shares of a company or is acting as a sole proprietor;
1.2. company or sole proprietor is registered in Estonian Commercial register;
1.3. alien has sufficent monetary resources for engaging in business in Estonia.
2) new requirements for sums needed to be invested before applying for a residence permit:
2.1. 65 000 EUR for a company
2.2. 16 000 EUR for a sole proprietor
2.3. equity capital, subordinated liability, the sum of fixed assets are counted in the sum that needs to be invested.
3) extention of residence permit in case of a company: 1 year after receiving residence permit for business the following conditions might be filled instead of requirement of 65 000 EUR:
3.1. company's sales revenue is at least 200 000 EUR per year or
3.2. the paid social tax (33%) is at least 5 times the social tax paid for the avarage salary in Estonia (currently the average salary is 847 EUR before taxes).
4) an alien holding the residence permit for business may work as a member of the board without fee if at least one other legal person governed by private law is meeting the salary requirements of an alien and paying salary to the alien in the sum of at least 1050 EUR per month.
5) application for residence permit for business may be submitted in Estonia, provided that the following conditions are fulfilled:
- the company has been registered in Estonia at least 4 months prior the submission of an application for residence permit;
- the company has conducted business activities in Estonia at least during the last 4 months;
- the person is staying in Estonia legally on the basis of visa-free stay or visa in connection with the activities of the company.
- The description of business plan must be submitted either in Estonian or English language.