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International Travel

English

Country Information

Estonia

Country Information

Estonia
Republic of Estonia
Last Updated: August 1, 2017
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

3 months recommended before departure from Schengen zone.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page per entry stamp.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

None

 

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Tallinn

Kentmanni 20
15099 Tallinn
Estonia

Telephone: +(372) 668-8128

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(372) 509-2129 or +(372) 668-8169

or you may call +(372) 668-8100 and ask to speak to the “duty officer.”

Fax: +(372) 668-8267

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Destination Description

Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Estonia for information on U.S. - Estonian relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Estonia is a party to the Schengen Agreement. Visit the Embassy of Estonia website for the most current visa information.

  • Passports should be valid for at least six months beyond your stay.  For further details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
  • If you plan to stay in Estonia more than 90 days, you may apply for a longer term visa from the Consulate General of Estonia in New York (telephone 212 883 0636).
  • You can find information on residency permits by visiting the Police & Border Guard’s website and clicking on “Services.”
  • You may also obtain additional information about Estonia from the Embassy of Estonia in Washington, DC (telephone 202-588-0101).

HIV/AIDS RESTRICTIONS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Estonia.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  

Please visit the customs information sheet for customs regulations.

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Safety and Security

Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. 

  • Estonia experiences large, peaceful demonstrations related to political issues.
  • You should avoid demonstrations, and exercise caution if within the vicinity of any event.
  • You are required by law to wear small reflectors on clothing during the dark, winter months in Estonia.
  • Fines for refusing to wear the reflectors range from $50.to $500 USD.

To stay connected:

CRIME: Estonia is a relatively safe country, although petty crime in Tallinn’s Old Town is an ongoing concern.

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Crimes of opportunity such as purse snatching and pick-pocketing are common during the summer tourism season.
  • Small groups of thieves target places frequented by tourists in Tallinn’s Old Town, in particular the Town Hall Square (“Raekoja Plats”), the airport, train stations, bus stations, and the Central Market .
  • Individuals have reported being harassed for racial reasons or because they appear or sound “foreign”.
  • Be aware of credit card fraud and internet-based financial and dating scams.   
  • Be aware of scams in bars and tourist pubs. Pay special attention to drink prices, as they may rise to exorbitant levels for tourists.  Management may use force to secure payment.   

VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  •  help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line for police, ambulance, or fire in Estonia is 112. Many operators speak English, but there are times when those answering may have minimal English speaking skills.

Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States. Please remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Estonia, you are subject to its laws. 

Regardless of local law, you can be prosecuted in the United States under U.S. law if you:

  • Engage in sexual conduct with children or use/disseminate child pornography in a foreign country
  • Buy pirated goods

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested, you should ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

  • If you violate Estonia’s laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Estonia are severe. You can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
  • Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail.
  • Your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Estonia is part of the Eurozone and only euros are accepted.

  • Bank and currency exchange counters may refuse to accept U.S. currency that is crumpled, torn, discolored, or defaced. Bring newer U.S. bills with you if you plan to exchange for euros in Estonia.
  • ATMs are widely available in Tallinn and in major towns.  For security purposes, it is recommended that visitors use ATMs located inside major hotels or shopping malls.
  • Be aware that some ATMs accept credit cards with computer chips.

Customs:

WOMEN TRAVELERS:  If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.                    

LGBTI RIGHTS: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Estonia. Estonian law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics, and the government generally respects these prohibitions. While the law is not specific regarding the forms of sexual orientation and gender identity covered, in practice all are understood to be included. Despite this, many Estonian LGBTI activists report the authorities are unwilling to aggressively prosecute possible misdemeanors under laws involving incitement to hatred.

  • LGBTI travelers should consider exercising caution when visiting Estonia, especially when expressing affection in public because local advocacy groups report incidents of verbal or physical assault have resulted.
  • See the English-language website of the Estonian visitor’s bureau for specific information regarding the LGBTI community in Estonia.

For more detailed information about LGBTI rights in Estonia, you may review the State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2016.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

PERSONS WITH MOBILITY ISSUES: Estonian law requires that most new public buildings and others with community space (e.g., shopping centers) be accessible for persons with disabilities. However, many older buildings are not required to meet these requirements. In general, public transport is not accommodating to people with mobility disabilities, although selected Tallinn public buses, trams, and trolleys are specially equipped to assist persons in wheelchairs.

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Health

Medical care in Estonia falls short of Western standards outside the larger cities such as Tallinn  Tartu and Pärnu. Many medical professionals in Estonia are highly-trained, but some hospitals and clinics still suffer from a lack of equipment and resources. Many doctors speak at least some English.

Local Health Concerns:

  • Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and Lyme-disease are widespread throughout the country. Use CDC recommended insect repellents containing either 20% DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 to help diminish bites from ticks and other insects if you intend to visit parks or forested areas (even within parks in Tallinn).
  • Tick-borne encephalitis vaccinations are given as a series of three doses, and are not available in the United States. 
  • There are no vaccines against Lyme disease.
  • Hepatitis A is a significant health concern in Estonia.
  • Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Estonia. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
  • HIV prevalence in Estonia is among the highest in the European Union.  Estonia’s epidemic is largely concentrated in Tallinn and Ida-Viru county in the northeast. While transmission from intravenous drug use remains the main infection route, sexual transmission rates are growing.

You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will cover you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:

  • Does my policy apply when I’m outside of the United States?
  • Will it cover emergencies like a trip to a foreign hospital or a medical evacuation?

In many places,

  • Payment in cash is expected at the time of service. 
  • Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits in other countries or may not make timely payments for services provided. 
  • Your policy doesn’t cover you when you travel. you should to take out additional coverage for your trip. 

For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.

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Travel and Transportation

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

  • If you plan to drive in Estonia, you must have both your valid U.S. driver’s license and a valid International Driving Permit (IDP), which you can obtain from either the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance before departing the United States.
  • Other international driving permits are not recognized by Estonian authorities.
  • If you obtain an Estonian residence permit, you must obtain an Estonian driver’s license.
  • Contact the Estonian Road Administration authority (ARK) for information on obtaining an Estonian driver’s license.     

Traffic Laws:

  • Driving while intoxicated is a very serious offense and carries heavy penalties.
  • You must use your headlights at all times.
  • The use of seatbelts, both front and rear, is mandatory in Estonia, as are car seats for infants.
  • Talking on cell phones while driving is prohibited, except when using a hands-free system.
  • It is illegal to turn right on a red light.
  • Do not attempt to move the vehicle to the side of the road until the police reach the scene if you are in an accident. The Eesti Autoklubi (Estonian Auto Club), which is affiliated with AAA, provides emergency roadside assistance. You do not need to be a member to receive assistance, although fees are lower for members. To request roadside assistance or towing service, dial 1888.

Public Transportation:

  • Public transportation is generally considered safe, but travelers are encouraged to select well-marked taxis.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. 

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Estonia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Estonia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

 

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Tallinn

Kentmanni 20
15099 Tallinn
Estonia

Telephone: +(372) 668-8128

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(372) 509-2129 or +(372) 668-8169

or you may call +(372) 668-8100 and ask to speak to the “duty officer.”

Fax: +(372) 668-8267

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General Information

Estonia and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since May 1, 2007.

For information concerning travel to Estonia, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Estonia.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Estonia.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Website:  travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

The Estonia Central Authority (ECA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice.  The ECA reviews applications for completeness, translates necessary documents, and forwards applications to the competent civil court in the jurisdiction where the child resides.  The ECA can be reached at:

Ministry of Justice
Tönismägi 5A
15191 Tallinn
Estonia
Telephone: +372 620 8100
Fax: +372 620 8109
Email: central.authority@just.ee
Website

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Estonia, the applicant should submit a Hague application to the U.S. Central Authority (USCA), along with a statement of the circumstances leading up to and including the removal.  The applicant should also provide a description of subsequent efforts to recover and/or maintain contact with the child, and any evidence demonstrating that the United States is the child’s habitual residence.  If it has been over one year since the child was abducted, the applicant should include a statement concerning the reason for the delay before filing the application.  Although the ECA accepts documents in both English and Estonian, any documents that will be used in a court proceeding must be translated into Estonian.  The ECA will assist with such translation free of charge.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the ECA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Estonian central authorities.  If the applicant parent does not qualify for legal aid from the Estonian government, he/she is responsible for all attorneys’ fees.  The parent’s attorney may be able to recoup some of the costs from the taking parent by petitioning the court.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Estonia.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Estonia.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

Legal aid is available from the Government of Estonia to qualifying applicants.  If an applicant qualifies for legal aid, the Estonian court will appoint a private attorney to represent the parent in the Hague case.  The ECA provides assistance to applicants in completing the necessary forms and disclosures in order to petition a court for legal aid.  Parents who do not qualify for legal aid must retain a private attorney to represent them at trial.

The U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

In Estonia, mediation can function as either an alternative or a supplement to Hague litigation.  Mediation can take place at any point in the Hague process, and the court also has the option of ordering that parties participate in mediation.  The ECA can provide referrals for mediators, who can come from either legal or social work backgrounds. Parties are responsible for costs associated with mediation; however, if a party has been granted financial aid by the court, the costs of mediation will be covered. Further information about mediation in Estonia can be found at this website.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

WARNING: Estonia is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Estonia before a U.S. consular officer issues an "Article 5 Letter." See the "How to Adopt" section for more information.

Estonia is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, all adoptions between Estonia and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA implementing regulations. 

Note: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Read About Transition Cases. There is no current agreement with the United States  promoting domestic adoption.

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Estonia is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Estonia, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government.  The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more on Who Can Adopt.

According to the Estonian Family Law only those children whose parents are deceased or whose parents have had their parental rights taken away may be adopted. There are few such children and long waiting lists of Estonian families who by law take precedence. Consequently, identifying a child for adoption can be lengthy (several years or more) as the number of children that can be adopted by foreigners is quite limited (only about 20 children a year). Since foreign parents with Estonian background are given preference over foreigners with no Estonian heritage, prospective adoptive parents should explain their ties to Estonia.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Estonia also has the following eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents in Estonia.
  • Age Requirements: A prospective adoptive parent must be at least 25 years old. In exceptional cases, the Court may give permission to a younger person.
  • Marriage Requirements: Both single individuals and legally married couples can adopt. Married couples must have the written consent of the spouse. Per the Estonian Family Law Act, an adoption can occur without the consent of the spouse if the conjugal relations of the spouses have terminated and they live apart.
  • Income Requirements: Estonia does not have any income requirements for intercountry adoptions.
  • Other Requirements: Same-sex couples cannot adopt in Estonia.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Estonia is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, children from Estonia must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Estonia attempt to place a child with a family in Estonia before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Estonia’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States. 

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment Requirements: No known relinquishment requirements
  • Abandonment Requirements: According to the Estonian Family Law only those children whose parents are deceased or whose parents have had their parental rights taken away may be adopted.
  • Age Requirements: No known age requirements
  • Sibling Requirements: No known sibling requirements
  • Requirements for Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Unknown
  • Waiting Period: Unknown
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How to Adopt

WARNING: Estonia is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Estonia before a U.S. consular officer issues an "Article 5 Letter." Read on for more information.

Estonia's Adoption Authority
Ministry of Social Affairs 
(Sotsiaal Ministeerium) 

THE PROCESS

Because Estonia is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Estonia must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Estonia before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Read about Transition Cases for more information.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Estonia
  6. Bring your Child Home
  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

    The first step in adopting a child from Estonia is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Estonia. We provide a list of Accredited Adoption Service Providers on our website.

    Adoption Hope International is currently the only registered U.S. adoption agency working in Estonia. The address and website for Adoption Hope International is:

    Adoption Hope International, Inc.
    284 Shoreward Drive
    Myrtle Beach, SC 29579

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more about Eligibility Requirements.

    Once the U.S. Government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Estonia. Estonia's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Estonia's law.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    Once prospective adoptive parents have been approved to adopt, the Ministry places them on a list and begins the process of locating a suitable match. Once a match is found, the Ministry notifies the prospective adoptive parents (through the adoption agency).

    According to the Estonian Family Law only those children whose parents are deceased or whose parents have had their parental rights taken away may be adopted. There are few such children and long waiting lists of Estonian families who by law take precedence. Consequently, identifying a child for adoption can be lengthy (several years or more) as the number of children that can be adopted by foreigners is quite limited (only about 20 children a year). Since foreign parents with Estonian background are given preference over foreigners with no Estonian heritage, prospective adoptive parents should explain their ties to Estonia.

    The Ministry of Social Affairs cautions that prospective adoptive parents should not visit orphanages to locate a child since it is unlikely that the child they choose will be permitted to be adopted by foreigners. According to the new adoption law, international adoptions may be processed through an adoption agency in the parents’ home country which has signed an agreement with the Ministry.

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.

    After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy. The consular officer will review the child’s information and evaluate the child for possible visa inelegibilities.

    If the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he or she will send a letter (an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Estonian Central Authority. Do not adopt or obtain custody of a child in Estonia before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter.  

    Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Estonia

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Estonia, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purpose of adoption in Estonia.

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Estonia generally includes the following:

    • Role of The Adoption Authority: The Ministry of Social Affairs prepares the entire package of adoption documents for approval first by the Minister of Social Affairs and then for the county or city court to make the adoption decision.

      Once prospective adoptive parents have been approved to adopt, the Ministry places them on a list and begins the process of locating a suitable match. Once a match is found, the Ministry notifies the prospective adoptive parents (through the adoption agency).

    • Role of The Court: Estonian adoption law requires court approval of international adoptions and the adoptive parents' presence at the court hearing when the adoption is finalized. The Domiciliary County Government's Children Protection Officer represents the child's rights and will release the child into the adoptive parents' custody.
    • Role of Adoption Agencies: The adoption agency sends a letter of interest, on behalf of the prospective adoptive parents, to the Ministry of Social Affairs indicating the sex and age of the child(ren) they would be interested in adopting as well as information regarding the prospective adoptive parents' age and profession. Once a child is identified, the adoption agency notifies the prospective adoptive parents. The adoption agency then notifies the Ministry of Social Affairs of the prospective adoptive parents' decision to accept or decline a proposed child. (It should be noted that no more than three successive children will be offered to the prospective adoptive parents.)
    • Time Frame: Once a child has been identified, the adoption process takes approximately one year. This estimate includes matching the child and prospective parents, documentation, and the court hearing. 
    • Adoption Application: The adoption agency forwards the letter of interest and the adoption application to the Ministry of Social Affairs.
    • Adpotion Fees: While there is no official adoption fee in Estonia, some fees prospective adoptive parents should anticipate include court fees ($10 USD) and new Estonian passports ($25 USD).

      In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process. 
    • Documents Required: The following is a list of documents needed for adoptions in Estonia:
      • Home study
      • Medical examination indicating the prospective adoptive parents' state of health;
      • Documents pertaining to the financial condition of the prospective adoptive parents;
      • Copy of marriage certificate;
      • Copies of the prospective adoptive parents' passports;
      • Any other information the parents feel would be useful for the MSW to know, including family heritage, ties to Estonia, letters of reference, etc.; and
      • Documents determining that there is no open criminal record of the prospective adoption parents.

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. Read more on Traveling Abroad to learn about Authenticating U.S. Documents.

  6. Bring Your Child Home

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.  

      After the adoption is approved, the adoptive parents have the right to change the child’s name and apply for a new birth certificate.

    • Estonian Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Estonia.
    • U.S. Immigrant Visa

      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy in Tallinn for your child.  After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child. Read more about the Medical Examination. Specific questions may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia.

      Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview.  Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate or embassy before making final travel arrangements.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents. 

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his or her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. 

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Estonia. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which Passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Estonia, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability. 

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Estonia, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Estonia require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

Estonia does not have any post-adoption requirements.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Estonia
Kentmanni 20
Tallinn, Estonia
Tel: 011-372-668-8100
Fax: 011-372-668-8267
Email: ACSTallinn@state.gov

Estonia's Adoption Authority 
ESTONIAN NATIONAL SOCIAL INSURANCE BOARD
Endla 8
10592 Tallinn
Estonia
Email:  info@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee
Emaill: Ly.Ruus@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee /* 

Embassy of Estonia 
2131 Massachusetts Ave, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 588-0101
Fax: (202) 588-0108

Consulate General of Estonia 
600 Third Avenue, 26th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10016-2001
Tel: (212) 883-0636
Fax:(212) 883-0648
Email: nyconsulate@nyc.estemb.org
Internet: http://www.nyc.estemb.org

Office of Children's Issues 
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about intercountry adoption and related immigration procedures, call the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) 1-877-3424-8374.

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 60 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO-7 1 None Multiple 24 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

NOTE: Estonian birth, marriage, and death records are all managed through their e-governance system. Requests for an official copy of a civil document will result in a print out titled "extract" on plain computer paper. This is the only type of official vital record currently available in Estonia. The official record is available in Estonian, English, German, or French. Certificates of birth and marriage were available prior to July 3, 2010.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available. Copies of birth certificates can be obtained from the Office of Vital Records. [See Marriage and Divorce Records.] Births must be registered with the Office of Vital Records within one month. The parents must present personal identification as well as the birth certification they received from the hospital. If the parents of the child are not married but the father formally recognizes the child, the child will bear the father's surname. If the mother is unmarried and no father recognizes the child, the birth certificate is filled in according to the information provided by the mother, and the child bears her surname.

Death/Burial

Available. Copies of death certificates can be obtained from the Office of Vital Records. [See Marriage and Divorce.]

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available. Copies of marriage or divorce certificates can be obtained by writing to the Office of Vital Records (Perekonnaseisuamet, Lossi Plats, Parnu Mnt 67, EE0100, Tallinn, Eesti). The request must specify the date of the event and the names of the persons involved.

Americans who wish to marry in Estonia must present documentary evidence that they are legally free to marry. All foreign documents should be translated into Estonian and authenticated by Estonian authorities. Although no blood tests are currently required, there is a waiting period of approximately one-month.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Estonia.

Divorce

Available. Copies of marriage or divorce certificates can be obtained by writing to the Office of Vital Records (Perekonnaseisuamet, Lossi Plats, Parnu Mnt 67, EE0100, Tallinn, Eesti). The request must specify the date of the event and the names of the persons involved.

Only residents of Estonia can apply for a divorce in Estonia. Couples without children or joint property may obtain a divorce through the Office of Vital Statistics after a three-month waiting period. In all other cases, a divorce must be obtained in an Estonian court.

Adoption Certificates

Adoption court records are available only to the adoptive child and his/her adoptive parents. A written request should be submitted to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Room 217, Gonsiori 29, EE0104 Tallinn, Eesti.

If the adoptive parents so desire, the Office of Vital Records will issue a new birth certificate for the adopted child that shows them as the parents, and does not indicate the child was adopted. The place of the child's birth can even be changed to match that of the adoptive parents. In such a case, the new birth certificate will not be annotated "correction" (korduv).

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Identity Card

Unavailable.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Residents of Estonia can submit a request for their record in the Estonian Punishment Register (Karistusregister) from any Service Office of the Citizenship and Migration Bureau in Estonia. There is a list of these locations posted on the Estonian Police and Border Guard website, www.politsei.ee.Persons residing outside of Estonia may request a record by mail or email. Mailing address is: Punishment Register, Police and Border Guard Board, Pärnu mnt 139, 11624, Tallinn, Estonia. By e-mail, a digitally signed application has to be sent to karistusregister@politsei.ee.Application forms and further information can also be found on the Police and Border Guard website.

An official record contains a wet seal and indicates if the individual has been registered in the criminal records of the Estonian State Police Board. A clean certificate does not necessarily mean that an individual has never been arrested; records of all but the most serious offenses are routinely expunged after several years.

Court Records

Unavailable.

Prison Records

Unavailable.

Military Records

A certificate of military service (Toend Sojavaeteenistuse Kohta) is available from the National Defense Department (Riigikaitseosakond) Office in the district where one is registered to reside.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

There are five types of Estonian machine-readable, electronic (with embedded computer chip containing biometric information) passports/travel documents.

  1. Estonian passport (Euroopa Liit Eesti Pass): issued to Estonian citizens. Estonian passports are dark-red with gold lettering. Some older non-electronic versions (without embedded computer chip), which are dark-blue or dark-red, remain in circulation.
  2. Estonian diplomatic passport (Euroopa Liit Eesti Diplomaatiline Pass): issued to Estonian diplomats. These are black with gold lettering.
  3. Alien's passport (Välismaalase Pass): issued to stateless Estonian residents. These passports are gray. Some older non-electronic (without embedded computer chip) versions remain in circulation.
  4. Refugee travel document (Reisidokument 28 juuli 1951. a konventsioon): issued to alien refugees who have been granted asylum in Estonia. These documents are dark-green and have two gold stripes in the upper left-hand corner.
  5. Temporary travel document (Ajutine Reisidokument): issued to aliens legally residing in Estonia who do not hold a valid travel document or have the right to receive an alien's passport. These documents are light-green and are issued for one-time travel. The travel document will be endorsed for either for a single departure and return to Estonia or for one-way travel without the right of return to Estonia.
Other Records

Baptismal Records

Sporadically available. Baptismal records may be obtained from the church in which the baptism occurred.

Change of Name Certificates

The Office of Vital Statistics (Perekonnaseisuamet) issues the Certificate of Change of Name (Nime Muutmise Tunnistus) in the district where one is registered to reside. One must have a good reason to change one's name (e.g. because the name sounds foreign or asinine in Estonian).

Visa Issuing Posts

Tallinn, Estonia (Embassy)

U.S. Embassy in Tallinn
Kentmanni 20

Tel: (372) 668-8100

Fax: (372) 668-8267

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Estonia.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 588-0101 (202) 588-0108

New York, NY (212) 883-0636 (212) 883-0648

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Tallinn
Kentmanni 20
15099 Tallinn
Estonia
Telephone
+(372) 668-8128
Emergency
+(372) 509-2129 or +(372) 668-8169
Fax
+(372) 668-8267
Estonia Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Estonia
Republic of Estonia
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

3 months recommended before departure from Schengen zone.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page per entry stamp.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

None

 

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Tallinn

Kentmanni 20
15099 Tallinn
Estonia

Telephone: +(372) 668-8128

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(372) 509-2129 or +(372) 668-8169

or you may call +(372) 668-8100 and ask to speak to the “duty officer.”

Fax: +(372) 668-8267

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Destination Description

Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Estonia for information on U.S. - Estonian relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Estonia is a party to the Schengen Agreement. Visit the Embassy of Estonia website for the most current visa information.

  • Passports should be valid for at least six months beyond your stay.  For further details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
  • If you plan to stay in Estonia more than 90 days, you may apply for a longer term visa from the Consulate General of Estonia in New York (telephone 212 883 0636).
  • You can find information on residency permits by visiting the Police & Border Guard’s website and clicking on “Services.”
  • You may also obtain additional information about Estonia from the Embassy of Estonia in Washington, DC (telephone 202-588-0101).

HIV/AIDS RESTRICTIONS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Estonia.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  

Please visit the customs information sheet for customs regulations.

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Safety and Security

Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. 

  • Estonia experiences large, peaceful demonstrations related to political issues.
  • You should avoid demonstrations, and exercise caution if within the vicinity of any event.
  • You are required by law to wear small reflectors on clothing during the dark, winter months in Estonia.
  • Fines for refusing to wear the reflectors range from $50.to $500 USD.

To stay connected:

CRIME: Estonia is a relatively safe country, although petty crime in Tallinn’s Old Town is an ongoing concern.

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Crimes of opportunity such as purse snatching and pick-pocketing are common during the summer tourism season.
  • Small groups of thieves target places frequented by tourists in Tallinn’s Old Town, in particular the Town Hall Square (“Raekoja Plats”), the airport, train stations, bus stations, and the Central Market .
  • Individuals have reported being harassed for racial reasons or because they appear or sound “foreign”.
  • Be aware of credit card fraud and internet-based financial and dating scams.   
  • Be aware of scams in bars and tourist pubs. Pay special attention to drink prices, as they may rise to exorbitant levels for tourists.  Management may use force to secure payment.   

VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  •  help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line for police, ambulance, or fire in Estonia is 112. Many operators speak English, but there are times when those answering may have minimal English speaking skills.

Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States. Please remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Estonia, you are subject to its laws. 

Regardless of local law, you can be prosecuted in the United States under U.S. law if you:

  • Engage in sexual conduct with children or use/disseminate child pornography in a foreign country
  • Buy pirated goods

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested, you should ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

  • If you violate Estonia’s laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Estonia are severe. You can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
  • Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail.
  • Your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Estonia is part of the Eurozone and only euros are accepted.

  • Bank and currency exchange counters may refuse to accept U.S. currency that is crumpled, torn, discolored, or defaced. Bring newer U.S. bills with you if you plan to exchange for euros in Estonia.
  • ATMs are widely available in Tallinn and in major towns.  For security purposes, it is recommended that visitors use ATMs located inside major hotels or shopping malls.
  • Be aware that some ATMs accept credit cards with computer chips.

Customs:

WOMEN TRAVELERS:  If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.                    

LGBTI RIGHTS: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Estonia. Estonian law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics, and the government generally respects these prohibitions. While the law is not specific regarding the forms of sexual orientation and gender identity covered, in practice all are understood to be included. Despite this, many Estonian LGBTI activists report the authorities are unwilling to aggressively prosecute possible misdemeanors under laws involving incitement to hatred.

  • LGBTI travelers should consider exercising caution when visiting Estonia, especially when expressing affection in public because local advocacy groups report incidents of verbal or physical assault have resulted.
  • See the English-language website of the Estonian visitor’s bureau for specific information regarding the LGBTI community in Estonia.

For more detailed information about LGBTI rights in Estonia, you may review the State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2016.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

PERSONS WITH MOBILITY ISSUES: Estonian law requires that most new public buildings and others with community space (e.g., shopping centers) be accessible for persons with disabilities. However, many older buildings are not required to meet these requirements. In general, public transport is not accommodating to people with mobility disabilities, although selected Tallinn public buses, trams, and trolleys are specially equipped to assist persons in wheelchairs.

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Health

Medical care in Estonia falls short of Western standards outside the larger cities such as Tallinn  Tartu and Pärnu. Many medical professionals in Estonia are highly-trained, but some hospitals and clinics still suffer from a lack of equipment and resources. Many doctors speak at least some English.

Local Health Concerns:

  • Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and Lyme-disease are widespread throughout the country. Use CDC recommended insect repellents containing either 20% DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 to help diminish bites from ticks and other insects if you intend to visit parks or forested areas (even within parks in Tallinn).
  • Tick-borne encephalitis vaccinations are given as a series of three doses, and are not available in the United States. 
  • There are no vaccines against Lyme disease.
  • Hepatitis A is a significant health concern in Estonia.
  • Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Estonia. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
  • HIV prevalence in Estonia is among the highest in the European Union.  Estonia’s epidemic is largely concentrated in Tallinn and Ida-Viru county in the northeast. While transmission from intravenous drug use remains the main infection route, sexual transmission rates are growing.

You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will cover you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:

  • Does my policy apply when I’m outside of the United States?
  • Will it cover emergencies like a trip to a foreign hospital or a medical evacuation?

In many places,

  • Payment in cash is expected at the time of service. 
  • Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits in other countries or may not make timely payments for services provided. 
  • Your policy doesn’t cover you when you travel. you should to take out additional coverage for your trip. 

For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.

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Travel and Transportation

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

  • If you plan to drive in Estonia, you must have both your valid U.S. driver’s license and a valid International Driving Permit (IDP), which you can obtain from either the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance before departing the United States.
  • Other international driving permits are not recognized by Estonian authorities.
  • If you obtain an Estonian residence permit, you must obtain an Estonian driver’s license.
  • Contact the Estonian Road Administration authority (ARK) for information on obtaining an Estonian driver’s license.     

Traffic Laws:

  • Driving while intoxicated is a very serious offense and carries heavy penalties.
  • You must use your headlights at all times.
  • The use of seatbelts, both front and rear, is mandatory in Estonia, as are car seats for infants.
  • Talking on cell phones while driving is prohibited, except when using a hands-free system.
  • It is illegal to turn right on a red light.
  • Do not attempt to move the vehicle to the side of the road until the police reach the scene if you are in an accident. The Eesti Autoklubi (Estonian Auto Club), which is affiliated with AAA, provides emergency roadside assistance. You do not need to be a member to receive assistance, although fees are lower for members. To request roadside assistance or towing service, dial 1888.

Public Transportation:

  • Public transportation is generally considered safe, but travelers are encouraged to select well-marked taxis.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. 

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Estonia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Estonia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

 

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Tallinn

Kentmanni 20
15099 Tallinn
Estonia

Telephone: +(372) 668-8128

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(372) 509-2129 or +(372) 668-8169

or you may call +(372) 668-8100 and ask to speak to the “duty officer.”

Fax: +(372) 668-8267

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General Information

Estonia and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since May 1, 2007.

For information concerning travel to Estonia, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Estonia.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Estonia.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Website:  travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

The Estonia Central Authority (ECA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice.  The ECA reviews applications for completeness, translates necessary documents, and forwards applications to the competent civil court in the jurisdiction where the child resides.  The ECA can be reached at:

Ministry of Justice
Tönismägi 5A
15191 Tallinn
Estonia
Telephone: +372 620 8100
Fax: +372 620 8109
Email: central.authority@just.ee
Website

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Estonia, the applicant should submit a Hague application to the U.S. Central Authority (USCA), along with a statement of the circumstances leading up to and including the removal.  The applicant should also provide a description of subsequent efforts to recover and/or maintain contact with the child, and any evidence demonstrating that the United States is the child’s habitual residence.  If it has been over one year since the child was abducted, the applicant should include a statement concerning the reason for the delay before filing the application.  Although the ECA accepts documents in both English and Estonian, any documents that will be used in a court proceeding must be translated into Estonian.  The ECA will assist with such translation free of charge.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the ECA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Estonian central authorities.  If the applicant parent does not qualify for legal aid from the Estonian government, he/she is responsible for all attorneys’ fees.  The parent’s attorney may be able to recoup some of the costs from the taking parent by petitioning the court.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Estonia.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Estonia.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

Legal aid is available from the Government of Estonia to qualifying applicants.  If an applicant qualifies for legal aid, the Estonian court will appoint a private attorney to represent the parent in the Hague case.  The ECA provides assistance to applicants in completing the necessary forms and disclosures in order to petition a court for legal aid.  Parents who do not qualify for legal aid must retain a private attorney to represent them at trial.

The U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

In Estonia, mediation can function as either an alternative or a supplement to Hague litigation.  Mediation can take place at any point in the Hague process, and the court also has the option of ordering that parties participate in mediation.  The ECA can provide referrals for mediators, who can come from either legal or social work backgrounds. Parties are responsible for costs associated with mediation; however, if a party has been granted financial aid by the court, the costs of mediation will be covered. Further information about mediation in Estonia can be found at this website.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

WARNING: Estonia is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Estonia before a U.S. consular officer issues an "Article 5 Letter." See the "How to Adopt" section for more information.

Estonia is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, all adoptions between Estonia and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA implementing regulations. 

Note: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Read About Transition Cases. There is no current agreement with the United States  promoting domestic adoption.

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Estonia is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Estonia, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government.  The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more on Who Can Adopt.

According to the Estonian Family Law only those children whose parents are deceased or whose parents have had their parental rights taken away may be adopted. There are few such children and long waiting lists of Estonian families who by law take precedence. Consequently, identifying a child for adoption can be lengthy (several years or more) as the number of children that can be adopted by foreigners is quite limited (only about 20 children a year). Since foreign parents with Estonian background are given preference over foreigners with no Estonian heritage, prospective adoptive parents should explain their ties to Estonia.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Estonia also has the following eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents in Estonia.
  • Age Requirements: A prospective adoptive parent must be at least 25 years old. In exceptional cases, the Court may give permission to a younger person.
  • Marriage Requirements: Both single individuals and legally married couples can adopt. Married couples must have the written consent of the spouse. Per the Estonian Family Law Act, an adoption can occur without the consent of the spouse if the conjugal relations of the spouses have terminated and they live apart.
  • Income Requirements: Estonia does not have any income requirements for intercountry adoptions.
  • Other Requirements: Same-sex couples cannot adopt in Estonia.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Estonia is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, children from Estonia must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Estonia attempt to place a child with a family in Estonia before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Estonia’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States. 

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment Requirements: No known relinquishment requirements
  • Abandonment Requirements: According to the Estonian Family Law only those children whose parents are deceased or whose parents have had their parental rights taken away may be adopted.
  • Age Requirements: No known age requirements
  • Sibling Requirements: No known sibling requirements
  • Requirements for Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Unknown
  • Waiting Period: Unknown
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How to Adopt

WARNING: Estonia is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Estonia before a U.S. consular officer issues an "Article 5 Letter." Read on for more information.

Estonia's Adoption Authority
Ministry of Social Affairs 
(Sotsiaal Ministeerium) 

THE PROCESS

Because Estonia is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Estonia must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Estonia before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Read about Transition Cases for more information.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Estonia
  6. Bring your Child Home
  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

    The first step in adopting a child from Estonia is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Estonia. We provide a list of Accredited Adoption Service Providers on our website.

    Adoption Hope International is currently the only registered U.S. adoption agency working in Estonia. The address and website for Adoption Hope International is:

    Adoption Hope International, Inc.
    284 Shoreward Drive
    Myrtle Beach, SC 29579

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more about Eligibility Requirements.

    Once the U.S. Government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Estonia. Estonia's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Estonia's law.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    Once prospective adoptive parents have been approved to adopt, the Ministry places them on a list and begins the process of locating a suitable match. Once a match is found, the Ministry notifies the prospective adoptive parents (through the adoption agency).

    According to the Estonian Family Law only those children whose parents are deceased or whose parents have had their parental rights taken away may be adopted. There are few such children and long waiting lists of Estonian families who by law take precedence. Consequently, identifying a child for adoption can be lengthy (several years or more) as the number of children that can be adopted by foreigners is quite limited (only about 20 children a year). Since foreign parents with Estonian background are given preference over foreigners with no Estonian heritage, prospective adoptive parents should explain their ties to Estonia.

    The Ministry of Social Affairs cautions that prospective adoptive parents should not visit orphanages to locate a child since it is unlikely that the child they choose will be permitted to be adopted by foreigners. According to the new adoption law, international adoptions may be processed through an adoption agency in the parents’ home country which has signed an agreement with the Ministry.

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.

    After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy. The consular officer will review the child’s information and evaluate the child for possible visa inelegibilities.

    If the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he or she will send a letter (an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Estonian Central Authority. Do not adopt or obtain custody of a child in Estonia before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter.  

    Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Estonia

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Estonia, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purpose of adoption in Estonia.

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Estonia generally includes the following:

    • Role of The Adoption Authority: The Ministry of Social Affairs prepares the entire package of adoption documents for approval first by the Minister of Social Affairs and then for the county or city court to make the adoption decision.

      Once prospective adoptive parents have been approved to adopt, the Ministry places them on a list and begins the process of locating a suitable match. Once a match is found, the Ministry notifies the prospective adoptive parents (through the adoption agency).

    • Role of The Court: Estonian adoption law requires court approval of international adoptions and the adoptive parents' presence at the court hearing when the adoption is finalized. The Domiciliary County Government's Children Protection Officer represents the child's rights and will release the child into the adoptive parents' custody.
    • Role of Adoption Agencies: The adoption agency sends a letter of interest, on behalf of the prospective adoptive parents, to the Ministry of Social Affairs indicating the sex and age of the child(ren) they would be interested in adopting as well as information regarding the prospective adoptive parents' age and profession. Once a child is identified, the adoption agency notifies the prospective adoptive parents. The adoption agency then notifies the Ministry of Social Affairs of the prospective adoptive parents' decision to accept or decline a proposed child. (It should be noted that no more than three successive children will be offered to the prospective adoptive parents.)
    • Time Frame: Once a child has been identified, the adoption process takes approximately one year. This estimate includes matching the child and prospective parents, documentation, and the court hearing. 
    • Adoption Application: The adoption agency forwards the letter of interest and the adoption application to the Ministry of Social Affairs.
    • Adpotion Fees: While there is no official adoption fee in Estonia, some fees prospective adoptive parents should anticipate include court fees ($10 USD) and new Estonian passports ($25 USD).

      In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process. 
    • Documents Required: The following is a list of documents needed for adoptions in Estonia:
      • Home study
      • Medical examination indicating the prospective adoptive parents' state of health;
      • Documents pertaining to the financial condition of the prospective adoptive parents;
      • Copy of marriage certificate;
      • Copies of the prospective adoptive parents' passports;
      • Any other information the parents feel would be useful for the MSW to know, including family heritage, ties to Estonia, letters of reference, etc.; and
      • Documents determining that there is no open criminal record of the prospective adoption parents.

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. Read more on Traveling Abroad to learn about Authenticating U.S. Documents.

  6. Bring Your Child Home

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.  

      After the adoption is approved, the adoptive parents have the right to change the child’s name and apply for a new birth certificate.

    • Estonian Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Estonia.
    • U.S. Immigrant Visa

      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy in Tallinn for your child.  After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child. Read more about the Medical Examination. Specific questions may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia.

      Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview.  Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate or embassy before making final travel arrangements.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents. 

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his or her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. 

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Estonia. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which Passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Estonia, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability. 

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Estonia, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Estonia require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

Estonia does not have any post-adoption requirements.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Estonia
Kentmanni 20
Tallinn, Estonia
Tel: 011-372-668-8100
Fax: 011-372-668-8267
Email: ACSTallinn@state.gov

Estonia's Adoption Authority 
ESTONIAN NATIONAL SOCIAL INSURANCE BOARD
Endla 8
10592 Tallinn
Estonia
Email:  info@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee
Emaill: Ly.Ruus@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee /* 

Embassy of Estonia 
2131 Massachusetts Ave, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 588-0101
Fax: (202) 588-0108

Consulate General of Estonia 
600 Third Avenue, 26th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10016-2001
Tel: (212) 883-0636
Fax:(212) 883-0648
Email: nyconsulate@nyc.estemb.org
Internet: http://www.nyc.estemb.org

Office of Children's Issues 
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about intercountry adoption and related immigration procedures, call the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) 1-877-3424-8374.

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 60 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO-7 1 None Multiple 24 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

NOTE: Estonian birth, marriage, and death records are all managed through their e-governance system. Requests for an official copy of a civil document will result in a print out titled "extract" on plain computer paper. This is the only type of official vital record currently available in Estonia. The official record is available in Estonian, English, German, or French. Certificates of birth and marriage were available prior to July 3, 2010.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available. Copies of birth certificates can be obtained from the Office of Vital Records. [See Marriage and Divorce Records.] Births must be registered with the Office of Vital Records within one month. The parents must present personal identification as well as the birth certification they received from the hospital. If the parents of the child are not married but the father formally recognizes the child, the child will bear the father's surname. If the mother is unmarried and no father recognizes the child, the birth certificate is filled in according to the information provided by the mother, and the child bears her surname.

Death/Burial

Available. Copies of death certificates can be obtained from the Office of Vital Records. [See Marriage and Divorce.]

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available. Copies of marriage or divorce certificates can be obtained by writing to the Office of Vital Records (Perekonnaseisuamet, Lossi Plats, Parnu Mnt 67, EE0100, Tallinn, Eesti). The request must specify the date of the event and the names of the persons involved.

Americans who wish to marry in Estonia must present documentary evidence that they are legally free to marry. All foreign documents should be translated into Estonian and authenticated by Estonian authorities. Although no blood tests are currently required, there is a waiting period of approximately one-month.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Estonia.

Divorce

Available. Copies of marriage or divorce certificates can be obtained by writing to the Office of Vital Records (Perekonnaseisuamet, Lossi Plats, Parnu Mnt 67, EE0100, Tallinn, Eesti). The request must specify the date of the event and the names of the persons involved.

Only residents of Estonia can apply for a divorce in Estonia. Couples without children or joint property may obtain a divorce through the Office of Vital Statistics after a three-month waiting period. In all other cases, a divorce must be obtained in an Estonian court.

Adoption Certificates

Adoption court records are available only to the adoptive child and his/her adoptive parents. A written request should be submitted to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Room 217, Gonsiori 29, EE0104 Tallinn, Eesti.

If the adoptive parents so desire, the Office of Vital Records will issue a new birth certificate for the adopted child that shows them as the parents, and does not indicate the child was adopted. The place of the child's birth can even be changed to match that of the adoptive parents. In such a case, the new birth certificate will not be annotated "correction" (korduv).

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Identity Card

Unavailable.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Residents of Estonia can submit a request for their record in the Estonian Punishment Register (Karistusregister) from any Service Office of the Citizenship and Migration Bureau in Estonia. There is a list of these locations posted on the Estonian Police and Border Guard website, www.politsei.ee.Persons residing outside of Estonia may request a record by mail or email. Mailing address is: Punishment Register, Police and Border Guard Board, Pärnu mnt 139, 11624, Tallinn, Estonia. By e-mail, a digitally signed application has to be sent to karistusregister@politsei.ee.Application forms and further information can also be found on the Police and Border Guard website.

An official record contains a wet seal and indicates if the individual has been registered in the criminal records of the Estonian State Police Board. A clean certificate does not necessarily mean that an individual has never been arrested; records of all but the most serious offenses are routinely expunged after several years.

Court Records

Unavailable.

Prison Records

Unavailable.

Military Records

A certificate of military service (Toend Sojavaeteenistuse Kohta) is available from the National Defense Department (Riigikaitseosakond) Office in the district where one is registered to reside.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

There are five types of Estonian machine-readable, electronic (with embedded computer chip containing biometric information) passports/travel documents.

  1. Estonian passport (Euroopa Liit Eesti Pass): issued to Estonian citizens. Estonian passports are dark-red with gold lettering. Some older non-electronic versions (without embedded computer chip), which are dark-blue or dark-red, remain in circulation.
  2. Estonian diplomatic passport (Euroopa Liit Eesti Diplomaatiline Pass): issued to Estonian diplomats. These are black with gold lettering.
  3. Alien's passport (Välismaalase Pass): issued to stateless Estonian residents. These passports are gray. Some older non-electronic (without embedded computer chip) versions remain in circulation.
  4. Refugee travel document (Reisidokument 28 juuli 1951. a konventsioon): issued to alien refugees who have been granted asylum in Estonia. These documents are dark-green and have two gold stripes in the upper left-hand corner.
  5. Temporary travel document (Ajutine Reisidokument): issued to aliens legally residing in Estonia who do not hold a valid travel document or have the right to receive an alien's passport. These documents are light-green and are issued for one-time travel. The travel document will be endorsed for either for a single departure and return to Estonia or for one-way travel without the right of return to Estonia.
Other Records

Baptismal Records

Sporadically available. Baptismal records may be obtained from the church in which the baptism occurred.

Change of Name Certificates

The Office of Vital Statistics (Perekonnaseisuamet) issues the Certificate of Change of Name (Nime Muutmise Tunnistus) in the district where one is registered to reside. One must have a good reason to change one's name (e.g. because the name sounds foreign or asinine in Estonian).

Visa Issuing Posts

Tallinn, Estonia (Embassy)

U.S. Embassy in Tallinn
Kentmanni 20

Tel: (372) 668-8100

Fax: (372) 668-8267

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Estonia.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 588-0101 (202) 588-0108

New York, NY (212) 883-0636 (212) 883-0648

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Tallinn
Kentmanni 20
15099 Tallinn
Estonia
Telephone
+(372) 668-8128
Emergency
+(372) 509-2129 or +(372) 668-8169
Fax
+(372) 668-8267
Estonia Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.