Registration of the employment of a foreigner

The employee’s personal identification code is used to register his or her employment. If an employed foreign citizen does not have an Estonian personal identification code and is unable to apply for it prior to commencing employment for objective reasons, the employer can register the employment for a period of up to five days using the employee’s date of birth.
Once the person is assigned a personal identification code, it is possible to extend the validity of the entry – it is not necessary to start a new entry; instead, the date of birth entry will be amended to a personal identification code entry.

Upon registration of employment, the following must be entered in the register:

  • the personal identification code of the employee or, in the absence of a personal identification code, the given name, surname, and date of birth marked in the identity document of the employee
  • the date of commencement of employment, which is either
    – the date on which the employee commenced employment under the employment contract
    – in the case of a contract governed by the law of obligations, the date on which the contract enters into force
    – the date of the assumption of the post in public service
  • if the employee is registered using his or her first name, surname, and date of birth, the date of termination of employment and the basis for termination must also be indicated immediately
  • type of employment, which can be found in the table „Types and Codes of Employment" (in Estonian)
  • job title and address of the place of employment in the case of a person who is a third country national or of unknown citizenship, who is residing in Estonia on the basis of a temporary residence permit permitting employment or of unknown citizenship staying in Estonia on a visa or a visa-free basis and who are eligible for short-term employment in Estonia.

Important

  • In the case of employment registered with a date of birth, no social guarantees extend to the employee. After the entry with the date of birth has been changed to an entry with a personal identification code, the person acquires the right to the social guarantees prescribed by law
  • It is not possible to use the date of birth to register employment by simplified procedure, including by telephone or SMS.
  • Employment cannot be registered using a non-resident code issued to the person by the Tax and Customs Board.

It is possible to apply for an Estonian personal identification code at the nearest local government of the county centre or at an Estonian foreign mission located abroad.

Citizens of a Member State of the European Union, a Member State of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation, who take up permanent residence in Estonia, may apply for a personal identification code together with the submission of a notice of residence by personally visiting the rural municipality or city government of the residence of the person. 

More information on applying for a personal identification code on the website of the Ministry of the Interior.

If a person who does not have an Estonian personal identification code only works in Estonia for up to five days, he or she does not need a personal identification code and the employer applies for a non-resident code from the Tax and Customs Board to declare payments.

To apply for a non-resident code, an application for registration of a non-resident payment recipient must be submitted to the Tax and Customs Board.

Obligations of the employer upon employment of a foreigner

The employer is required to notify the Police and Border Guard Board of:

  • their employment of a foreigner,
  • not entering into a contract forming the basis of an employment relationship with a foreigner who has registered for short-term employment,
  • the foreigner not taking up employment,
  • amending the conditions of employment specified in the temporary residence permit issued for the purpose of employment,
  • the premature termination of the contract on which the employment relationship is based, and
  • the actual termination of the foreigner’s employment.
  • It is not necessary to report the data that the employer has registered in the employment register.
  • The research and development institution is required to immediately notify the Police and Border Guard Board of the termination of the hosting agreement entered into with the foreigner.

More information

Questions and answers regarding the registration of a foreigner for employment

1. If an employee does not have an Estonian personal identification code, how to register his or her employment?

If the employee does not have an Estonian personal identification code, their employment must be registered with the date of birth. Employment on the basis of the date of birth can be registered for up to five days. If, for any reason, the employee is unable to obtain a personal identification code within five days, the employer may make a new five-day registration.

2. If the employee is first registered with his or her date of birth and after receiving the personal identification code with a personal identification code, is the registration with the date of birth or personal identification code considered to be the starting date of employment (which is also communicated to other authorities)?

If the employee receives a personal identification code, the employer must change the entry with the date of birth and replace the date of birth with the personal identification code. The starting date of employment is the date the initial entry (i.e. the entry with the date of birth) was made. If more than one entry with the date of birth has been made to the same employee, the employer must change the first entry into an entry with a personal identification code and we recommend cancelling the subsequent five-day entries with the date of birth.

3. Is repeated registration of employment of the same person for five days restricted, and if so, to what extent?

Registration with the date of birth is intended for employment of up to five days in cases where a person cannot apply for a personal identification code for objective reasons. If the duration of work is actually longer, the person must apply for an Estonian personal identification code (§ 254 of the Taxation Act).

There are no restrictions for repeatedly registering the employment of the same person for a period of five days. However, in the case of registration with the date of birth (without personal identification code), social guarantees, such as health insurance, do not apply to the employee in Estonia.

4. In order for an Estonian employer to register a non-resident (including a citizen of the European Union) employee in the employment register, does the non-resident need to have an Estonian personal identification code?

Yes, since the registration of employment is based on the personal identification code. However, if a person stays in Estonia for a short time and does not want to receive social guarantees in Estonia, it is possible to register employment for up to five days, using the name and date of birth reflected in the identity document.

It is possible to apply for a personal identification code at the local government of the county centre or at an Estonian foreign mission located abroad. 

You can find more information on obtaining and applying for a personal identification code from the homepage of the Ministry of the Interior and information concerning personal identification documents from the homepage of the Police and Border Guard Board.

5. Does obtaining an Estonian personal identification code automatically make a person a tax resident of Estonia?

Tax residency does not arise from the issuance of a personal identification code, but from the conditions provided for in tax laws. If a person finds that the tax authorities are addressing his or her tax residency incorrectly, the tax authority must be contacted to correctly determine the tax residency.

6. Until now, employment contracts with employees from third countries with short-stay visas have been concluded using the date of birth and the non-resident code (B code). Which law obliges these employees to apply for a personal identification code? What document is used to issue a personal identification code to a foreigner, and who issues that document?

The basis is § 252 of the the Taxation Act, which obliges the person providing work to register the commencement, suspension, and termination of employment and the type of employment of a person specified in subsections 25 1 (4) or (5) of the same Act.

Pursuant to subsection § 254 of the Taxation Act upon registration, it is mandatory to enter the personal identification code of the person working in the employment register or, in the absence of a personal identification code, the date of birth in the case of employment for up to five days. The employee can apply for a personal identification code at their nearest local government of the county centre or an Estonian foreign mission located abroad.

If a personal identification code is created for the person for entry in the employment register, an extract from the population register or a letter showing the personal identification code will be issued to the person at his or her request. There are separate rules for applying for an identity document, and, for example, the right to receive an ID card does not automatically arise in this case.

Last updated: 11.01.2022

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