The Constitution of the Republic of Estonia lays down the right of every ethnic Estonian and Estonian citizen to settle in Estonia. The Integration Foundation has long supported the repatriation of Estonians who have stayed away from Estonia or were born abroad (from the age of 15) and Estonian citizens to Estonia, paying return support to those in need.
The aim of the programme is to encourage Estonian citizens and ethnic Estonians and their descendants to settle in Estonia. It is important for Estonia that the population of the country increases on account of Estonian citizens and ethnic Estonians.
Download the application form for return support (PDF).
Additional information: consultation e-mail [email protected]
Who can apply for return support?
Return support is aimed at facilitating the return of families with children who have stayed abroad for a long time, as the number of family members increases over the years and the cost of returning services is high. The requirement to stay abroad for a long time, i.e., seven years, does not apply to young people under 40 years of age who have completed postgraduate and doctoral studies abroad, in order to encourage the return of young people who have received education abroad and start working in Estonia.
A person who has Estonian citizenship or an ethnic Estonian with Estonian residence permit can apply for the return support, provided that:
- he/she emigrated from Estonia at least seven years prior or was born in a foreign country and will come back to Estonia with minor children or to his/her minor children, or
- he/she is maximum 40 years old, emigrated from Estonia or was born in a foreign country, has completed postgraduate and doctoral studies abroad, and has returned permanently to Estonia, or
- he/she emigrated from Estonia at least seven years prior or was born in a foreign country and is partially or fully incapacitated;
- has returned to Estonia permanently, no later than eight months prior to the submission of the application, and has registered his/her and the children's that return with him/her place of residence in the Population Register of the Republic of Estonia;
- due to his/her economic and social condition, is in need of support in order to return to Estonia, because his/her family has at its disposal means of daily subsistence that do not meet the threshold established in Estonia.
- He/she is considered to be descendant of Estonians if his/her parents or grandparents include Estonians.
Why apply for return support?
The purpose of the support is to avoid the deterioration of the socio-economic situation of the returning people due to the resettling costs. Return support aims to mitigate the cost of resettling for families with children and provide socio-economic support to parents who have not succeeded in finding a job after their return or have not managed to re-enter the labour market due to the age of their children.
The support is divided into basic support and additional support. The basic support contributes to the creation of the living conditions of the returning people in Estonia and faster integration into and adaptation to the society. The additional support will contribute to the creation of living conditions for the minor children of the returning person in Estonia and the covering of transportation and resettling costs.
How can the return support be applied for?
The return support may be applied for immediately after the applicant has been registered in the Population Register of the Republic of Estonia, but no later than 8 months after their actual return to Estonia. The six-month period allows the returning person to complete the application and submit the application within a reasonable time without losing the right to return support. The need to apply for return support may also arise if resettling does not go as planned (i.e, employment contract is not actually concluded, or an unexpected illness or accident affects the applicant or his/her family) and the applicant needs to start to collect the documents needed to apply for the support from abroad.
The applicant must fill in and sign the application form and submit it to the Integration Foundation with the following documents:
- All applicants must attach to the application a copy of their identity document and the identity document of the child (children) who have been added to the application form and arrived in Estonia with the applicant. The applicant may submit a copy either of their identity card or passport.
- Applicants who are not citizens of the Republic of Estonia must attach to the application an Estonian residence permit and a document certifying their Estonian ethnic origin (i.e, birth certificate of parents or grandparents).
- All applicants must attach a document certifying absence of the applicant from Estonia not more than 7 years prior the return. This may include an employment record book, employment contracts, social security extracts from paid social security taxes, study certificates, letters of recommendation from employers, rental contracts etc. Residence registration certificate is certainly not sufficient proof. The applicant must prove that he/she has stayed in a foreign country through his/her activities there. If the returning person is a non-working person, it is possible to prove his/her stay in a foreign country through different client contracts (i.e., phone calls, consumer accounts, etc).
- All applicants must attach proof of income for the 12 months preceding the submission of application. Returning persons from neighbouring countries must provide their full statement of their everyday bank account. Individuals who have not received any income can also file a bank account statement that has been in everyday use.
- All applicants must attach to the application a certificate on rent or organisation of ownership on housing in the country of origin. In the application form, the applicant indicates his/her last place of residence. If the applicant has rented the living space, he/she will provide a copy of the last rental contract. If the applicant has owned living space, the applicant must attach the sale contract of the property. If the property has not been sold, the person who has occupied the living space must explain and, if necessary, prove the circumstances why the living space has not been sold and include to the application a copy of the purchase agreement for the living space and the printout of the loan (if a loan has been taken). The support provider considers the property as source of income and takes into account the proceeds from the sale or expected sale of the property in determining the support.
- Person who is partially or fully incapacitated must submit a certificate to confirm this.
- All applicants must include in their application cost statements or estimates related to transport and return costs. Transport and return costs for the applicant and his/her family will be reimbursed according to the costs incurred. They must be documented (invoices, checks). Estimates are only allowed for people who return from crisis areas and cannot submit proof of expenses incurred. Estimates are allowed for covering the heating costs of the vehicle.
- All applicants must include a description of their family's subsistence difficulties. The purpose of the support is to avoid the deterioration of the socio-economic situation of returning people due to the return costs. Applicants should therefore clarify their and their family's economic situation, incomes, potential obligations and subsistence difficulties. If the persons are unemployed, the applicant must include the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund's certificate of registration as unemployed person and provide explanations for the obstacles to finding a job. The applicant must be prepared to demonstrate described subsistence difficulties (i.e., health condition, costly divorce, accidents, etc).
If the application review process reveals that the application is not clear enough or has deficiencies, the Integration Foundation has the right to request additional documents. The applicant will be notified by e-mail with a notice describing the circumstances that require further clarification, supplementation or additional information and the deadline for rectification. In order to rectify the application, the support provider may give the applicant up to 60 working days when the processing of the application is suspended.
Return support is a one-time support for resettlement to Estonia. If a person has already been granted a return support years ago, it is assumed that the person has permanently resettled in Estonia.
How are applications processed?
The application will be processed up to 30 working days after its submission. Applications are processed in the order they are submitted.
The decision to reject the application is made if:
- the applicant and/or the application does not meet one of the applicant and the application requirements;
- the applicant influences the application process by use of fraud or threat or by any other unlawful means;
- the applicant has provided incorrect or incomplete information or the information has been intentionally omitted;
- the applicant does not allow the application to be checked for compliance;
- due to the volume of the call for proposals, it is not possible to satisfy the application;
- the applicant does not agree with the proposal to partially reduce the support if the application was partially satisfied. The proposal for a partial satisfaction of the application may be motivated, for example, by the fact that the budget proposed to meet the applications does not cover the full amount of the requested support. In this case, the applicant is offered the opportunity to consider whether he/she agrees with a lower support amount.
The decision on the application will be sent to the applicant electronically, if he/she has given his/her consent in the application, or by registered mail.
How to apply for the support for children?
* Data of children up to 15 years of age are entered in one of the parents' application form by mutual agreement between the parents. The other parent cannot apply for support for the same child anymore.
* Person aged 15 to 18 must have the written consent of a legal guardian to submit the application.
Does one have to go to Tallinn to apply for the support?
Not necessarily. One can submit the application either electronically, by signing it digitally and sending it to the e-mail address [email protected] or one can submit a paper application and send it to the support provider's address (Tallinn, Rävala pst 5, VI floor). In addition, the support provider has created an opportunity for applicants living outside Tallinn to submit an application to the service points of the Police and Border Guard Board located in their respective county.
Download the application form for return support (PDF).
If an applicant is unable to submit their application personally due to their age or state of health, this may, in special cases, be done by their representative on the basis of a letter of authorisation certified by a notary.
How is the return support paid?
The maximum rate of the basic support will be EUR 640 per applicant. The maximum rate of the additional support for the creation of the living conditions of a minor child is EUR 640 per each returning child or per each child if the returning person has been the sole breadwinner of the family and up to EUR 640 for reimbursement of transportation and return costs.
The amount of the support will generally be credited to the applicant's bank account. Family supports may be credited to the bank account of one of the family members.
ESTONIANS LIVING ABROAD
Our goal is that Estonians returning to Estonia adapt smoothly to society and that compatriots living abroad remain closely connected with Estonia.