Education migration

I have always been immensely fascinated by Estonian animation, its schools and genres… Even though I am already enrolled in an university in Moscow, I read about the opportunity to spend a year as an international student in Estonia. I seized on it immediately, and it turned out to be my winning lottery ticket – I was indeed able to make films together with my idols. What a tiny country you have, yet with such greats. Jelena from Russia            


  • Estonia admits for the purposes of study third-country nationals who are enrolled in an establishment of higher education or programme of secondary education in the context of an exchange scheme (Directive 2004/114/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council)    
  • A third-country national is any person who is not a citizen of the European Union (except the citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland).
  • A residence permit is any authorisation issued by the authorities of an EU Member State allowing a third country national to stay legally in its territory. (Council Regulation No 1030/2002/EC)  


    The European Union is aiming to become the world’s leading region in providing higher education. This involves admitting pupils and students from third countries, i.e., from outside the European Union, and educating them in Europe.

    Estonia provides third-country nationals an opportunity to study in the country, in order to share its educational competence and, on the other hand, increase the competitiveness of its educational and research institutions. The foreign national who wants to study in Estonia has to apply for a residence permit. The residence permit can be applied for studying in a basic school, gymnasium, institution of applied higher education or university; for participating in educational or regular field training, or pre-degree foundation courses; for voluntary service or studying in an educational institution established on the basis of transnational agreement.

    A foreign national who has been issued a residence permit for study is allowed to work in Estonia without obtaining a further separate permit, provided that his or her employment shall not interfere with the studies.

    Studying is the third most frequently given reason for settling in Estonia. It accounted for approximately 28% of the overall immigration in 2017. Institutions of higher education received students mainly from Russia, Nigeria, Ukraine, Georgia and Turkey; the most popular fields of study were business management and law; technology, production and engineering; arts and humanities; IT; social sciences.


Seotud materjalid

  • Inform:Attracting and retaining international students in the EU

  • Attracting and retaining international students in the EU

  • Briefing paper (15 ) 2019: Transition of International Students from Higher Education to the Labour market – Best practises from Europe

  • Retaining third-country national students in the European Union