EU citizen

EU citizens don’t need a residence permit for living in Estonia, but they are obliged to register their place of living in Tallinn if staying longer than 3 months. As an exchange student of EKA, the condition is met by you and therefore you are kindly asked to visit one the city’s Administration Offices (listed HERE on the right side) upon your arrival in Tallinn.

In addition, each exchange student has to apply for an Estonian ID-card within one month from obtaining the temporary right of residence. It can be done at one of the Police and Border Guard Board service offices (more HERE). 

PS As a resident of Tallinn, who has an Estonian ID-card, you are eligible to use public transportation for free in Tallinn.

Non-EU citizen

Exchange students, who come to study in EKA for 1-2 semesters, need to apply for a long-stay (D) visa.

Please wait for the official acceptance letter before submitting your application at the nearest foreign representation of the Republic of Estonia. The list of Estonian representations can be found from HERE and it can take up to 10-30 days to process the visa application. 

PS The acceptance letter from EKA is one of the requirements for applying for the long-stay (D) visa. 

After your arrival in Estonia, you can start your studies right away. No other registration for a legal stay is requested, which means the students with D-visa can not apply for an ID card.


In Estonia there is only one emergency phone number – 112 – in use for calling the ambulance, police and rescue workers. The number is accessible 24/7 and free of charge.Exchange students are kindly advised to buy proper (travel) health insurance for the time of their stay in Estonia. Even if you are an EU/EEA citizen and hold a valid European health insurance card, not all medical services are free of charge (covers only emergency cases) and additional health insurance is still recommended. 

In case you are in need of medical care while staying in Tallinn, the following private clinics are welcoming visitors in English:

Please be noted that visits to private clinics cost and must be covered by students themselves. If you have valid health insurance, the costs are covered to you retrospectively. Unfortunately the European Health Insurance Card does not cover the costs in private clinics..

In case of accidents and emergencies, the emergency rooms are the one to seek. The units are open 24/7 and you may seek help even during weekends and at night time, when other doctors are off duty. There are 3 emergency rooms in Tallinn:

  • East Tallinn Central Hospital (Ravi st 18)
  • West Tallinn Central Hospital (Paldiski mnt 68)
  • North Estonia Medical Centre (J. Sütiste tee 19)

Daily medical counselling number: +372 6346 630 (in English from 15-17)

Living costs

Living costs in Estonia are affordable and are considered to be lower than in most other European countries. General feedback from foreigners who have spent some time here is that living conditions are similar to those in Western Europe. Cost of living in Estonia is usually dependent upon the student’s accommodation choices, lifestyle and spending habits.


The currency in Estonia is the Euro (€). The monthly average living cost for students is usually around 300-500 euros.


Housing costs depend on the location, quality of the accommodation and on the season but the prices per month usually range from €100–200 in the dormitories to €250–550 in private flats.

Most universities in Estonia have their own dormitories and all of them are ready to help international students settle into their life in Estonia.

Seek more information regarding housing opportunities in Tallinn in the Accommodation section.


Students can usually enjoy a comfortable life with around €300 per month for food. Each student can determine food expenses individually, depending on their needs. Daily specials in pubs and cafes are around €3–€5. EKA also has its own cafeteria “Daily”, which offers nice meals with reasonable prices (vegan options available). 

Main grocery stores in Tallinn: Rimi, Selver, Prisma, Maxima, Coop

Restaurants and cafes near EKA: Burger Box, Rohekohvik (vegan), Balti Jaama Turg (food court with different options), Boheem, Yui, Humalakoda, Margot, Literaat etc. 

Also, there are microwaves and kettles in EKA for students to use, so you are welcome to bring your own food to the university building. 


Public transport in Tallinn includes buses, trollies, trains and trams. The use of it is free of charge if holding a temporary right of residency in Tallinn, however besides the Estonian ID card the user needs to have a validated Public Transport Card aka Green Card as well to obtain the right of free ride. The card costs 2€ and can be bought from different places, incl. R-Kiosk.
PS the card needs to be validated every time you enter public transport (can be done inside transport).

Public transport that brings you to EKA:

  • Trams 1, 2,
  • Buses 2, 21, 21B, 41, 41B, 43, 59, 66, 73, 102, 104A, 114, 115, 116, 116B, 121, 122, 127A, 129, 132, 138, 154, 158, 160, 162, 174, 122,
  • Trollies 4, 5
  • Trains R21, R14, R16

Main taxi companies in Estonia are Bolt, Tallink, Tulika, but there are plenty of other, smaller companies as well. The cost for taxi service depends on the company, but the average starting fee is 2.50€, each km passed is 0.65€.

As EKA is conveniently located on the border of Old Town and Kalamaja (in North Tallinn district), it means a higher number of students use bikes for travelling around the city. However, during the months of November-March, it generally snows in Estonia, which makes it difficult or impossible to cycle at that time and therefore public transport or taxi comes in handy. 


Tallinn, being the capital of Estonia, offers its citizens and visitors a wide variety of options on how to spend their free time. The main ones are brought out as follows:

  • Theatres in Tallinn: Estonian National Opera, Estonian Theatre for Young Adults, Estonian Drama Theatre, City Theatre, Von Krahl Theatre, Vaba Lava, Theatrum. Average ticket price: 12€–22€
  • Cinemas in Tallinn: Apollo Kino, Forum Cinemas, Cinamon. Average ticket price: 7€–12€
  • Concert halls in Tallinn: Alexela Concert Hall, Saku Suurhall, Kultuurikatel, Estonia Concert Hall etc. Average ticket price : €8–€30
    Tickets can be purchased from Piletilevi or Fienta.
  • Museums in Tallinn: Seaplane Harbour, Estonian Open Air Museum, Estonian Film Museum, KUMU Art Museum, Vabamu, Estonian History Museum, Kadriorg Art Museum etc. Average ticket price: 6€-15€
  • Galleries in Tallinn: Fotografiska, Dokfoto Centre-Gallery by Juhan Kuus, Tallinn Art Hall, Kai Art Centre etc. Average price: 8€-12€.
    In addition there are small galleries, which are free of charge: Tallinn Art Hall Gallery, HOP Gallery, Vabaduse (Freedom) Gallery, Tallinn City Gallery, Draakoni Gallery etc
  • Nightlife places in Tallinn: Club Studio, Sveta Bar, Club HALL, Cafe Tops, Heldeke!, NoKu Club, Whisper Sister etc. Entrance free depends on the place and event.
  • Sport clubs in Tallinn: MyFitness, Reval Sport, 24/7 fitness, Gym!, Lemon Gym. Average price for monthly pass: 19€–65€ 

Some of the information taken from the Study in Estonia website

Photo: Kaido Kruusamets

Weather and climate

There are four seasons in Estonia, although most of the time it is just chilly and wet. “Kehv suusailm” as Estonians like to describe it the best, which can be translated as “Bad weather for skiing” in English. However, if we are treated properly, according to the season weather conditions, it is a beautiful and truly enjoyable experience as the nature in Estonia can be a true treat for the eye. Snowy winters make everything look like a fairytale, sunny days and blooming nature gives a shot of energy after a dark and cold winter, hot and white summer days make you never want to go to sleep and colorful leaves with frosty air tear you out of the city for a walk in one of the many bogs in Estonia.

Whether you are staying for autumn or spring semester, you will be amazed how different winter and summer can look in Estonia. While summers offer us days full of daylight up to 19 hours, called “white nights”, then at the same time winters are completely opposite as the days are mostly dark, getting light only for 6 hours per day. So it is normal for our international students to feel a bit sleepy and filled with lack of motivation at first, especially if you are starting your studies at EKA in January, but please know the Estonians are feeling the same and soon you will get used to it as we always do. Just find yourself some cosy indoor activities, which help you to ease the winter blues.
We advise our exchange students to bring with them proper clothing for cold and wet weather, but at the same time you should bring some summer clothing and even swimming wear as sometimes the beginning and ending of summer can have a heat wave. Or in case a heatwave does not occur, you can use your swimming wear in a sauna, the most favourite place among Estonians.

Public holidays

Most shops, banks, and restaurants are open on public holidays – the 25th of December and 1st of January are the only days when most businesses are closed.

  • 1st of January: New Year’s Day. Usually a very quiet day after celebrations.
  • 24th of February: Independence day. Celebrated with the military parade in the morning and festive family dinners in the evening.
  • Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Commonly known as lihavõtted or munadepühad in Estonian. Celebrated by springtime (dairy-based) treats, eggs, and folk festivities.
  • 1st of May: May Day. The night before (Walpburg night) is celebrated with parties and witchcraft.
  • 23rd of June: Victory Day. Celebrating decisive battle (1919) during the War of Independence
  • 24th of June: Midsummer Day. Commonly known as Jaanipäev. Celebrated with bonfires, different events and festivities taking place all around Estonia. One of the most important dates in a year for Estonians.
  • 20th of August: Day of Restoration of Independence. Celebrated with national festivities, events, and family gatherings.
  • 24th December – 26th of December: Christmas.

Information taken from the Visit Estonia website