There is no such thing as an individual Estonia visa as Estonia is linked to many of the other countries in the E.U. If you need a visa for Europe, the same visa will do for Estonia as well. It is true that the E.U. is introducing a new system which will affect many people who are not E.U. citizens. The system is called the E.U. Travel Information Authorisation System or ETIAS. This will affect your travel to Estonia as it will to the rest of Europe if you haven’t needed any visa up to now, but are not an E.U passport holder. It will mean, when it is introduced in early 2021, that you get permission to visit Europe before you arrive rather than right at the border, which is what happens at the moment.
I’ve heard that Estonia is now part of Schengen. Is this true?
Yes. Estonia has joined the Schengen Block of countries, although in fact these countries are almost all E.U. countries anyway, with one or two exceptions like Norway and Switzerland. Many non Europeans, and quite a few Europeans, are not sure what the difference is. Basically, if you need an ETIAS in the future, once you have got it you can visit any Schengen country. The total time you have in the Schengen block will be 90 days. Schengen is all about common border controls, while the E.U. is much more than that.
Is Estonia an interesting place to visit?
Definitely. Its chief attraction is the Old City of Tallinn, the capital, which has many mediaeval buildings in remarkably good condition. The mediaeval part of Tallinn was constricted by German crusaders and is reckoned to be one of the best preserved mediaeval centres in Europe. There are several other towns which are also worth seeing, especially what has been referred to as the Summer Capital, Pärnu.
What isn’t so well known is the fact that Estonia has an enormous number of islands, even more than Denmark. Saaremaa and Hiiumaa are two of the best-known islands, the former is famous for its castle and the latter for its many lighthouses. Although a trip around the countryside and especially the islands is best in summer, if you are a birdwatcher, you might want to go at any other time. Estonia boasts quite a few beaches and locals also go bog swimming in the many inland bog lakes.
Will I need an Estonian ETIAS visa waiver if I go there?
You might, but not yet as the E.U. authorities haven’t officially introduced it. When it is up and running you will have to fill in an online form and pay a €7 fee at least 96 hours in advance. The authorisation will last for 3 years. The best way to work out whether you will need one is to find out if you need a Schengen visa at the moment. If you don’t but you aren’t a passport holder of an E.U country the chances are that you will need an Estonia ETIAS for travel to anywhere in the E.U. with one or two exceptions (Britain has different travel regulations, for example). To find out if you may need an ETIAS visa waiver, visit the homepage and take the ETIAS assessment.