Estonia

Flag of Estonia
Still current at: 18 April 2012
Updated: 17 April 2012
No restrictions in this travel adviceAvoid all but essential travel to part(s) of countryAvoid all but essential travel to whole countryAvoid all travel to part(s) of countryAvoid all travel to whole country


This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Entry Requirements - Visas section (ID Cards). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Estonia.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)


  • There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

  • You must have the original V5 C (Vehicle Registration Document) if driving into Estonia. See Road Travel.

  • 35,692 British tourists visited Estonia in 2010 (Source: Estonian Statistics Office). Most visits are trouble-free. SeeGeneral - Consular Assistance Statistics.If you need to contact the emergency services in Estonia call 112.

  • You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. See General - Insurance.

Safety and Security - Terrorism

There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. For more general information see our Terrorism Abroad page.

Safety and Security - Crime

There has been an increase in tourist-targeted crime, particularly petty theft. Be aware of the risks of pick pocketing and muggings, especially in bars, pubs, nightclubs and hotels in Tallinn’s Old Town. Remain vigilant, take sensible precautions and avoid unlit side streets and parks at night. It is safer to phone for a taxi rather than hail one from the street, whether official looking or not.

Theft of property should be reported in person to Tallinn Central Police Station, Kolde pst 65, 10321 Tallinn, telephone: +372 612 5400 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +372 612 5400 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. You will need to obtain a police report if you have lost your passport.

See our Victims of Crime.

Safety and Security - Local Travel

Tickets and travel cards for single journeys or for a number of hours or days for trams, trolley buses and buses are sold at “R” kiosks. You can also buy books of 10 single tickets. Tickets can be bought from drivers, but they cost more. It is also advisable to have the correct change in these circumstances. For the ticket to be valid, you must stamp it yourself in a machine in the vehicle. If a ticket inspector finds you do not have a valid ticket, you will be fined.

Taxis are widely available and are reasonably priced. However, do make sure there is a visible meter and that it is being used. It is better to phone a major taxi company such as Tulika Takso (tel 6120000), Linnatakso (tel 6442442), rather than hail one from the street. These companies are usually able to tell you the type, number and colour of the car in advance. Do not use taxis that are unmarked; they are illegal and usually cost a lot more than registered taxis. They also might be unsafe.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel

Roads and pavements may be very slippery during spring. In accordance with the Estonian Traffic Act, all pedestrians walking on the road at night time or in inadequate visibility are obliged to wear a safety reflector. These are normally pinned to your coat or handbag and can be bought locally.

You can drive in Estonia on a UK driving licence. If you intend to drive your own vehicle in Estonia you must also have the original V5 C (Vehicle Registration Document). The Estonian Border Guards will impound your vehicle if you do not have this.

In 2010 there were 78 road deaths in Estonia (Source: DfT). This equates to 5.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population compared to the UK average of 3.1 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2010.

By law, headlights of vehicles must be on at all times, including daylight hours. Winter tyres are a legal requirement from 1 December to 1 March every year, but if there are severe weather conditions outside these dates (likely in most years) the dates will change accordingly. Check local conditions if driving in Estonia between October and April.

Do not drink and drive. The legal limit is zero. Those found over the limit face a fine and possible imprisonment. See our Driving Abroad page.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Air Travel

The revised EU-wide security measures that came into effect for all passengers departing from UK airports in November 2006 (including those regarding the carrying of liquids in hand luggage) are also being implemented in Estonia. For more details about this see Airline Security.

Safety and Security - Political Situation
On 11 August 2011 an individual with a track record of political activism entered the Estonian Ministry of Defence building in the centre of Tallinn where he fired shots, detonated small devices and held security guards hostage. The Ministry was evacuated and special forces were called in. The incident was over within a matter of hours and the perpetrator killed. Nobody else was significantly hurt and there was no danger to members of the public. Reports suggest he acted alone and the security situation in central Tallinn quickly returned to normal.

Estonia Country Profile

You are subject to local laws.

Do not use, buy or possess drugs: sale and distribution is illegal and the possession of even the smallest quantities can lead to up to 10 years imprisonment. Be aware that the substance known as Khat (Kat, or Quat), which is not a controlled substance in the UK, is classed as an illegal drug in Estonia, and carries the same penalties as other illegal drugs.

Leave passports and valuables in hotel safes, and carry a photocopy of your passport as identification.

See our Your trip page.

Entry Requirements - Passport validity

British Citizens do not require a visa to enter Estonia. Holders of other types of British passports may require a visa, please contact an Estonian Embassy in order to check whether you require one. You need a passport to enter Estonia. As a British Citizen you can remain in Estonia for up to 90 days without a residence permit so long as you have a valid passport. If you intend to live and work in Estonia you will need to obtain a residence permit from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. Estonian ID cards issued to the nationals of other countries for residence permit purposes are not valid as travel documents. Please contact the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board for advice.

Entry Requirements - Visas

British Citizens do not require a visa to enter Estonia. Holders of other types of British passports may require a visa, please contact an Estonian Embassy in order to check whether you require one. You need a passport to enter Estonia. As a British Citizen you can remain in Estonia for up to 90 days without a residence permit so long as you have a valid passport. If you intend to live and work in Estonia you will need to obtain a residence permit from the Estonian Citizenship and Migration Board.

Entry Requirements - Holders of a UK Convention Travel Document

If you are a holder of a UK Convention travel document, it may say on page 30 that you do not need a visa for short visits to Estonia. This is no longer the case and you will always need a visa to visit Estonia using a convention travel document. More details are available from UK Borders Agency.

Further details on how to apply for a visa are available from the Estonian Embassy in London.

Contact your GP around eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide, is available from NHS Choices.

If you are visiting Estonia you should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. The EHIC is not a substitute for medical and travel insurance, but it entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Estonian nationals, so if an Estonian national is required to pay a fee towards their treatment, you would also have to pay the same fee. The EHIC will not cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or non-urgent treatment, so you should make sure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation. See our EHIC page and the NHS - About the EHIC page.

In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 9,800 adults aged 15 or over in Estonia were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around 1.2% of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.

Our Travel Health pages offer further advice on how to stay healthy when overseas.

General - Insurance

You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. Ensure you have valid health insurance to the value of 30,000 Euros for the duration of your stay. Check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.

See our Travel Insurance page.

Here's a link to how we can help if things go wrong.

General - Registering with the British Embassy

Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency. If you are planning to be in Estonia for longer than six months, you should visit the British Embassy website and view the advice on 'information for longer stayers' in the Consular section.

General - Issuing replacement passports

The British Embassy in Tallinn is unable to issue any form of travel document other than Emergency Travel Documents. For more details please go to: http://ukinestonia.fco.gov.uk/en/. UK passport applications from British Nationals resident in Estonia are handled by the British Passport Processing Centre in Düsseldorf, Germany.

General - Travelling to Estonia in winter

Be prepared for extremely cold and possibly hazardous weather if you intend to travel to Estonia in the winter (October to March). There is likely to be snow on the ground and temperatures may drop to -25 degrees Celsius or below.

General - Customs Regulations


If you travel within the European Union (EU) you can bring an unlimited amount of most goods. For example, you can bring in any alcohol, tobacco, meat and diary products - as long as they are for your own use and transported by you. If you are bringing in alcohol and tobacco goods and the Customs officer may have reason to suspect they may be for a commercial purpose, an officer may ask you questions and make checks. This refers to travelling into Estonia and/or entering the UK. See the website of HMRC.

General - Money

Estonia adopted the Euro on 1 January 2010. ATMs dispense Euros. The currency is easily exchangeable. The previous currency, Estonian Kroons, can be converted into euros commission-free at the Bank of Estonia.

Any person entering or leaving the EU must declare the cash that they are carrying if this amounts to 10,000 Euros or more; this includes cheques, travellers' cheques, money orders, etc. This does not apply to anyone travelling via the EU to a non-EU country, as long as the original journey started outside of the EU nor to those travelling within the EU.

General - Consular Assistance Statistics

35,692 British tourists visited Estonia in 2010 (Source: Estonian Statistics Office). Most visits are trouble-free. 11 British nationals required consular assistance in Estonia in the period 01 April 2010 - 31 March 2011 for the following types of incident: three deaths and four hospitalisations.

Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 17:53:44 +0200 (METDST)

TALLINN, April 11, 2012 (AFP) - An Estonian human rights watchdog said Wednesday that patients in some local hospitals are subject to methods designed to bring about their deaths, including being overdosed or denied drugs. "Patients are tied (to their beds) illegally at some hospitals and there are cases when health care providers try knowingly to take steps that will cause the death of the patient," the Estonian Human Rights Centre said in its annual report. There are also cases of doctors giving patients overdoses or refusing to give them the drugs they need, the report added. "These cases could be called torture and a violation of international agreements signed by Estonia," it said.

The health ministry of the European Union nation of 1.3 million was not immediately available for comment. The report was based on a study alleging widespread abuse of patients, compiled by the Estonian Patients' Advocacy Association in 2011 and based on testimonies from patients or their relatives in 17 hospitals. "In many cases people in Estonia do not dare to turn to health officials when they or their relatives were abused in Estonian hospitals," the report notes. The rights centre has also asked the government to set up a watchdog office to handle patients' complaints and prevent abuses, which campaigners claim have been sidelined for too long.
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 11:38:12 +0100 (MET)

TALLINN, Dec 29, 2011 (AFP) - A record number of Russian tourists will spend the New Year in the Estonian capital Tallinn in a post-Soviet tradition that is steadily growing, a tourism official said Friday. "We had around 20,000 Russian tourists last year celebrating the arrival of the New Year in Tallinn, the number is expected to be 10 percent more this year," Feliks Magus, head of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association told AFP. "While the most wealthy Russians prefer Paris, London and the Swiss mountains, those coming to Tallinn this week are from the middle class," Magus said. Tallinn hotels are fully booked for New Year's eve. Around 80 percent of the guests are middle class Russians. After New Year, many tourists stay on to celebrate their traditional Russian Orthodox Christmas which falls on January 6.
Date: Wed 23 Nov 2011
Source: ERR News, (Estonian Public Broadcasting) [edited]
<http://news.err.ee/Society/3626a2ee-2aa1-4cff-9830-fe7a2efe57ca>

Another 11 hepatitis A cases were registered in Estonia from 14 to 20 Nov 2011. Eight were in Viljandi county and the rest in Harju and Parnu counties, according to the Health Board.

Since the beginning of this year [2011], 124 people have been infected, with the largest outbreak being in Viljandi county, where a total of 92 cases have been registered.

Prior to 2011, incidents of hepatitis A in Estonia were relatively rare, with most cases found among recent immigrants. In 2010, the number of people infected with the disease had leveled off at 6.  [Byline: Ingrid Teesalu]
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[Professor Norman Noah's comment in the preceding post in this thread remains appropriate, namely: "These are extremely difficult outbreaks to control." There is still no information regarding the age distribution of their cases nor their social background.

The 1st case in Viljandi was reported in February 2011, and then the number of cases increased dramatically in late August 2011.

Viljandi is a town and municipality in southern central Estonia with a population of 19 150 (2011). It is the capital of Viljandi county. Its location can be found in the map at: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viljandi>. - ProMed Mod.CP]
Date: Fri 14 Oct 2011
From: Professor Norman Noah [edited] Norman.Noah@lshtm.ac.uk
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I omitted to mention [in my previous comment [Hepatitis A - Estonia (03): (VD) comment 20110915.2809] that most of the cases being diagnosed in this outbreak in Estonia will be in adults, with no apparent direct connection between most of them. This is because children tend to be asymptomatic, but can still pass it on to their elders, who are more likely to have symptoms. So there will be an unseen undercurrent of multiple transmission in children, with the occasional case popping up sporadically, so to speak, in adults.

The investigators have still not provided any data on the age distribution of their cases, or their social background. This outbreak is likely to be affecting a poorer area of Viljandi. In the northern hemisphere, poorer areas of cities especially, possibly towns as well, tend to be in the east!  These are extremely difficult outbreaks to control.
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Professor Norman Noah
Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
United Kingdom
norman.noah@lshtm.ac.uk
====================
[ProMED-mail thanks Professor Noah for this additional comment on the current outbreak of hepatitis A virus infection in Viljandi, Estonia. Further information from Viljandi on the course of the current outbreak would be appreciated.  Viljandi is a town and municipality in southern central Estonia. It is the capital of Viljandi county. Its location can be seen in the map at: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viljandi>. - ProMed Mod.CP]
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