Adapting to a new living environment can be an interesting but at the same time often complicated challenge. Acquiring the knowledge related to the living conditions, state and behavioural norms etc. and skills that help you settle in quickly and efficiently can take time.
In order to support foreign nationals who have migrated to Estonia to settle in and to acquire the primary knowledge and skills, Estonia offers all new arrivals the opportunity to participate in an introductory welcoming programme.
The welcoming programme consists of various informative and interactive training modules, which:
- guide you and support you in finding the information you need self-sufficiently;
- value mutual communication, cooperation and establishment of contacts;
- take place in a comfortable, open and diverse learning environment.
- FAQ » (321.41 KB, PDF)
A list of frequently asked questions with answers.
The welcoming programme is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the state budget.
Content of the programme
Welcoming programme consists of various informative and interactive training modules:
- a basic module that gives an overview of the functioning principles of Estonian state, society, culture and people, rights and obligations of residents, public services etc.;
- additional thematic modules that give an overview of working and entrepreneurship, family life, studying and research;
- separate training modules for children and young people under the age of 15 and for beneficiaries of international protection.
All training modules include vital practical examples that help new arrivals to better understand the things they have learned in the trainings and use the acquired knowledge in their daily lives.
Overview of the training modules:
Estonian language training for beginners (level A1)
In addition to practical information, the ability to speak the local language is also of key importance in coping in a new environment. That is why welcoming programme also contains basic level Estonian language training (level A1), where no previous knowledge of Estonian is required.
Learning to speak Estonian makes it easier to deal with various day-to-day activities, and is definitely an advantage in, for example, socialising and when, for example, job seeking. The language training aims to give you first knowledge of Estonian. New arrivals who have successfully completed the language training will be able to:
- use everyday expressions and simpler phrases;
- introduce themselves and others;
- ask simpler questions and understand short texts and messages.
Who can take part in the welcoming programme?
The welcoming programme is aimed at foreign nationals who have legally resided in Estonia for less than 5 years and are one of the following:
- foreign nationals who have been granted temporary residence permit in Estonia on the basis of the Aliens Act or the Act on Granting International Protection to Aliens;
- citizens of the European Union who have acquired the temporary right of residence in Estonia on the basis stipulated in the Citizen of the European Union Act;
- family members of citizens of the European Union who have been granted the temporary right of residence in Estonia on the basis stipulated in the Citizen of the European Union Act.
A precondition to participating in the trainings is a referral to the programme. Foreigners are referred to welcoming programme by the Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB). The PBGB issues a notification of enrolment into the welcoming programme if the person meets the requirements of participation. There are two ways to obtain a referral:
- Foreigners to whom a residence permit or the right of residence has been granted or who acquire the right of residence in Estonia after 1 August 2015 automatically receive a referral from the Police and Border Guard Board. The notification of enrolment into the welcoming programme is sent to the foreigner by e-mail or regular mail, or, in the case of European Union citizens, given to the person at a customer service bureau of the PBGB.
- New arrivals to whom a residence permit or the right of residence has been granted or who acquired the right of residence in Estonia before 1 August 2015 but who have been in Estonia legally for less than five years and wish to participate in the welcoming programme must submit an application to the PBGB for a referral to the programme.
If you are the latter and submit an application to be referred to the programme, the PBGB sends the notification of enrolment into the welcoming programme to you by e-mail or regular mail.
Applications can be submitted:
- by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org;
- by regular mail to Police and Border Guard Board – Pärnu mnt. 139, 15060 Tallinn;
- personally at a customer service bureau of the PBGB.
Addresses and opening hours of customer service bureaus can be accessed here: https://www.politsei.ee/en/kontakt/kmb/.
The PBGB informs the applicant whether the application has been approved or declined within 30 working days.
If your application has been approved by the PBGB and you have received the notification of enrolement, you can register for a suitable training module.
Please note: The referral is for one-off participation in all training modules and basic language training of the welcoming programme. After successfully completing one training module or basic language training, it is not necessary to obtain a new referral in order to participate in other training modules or basic language training.
Structure of the Welcoming programme
- Each module of the welcoming programme lasts approximately 8 hours.
- The duration of the language training is approximately 80 academic hours.
- You can choose which module or language training you take part in and also which order you do this according to your needs and interests. There is no compulsory order and restrictions apply only to taking part in the module for children and young people, and the module for beneficiaries of international protection.
- The training modules of the welcoming programme and language training at the basic level are both offered in English and Russian in Tallinn, Tartu and also, when there is interest, in Narva.
- All the trainings are offered free of charge.
- Participation in the programme is voluntary.
- The children and young people module is intended for children and youngsters that are newly arrived immigrants at the age of 3-15 years. The module is, in turn, divided into different age groups (3-5; 6-8; 9-12 and 13-15), in order to introduce Estonia with the help of interactive and playful means that correspond with the children´s age. There are several opportunities for participating in the module:
- the parent leaves the child in the children and young people module and simultaneously participates in the family module training course that takes place at the same time;
- the parent brings the child to take part in the children and young people module, leaves the child in the care of a teacher, and picks up the child at the end of the training day;
- the parent participates in the children and young people module together with the child.
Please note: You can register for trainings after receiving a notification of enrolment into the welcoming programme and your identity document from the Police and Border Guard Board.
Who to contact if you have questions about the welcoming programme and its trainings?
- Referrals and notifications of enrolment into the programme: Police and Border Guard Board, email@example.com
- Training modules and language training:
Basic module: firstname.lastname@example.org
Working and entrepreneurship: email@example.com
Family life: firstname.lastname@example.org
International protection: email@example.com
Children and young people: firstname.lastname@example.org
Language training: email@example.com
- General information: firstname.lastname@example.org