Moving to Estonia from the US

If you’re moving to Estonia, tere tulemast! (welcome!) You can look forward to an innovative, digital-first country full of beautiful forests, waterfalls, and English speakers.

Whether you’re moving to Estonia alone, or moving to Estonia with your family, we’ve got you covered, from the job market to the climate.

We can also offer you free quotes for shipping your possessions. If you fill in the form above, you can see just how much moving your life to Estonia would cost.

a view of tallinn, estonia

Tallinn is home to a third of Estonia's population

an infographic about estonia

Cost of shipping to Estonia from the US 

We’ve calculated the average international shipping rates for some of our most sought-after journeys from major US cities to popular destinations in Estonia.

The rates are sourced from Freightos.com, and are based on the port-to-port transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture worth $49,000 – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance).

The durations are sourced from Searates.com.

This information was last updated in June 2020.

Bear in mind these are estimates only. If you’d like a more accurate idea of how much shipping to Estonia will cost you, just pop your details into this form, and our suppliers will get back to you.

RouteCostDuration
New York City to Tallinn

879 ()

12.8 days
Los Angeles to Tallinn

1,758 ()

27.5 days
Miami to Tallinn

799 ()

15.3 days

Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.

Select the size of your move to get free quotes

Cost of flying goods to Estonia from the US

These rates are also sourced from Freightos.com, and are based on the airport-to-airport transportation of much lighter goods – 250kg of household goods, to be precise – worth £$49,000, from New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami to Tallinn, Estonia.

But watch out: while air freight is undoubtedly quicker than other methods, it’s also 12-16 times more expensive than shipping your possessions, according to The World Bank – and in this specific case, shipping could save you $1,400.

RouteCostDuration
New York City to Tallinn

2,264 ()

10 hours
Los Angeles to Tallinn

2,264 ()

10 hours (after 6 days of transit to Miami)
Miami to Tallinn

2,264 ()

10 hours
mountain, forest, and lake in Rummu, Estonia

Estonia is a technological and natural wonderland

Healthcare in Estonia

If you’re planning on moving to Estonia for six months or less, you’ll need private insurance.

You’re legally obliged to get a policy which:

  • Will be valid throughout your stay
  • Has a minimum coverage of €30,000 ($33,900) 
  • Covers the Schengen area – that’s every member of the European Union, plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein

If you’re moving to Estonia for a bit longer, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit.

This will allow you to access the universal Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF), or Haigekassa.

The EHIF guarantees the same level of quality across the country’s 19 public hospitals, whether you’re employed at a company, freelancing, or unemployed.

Estonia came 31st in the world for healthcare in a 2018 study published in The Lancet – just two places lower than the US. Healthcare also costs just $2,231 per person – 79% less than the US – according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Before your big move to Estonia, it’s wise to take some time to consider what type of medical cover you want when you’re out there.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Cigna for private medical insurance in Estonia. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for more flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

Start building a customised plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.

Cost of living in Estonia

Estonia is one of the cheapest European countries to live in, and it compares favorably with the majority of the US.

Watch out, though – salaries in Estonia tend to be a lot lower than they are in the States. You should get by comfortably, as long as you don’t spend your earnings all at once.

Good / serviceAverage cost
A pint of beer$2.20
A monthly gym subscription$48.05
1 gallon of petrol$5.79
A mid-range bottle of wine$9.01
1 gallon of milk$3.14
Loaf of bread$0.90
12 eggs$1.73
Single ticket on public transport$1.69 (Free in Tallinn)
1-bedroom flat monthly rent$452
3-bedroom flat monthly rent$727

(Data sourced from Numbeo)

Transferring money to Estonia from the US

If you’re thinking of moving to Estonia, you’ll probably need to convert some of your American dollars into euros.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Wise, an easy-to-use online international money transfer service which uses the real exchange rate, and charges low fees.

How much could you save? Well, its service can be up to 8x cheaper than high street banks.

Join more than 7 million people and start using Wise today.

Working in Estonia

Estonia is a great place for innovative expats.

From having the third-most startups per person in Europe, and the fact that half of the votes in its 2019 election were electronic, to the free wifi in all public places – this is a nation solving problems in progressive ways, especially in its capital, Tallinn.

Plus, if you want to move to a European country where people speak English every day, Estonia is one of the best places to live, according to a 2016 European Commission report.

Getting a work visa for Estonia

If you’re moving to Estonia for six months or less, you need a D-visa. Just fill in this application and present it at your local embassy with:

  • A 35x45mm color photo of yourself
  • A travel document (usually your passport)
  • Your health insurance policy
  • A confirmation letter from your host
  • Documents that prove you have a job in Estonia, somewhere to live, and enough money to get by (usually a bank statement)

If you’ll be in Estonia longer than six months, you need a temporary residence permit for employment.

Requirements vary depending on your circumstances, but you can find everything you need on this government website.

Average salary in Estonia

The average monthly gross salary in Estonia is €1,451 ($1,646), as of March 2020, according to government agency Statistics Estonia.

That means the average annual salary is €17,412 ($19,720).

Income tax in Estonia

You’ll pay a 20% income tax rate in Estonia.

However, there is a basic exemption. If you earn €14,400 ($16,320) or less per year, you’ll get the first €6,000 tax-free, and only pay income tax on the rest of your earnings.

If you make €25,200 ($28,550) or more per year, you won’t get a basic exemption, and will be taxed 20% of your entire salary.

Everyone else, whose salaries exist in-between these two amounts, will have different amounts of their salary exempted from income tax, which can be worked out using a tax calculator.

Someone with the average Estonian salary of €17,412 ($19,720), for instance, would receive a basic exemption of €4,327 ($4,905) – or 25% – and then pay €2,617 ($2,967) in income tax.

That’s a 15% income tax rate for the average employee in Estonia.

And don’t worry about filing tax returns if you have an employer. They’re obliged to take your tax out of your wages on a monthly basis.

Job hunting in Estonia

Estonia has recovered admirably since the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, but there are still plenty of positions waiting to be filled.

The country’s reputation as a digital pioneer comes to the fore in areas like job hunting. 

Check out the government’s job postings site, which has hundreds of roles available on a daily basis, and CV.ee, the foremost job finder in the country – which is thankfully available in English.

Climate in Estonia

Prepare yourself for cold winters and mild summers.

The mean temperature stays below 40°F from November to March, with lows of 14°F, so wrap up warm and enjoy the glorious snow – before warming up inside with a mug of Estonian-style mulled wine, called hõõgvein.

You’ll only be able to enjoy about six hours of sunlight at the turn of the year, so make the most of them.

Summer is June, July, and August, like most of the Northern Hemisphere, but it’ll only occasionally get above 75°F.

Humidity is a constant all year round though, even if it only rains about every third day, on average – so get your hair game ready for that.

Does it snow in Estonia?

It absolutely does. The snow is heaviest from December to March, but you can expect those fluffy white flakes to start falling at the end of October, and not stop until mid-April.

And don’t be surprised if July brings a few frozen fractals too.

The best places to live in Estonia

Estonia may be small, but it’s made up of more than 2,200 islands, so there’s plenty of choice when it comes to picking a home.

Tallinn: best for work

If you want to work in a technologically advanced location, where everyone is connected and everyday problems are met with digital solutions, Tallinn is the place for you.

Wifi will follow you as you walk through the capital’s gorgeous Old Town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and along the lengthy beachfront promenades which line the city.

And if you’re in a rush, don’t worry – all public transport is free. The pioneering scheme, which began in 2013, reportedly makes the city €20m per year.

Tallinn is home to 32% of the country’s population – and it’s not hard to see why.

Tartu: best for students

Tartu is the perfect destination for students – small enough to quickly learn your way around, but varied enough to keep your interest.

Estonia’s second-biggest city is home to Tartu University – founded in 1632 by the King of Sweden – which welcomes 13,000 students every year, including 1,200 from abroad.

Students make up one-seventh of the south-eastern city’s population, meaning you’ll be living in a sort of youthful utopia most of the time.

Embrace Tartu Vaim (the Spirit of Tartu) by taking your new friends to the historic Werner Cafe, popping into the old observatory for a look at the stars, then heading over to the Kissing Students sculpture and fountain for drinks.

Pärnu: best for families

In Pärnu, you can raise your family right by the beach, in a small, friendly community.

The south-western town of 40,000 people was founded in 1251, so alongside the excellent pizza, sandy beaches, and Nüüdismuusika Päevad (new music festival), there’s a storied past to explore.

Stroll past charming mid-1800s timber villas on your way to the stunning neoclassicist building that houses the Pärnu Mud Baths, which have provided Estonians with a relaxing break from life for around a century.

Then round off the day with a trip to the adorable Lottemaa Theme Park, where your young kids will become engrossed in the lore of Lotte and her cute animal friends.

Next steps

You’re now ready to enjoy everything Estonia has to offer, from digital innovation to hõõgvein.

And you won’t be alone, either – the country is home to hundreds of thousands of expats, to the extent that only two-thirds of people are native Estonians, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

You can take the next step by filling in this form for free shipping quotes from trusted specialists who can move your belongings to your new home.