Here you will find questions and answers about the security situation in Europe and its effects on Estonia. The material is being updated!
I am a citizen of Russia or Belarus. Am I able to come to Estonia for short-term work or to do business?
No, if you do not have a valid legal basis for staying in Estonia then, starting from April 9, 2022, the issuing of temporary residence permits or visas for working or doing business to Russian or Belarusian citizens was suspended.
The following activities have been suspended:
- no visas are issued to Russian and Belarusian citizens for working, doing distance work or business, including start-up entrepreneurship
- no residence permits are granted to Russian and Belarusian citizens for working or entrepreneurship (including start-up entrepreneurship or to large-scale investors)
- no registration of short-term employment of Russian or Belarusian citizens, unless the person has a legal basis for stay in Estonia.
The restriction applies to Russian and Belarusian citizens who want to apply for a registration of short-term employment in Estonia, or a visa or residence permit for working or entrepreneurship.
The sanctions do not extend to:
- granting residence permits to Russian and Belarusian citizens on other grounds
- Russian and Belarusian citizens who are extending their residence permit for working or entrepreneurship, or who hold the abovementioned residence permit and are applying for a new residence permit for working due to a change of employer
- granting a long-term visa to Russian and Belarusian citizens who have a registration of short-term employment and are staying in Estonia with a legal basis for stay.
Important! All visas already issued are valid until their date of expiry; the restriction also does not apply to extending the period of stay in Estonia. However, the sanctions do apply to those applications that are still being processed.
Are Russian and Belarusian citizens also no longer able to apply for long-term visas (the so-called D visas) or temporary residence permits for coming to work and study in Estonia?
They are. Estonian foreign representations in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Pskov and Minsk, as well as visa centres of the outside service provider in the Russian Federation and Belarus have suspended the issuing of new visas (including long-term visas), including for coming to work and study here.
The issuing of temporary residence permits to Russian and Belarusian citizens to come to work or do business in Estonia has also been suspended; on certain conditions it is possible to apply for a residence permit to come to study (presuming that the school is willing to accept them).
Existing residence permits and bases for staying and working in Estonia are not cancelled by the state, and if they exist, it is possible to apply for extending them or for changing the basis for their stay in Estonia, in accordance with the law.
Where can an Estonian entrepreneur get information and advice if he has questions regarding supply chains and export partners?
If there are questions and problems regarding the supply chains and export partners due to the war in Ukraine and the related sanctions, it is possible to turn to the helpline of the Enterprise Estonia and Kredex joint body, 627 9432 (Mon-Fri 9.00-17.00) or to describe your problems in the online portal: https://eas.ee/form/infoliin/ (in Estonian).
The joint body is calling upon all Estonian companies directly or indirectly affected by the war in Ukraine to notify of their problems, in order to plan the state support going forward.
Who will be able to exceptionally apply for a visa at the Estonian foreign representations in Moscow and Minsk?
The Estonian foreign representations continue to accept visa applications of those Russian and Belarusian citizens who want to come to Estonia to visit family members or for humanitarian reasons, like a severe illness or a funeral of a close relative.
More specifically, the possibility to submit a visa application is exceptionally available for a citizen of the Russian Federation or Belarus:
- whose direct descendant or ascendant (child, grandchild, parent, grandparent), or spouse is an Estonian citizen, a person who has an Estonian residence permit or a right to reside in Estonia;
- who is applying for a visa on humanitarian grounds (the funeral of a close relative, illnesses, including caring for a sick close relative);
- who is applying for a visa for urgent medical reasons (treatment at a medical institution).
In order to visit a family member, it is required to add documentation proving kinship to the visa application (a birth certificate, a marriage certificate etc.).
What kind of sanctions have been enacted against Russia?
In order to stop Russia's military aggression in Ukraine, the European Union has enacted several large and effective packages of sanctions. The goal of the sanctions is to create serious consequences for the Russian economy and state-owned companies, isolate the Russian financial system and limit their access to high-end technologies For instance:
- Sanctions have been enacted against hundreds of individuals who have directly or indirectly undermined Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- Larger Russian banks have been cut off from the SWIFT system, the assets of several Russian banks have been frozen and their transactions have been restricted.
- Russian planes and the private planes of oligarchs have been banned from entering the European Union airspace.
- The broadcasting of the content of the Kremlin media channels Russia Today and Sputnik has been stopped in the European Union.
The sanctions have already impacted Russia's economic and financial system, but the toughening of the sanctions must be continued, as Russia is not keeping to its promises and is continuing to attack Ukraine.
There are also sanctions enacted against the Russian ally Belarus.
More about the sanctions can be read from the web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Estonian).
Are medicines no longer brought to Estonia from Russia or Belarus?
People's lives will not be put in danger. The State Agency of Medicines has not banned bringing medicines from Russia or Belarus. There are no medicines with a marketing authorisation coming to Estonia from those countries but some medicines that do not have a marketing authorisation are brought based on special applications.
The State Agency of Medicines recommends that wholesalers find alternative delivery channels, in order to be sure that the medicines reach people in a timely manner regardless of the military activities in Ukraine.
Bringing medicines across the border for one's own use is allowed on the same conditions as before. A special permit needs to be requested in order to travel with certain medicines (this applies mainly to narcotic and psychotropic medicines but also for quantities). More information: www.ravimiamet.ee/en/human-medicines/manufacture-distribution-pharmacy/travelling-medicinal-products.
Where can I find information on whether and how to restrict the participation of Russian and Belarusian companies in Estonian public procurements?
Due to the illegal military actions of the Russian Federation and Belarus in Ukraine, guidelines have been developed on the options of restricting the participation of companies from the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus in public procurements, along with sample conditions. The guidelines cover restricting participation in public procurements based on the bidder's/participant's place of residence or location, to the subjects of international sanctions (including goods), in network sector procurements (based on the provenance of the goods) and in procurements in the defence and security sectors.
The guidelines can be found on the web page of the Ministry of Finance (in Estonian).
In relation to receiving war refugees, we would also like to recall that in 2015 the European Commission has published a communication "Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on Public Procurement rules in connection with the current asylum crisis". The conditioned referred to in the mentioned communication can be used now as well but it must be kept in mind that the basis must be Directive 2014/24/EL, which is currently in force.