Estonia is a truly beautiful country and it’s hard to look at images of Tallinn’s old town—complete with gothic arches and a colorful skyline—and not be impressed. If you want to see these sights for yourself, and you reside in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and dozens of other countries outside the EU, you may need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver first.
Fortunately, the process of acquiring a visa waiver for Estonia is very straightforward.
ETIAS Visa Waiver for Estonia
To apply for a visa waiver for Estonia, you will need a valid passport with at least 3 months validity, a debit or credit card to pay the ETIAS application fee, and some basic information concerning your residency and vacation plans.
You can start the ETIAS application process as soon you’re ready to visit Estonia. It can be completed online through the official website and once it has been finalized, a process that usually takes less than ten minutes, you will receive electronic travel authorization.
That’s all there is to it. It’s not a visa, and so you won’t be subject to the same strict checks and protocols. An Estonia ETIAS simply means that you are visa-exempt and are free to travel to Estonia and other countries in the Schengen Area.
What is the Schengen Zone?
The Schengen Zone is an agreement between 22 member states of the European Union (EU) and all 4 member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The 26 countries operate a single border control policy and visa policy.
Does the Schengen Zone Cover all of the European Union?
Five countries in the European Union have not joined the Schengen agreement and four of the countries that have signed the agreement are not in the European Union.
The EU and Schengen Zone are often mistakenly believed to be the same thing, but they are not. An ETIAS visa waiver will give you access to all countries in the Schengen Zone but not all countries in the European Union, so keep this in mind before you travel.
For instance, while Ireland is part of the EU, it is not part of the Schengen Area.
As far as Estonia is concerned, all you need to know is that Estonia is part of both the EU and the Schengen Area and an ETIAS visa waiver will give you access.
Do I Need a Visa to Enter Estonia?
You don’t need a visa, but you will need to apply for travel authorization via the ETIAS before you visit Estonia. If you plan to stay for longer than 90 consecutive days, the rules are different, and you may need to apply for an actual travel visa.
Can I Get an Estonia ETIAS Visa Waiver with a Criminal Record?
The ETIAS is designed to prevent serious criminals from entering Schengen countries and it’s not interested in stopping individuals with minor offenses on their record. Such issues might flag a manual review, but unless there are any serious issues (murder, serious assault, rape, terrorism charges, smuggling) the application process should go smoothly.
Do I Need an Estonia ETIAS for Land Travel?
An ETIAS visa waiver allows for multiple-entry in Estonia (at different times) and other countries within the Schengen Area.
The ETIAS will be valid for 3 years and you can use it to enter one of the 26 Schengen countries without a visa for up to 90 days consecutively.
Traveling to Estonia
Once you have your travel authorization, you can start planning your vacation to Estonia!
The country doesn’t get as many tourists as some of its European neighbors but there is a lot to see and do here. You can drop by the Old Town in Tallinn to see one of the best-preserved historic streets in Europe, visit the Kuressaare Episcopal Castle, or head for the beach and small-town festivities at Parnu.
Estonia has a rich history. It occupies a crucial position in Europe and so there was no shortage of wars fought over Estonian soil, with Danish, German, Russian, Polish, and Swedish armies all vying for control at one point. It was also occupied by the knights of the Livonian Order.
You can experience all of this great history for yourself by visiting the country’s many museums and galleries.
It’s proof that you don’t need to go to England, France, Greece, or Italy to experience historical monuments and artifacts in Europe.