With a combined population of 7.6 million across 175,000 square kilometres, the Baltic States are an attractive, forward thinking region at the heart of Northern Europe.
Estonia lies along the Baltic Sea, just below Finland. Estonia’s capital city, Tallinn, is about 83 kilometres south of Helsinki, across the Gulf of Finland. Sweden is Estonia’s western neighbour across the Baltic. To the south is Latvia with its capital city Riga, and Russia is to the east, with St. Petersburg across the north-eastern border.
LINKING EAST AND WEST
Estonians have been living in this tiny portion of the Baltic lands since approximately 2,500 B.C., making them the longest settled of the European peoples. Due to Estonia’s strategic location as a link between East and West, it has been highly coveted throughout time by rapacious conquerors and kings.
At the beginning of the 13th century, Estonia was subjugated by the Teutonic knights. Their castles can still be found along the countryside, in varying states of eerie decay. By 1285, Tallinn was part of the Hanseatic League and trading activities were dominated by German merchant families. Later, other nationalities such as the Danes, Swedes, Poles and Russians all swept across Estonia, setting up successive regimes, fortifying their towns and castles.
A FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE
In the late 19th century a powerful Estonian nationalist movement arose when in 1918 Estonia declared its independence. However, this period of independence was short when Estonia was forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.
The Soviet occupying force tried its best to force communist belief upon the Estonian people, but with very limited success. In 1991 Estonians again reasserted their independence, and peacefully broke away from the Soviet Union. Tallinn became the capital of the newly independent Republic of Estonia after its break away from communist rule. Regaining its independence brought about significant changes in most of the important sectors of city life.
The down town of Tallinn includes the Old Town with an intricate system of medieval streets and picturesque houses. Other major towns and cities are Pärnu, situated along the shore of the Baltic Sea and Tartu, where one of the oldest universities in Europe is located.
In some 15 years since the Baltic States regained their independence, they have all made remarkable progress towards full market economies.
Low inflation and good market prospects have led many multinational organisations to extend their businesses into this part of the globe. Estonia today is a wonderful place to live, a place to experience growth and realise possibilities.
Its amazing progress since restoring its independence in 1991 is epitomised by its impressive internet infrastructure, considered one of the most advanced anywhere in the world. Even in the depths of the countryside, you’re almost as likely to see a villager surfing the internet as milking a cow.
With a small nation, like Estonia, it is to be expected that few people have much knowledge of what it is like. Many generally assume that what is true of its larger well known neighbour, Russia, must be also true for Estonia; this, however, is far from the truth.
A UNIQUE CULTURE
Estonia has shared a border with Russia for centuries, and for most of the last 300 years, it has been under Russian domination. About one-third of the population still speaks Russian, but Estonians are not Russians. Estonians, together with Finns and Hungarians, are representatives of the Finno-Ugric people group, which has absolutely no connection with either Russia in the east or Sweden and Germany in the west. Estonia, Finland and Hungary represent a totally unique culture and language that is precious for its distinctiveness. The result is that Estonians are very proud of their special heritage and do not appreciate this being ignored by foreign guests.
Its capital, Tallinn, is a city of contrasts where history meets an exciting future. Cobblestone streets, old churches and cosy streets make up the old centre. The city’s Old Town is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list and the city’s original defence walls are still intact. However, Tallinn is also an increasingly modern capital with shopping malls, warehouses, a newly renovated airport and a busy harbour.
Estonia is an exciting destination and its international ties continously growing!
Prepare and Plan Visit
In this initial contact the Relocation Coordinator will brief the Transferee, introducing destination services commissioned, and provide access codes to HTLC Network on-line City-Specific Resource Guides. In addition, the Relocation Coordinator will help the Transferee assess personal and family’s housing needs, as well as their hopes and plans for the sojourn in your new destination. The Transferee will be asked to fill out a Personal Needs Analysis Form, which will enable customized service delivery. After gaining a sense of the Transferee’s needs, the Relocation Coordinator will arrange appointments with schools and real estate agents, an appointment will be set up with one of the Local Counsellors for a city briefing and a programme will be finalised for accompanied property and school viewings.
Airport Pickup and Greeting The Transferee and family will be met at the airport by a Local Counsellor and accompanied to designated hotel.
Destination Country and City Information
The Transferee will be given a briefing on the local city and life in your new destination in general, and will be encouraged to ask any questions. An Information Pack on the destination city will be provided. This Pack includes an information sheet with the HTLC Network office and Local Counsellor contact information and emergency telephone numbers. Further, it includes a city and transport map as well as a hard copy of HTLC Network own City-Specific Resource Guide, which contains a wealth of information such as telephone access codes, English-speaking doctors and expatriate clubs. When available, a copy of the English Yellow Pages, local English language periodicals and other relevant information will also be included in the Information Pack.
City by Zone Tour
The purpose of this tour is to familiarise the Transferee with selected areas of the city and type of housing and amenities available, in order to be better prepared to select the neighbourhood most suitable for personal and family needs. The City By Zone Tour is often delivered in conjunction with a house hunting programme.
International Schooling The Transferee will be briefed on educational opportunities in the area. The Relocation Coordinator will schedule appointments at the selected schools, and the Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to pre-arranged appointments although the appointments will be privately held between the Transferee and school administrators. Where possible, the Relocation Coordinator will organise enrolment procedure and arrange for company invoicing.
Full-Day Househunting Programme Following an in-depth briefing by the Relocation Coordinator a programme of property viewings will be arranged. The Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to pre-arranged viewings of up to eight properties.
Two-Day Househunting Programme Following an in-depth briefing by the Relocation Coordinator a programme of property viewings will be arranged. The Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to pre-arranged viewings of up to fifteen properties.
Lease Negotiation After the Transferee has selected a property, the Relocation Coordinator will negotiate lease conditions with the real estate agency or landlord according to The national destination law. HTLC Network coordinator will prepare a contract that ensures legal protection for the client. Particular attention is given to include a break clause, as international assignments often change in duration and the aim is to give maximum flexibility within the limits of the national destination law.
Property Inspection and Inventory Once the lease has been signed, a thorough property inspection is taken in the presence of the Transferee. This includes an inventory of any furnishings, general condition of the property, and meter readings for utility contracts.
Utility Connections, Phone Line and Bank Account The Relocation Coordinator will arrange all utility and telephone connections, and a Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to open a bank account in the selected area.
Settling-In Assistance The Local Counsellor will spend time with the Transferee and family, assisting with requested elements of the relocation process, such as arranging language training, obtaining a satellite decoder or internet service provider, shopping for furniture or securing house contents insurance. Duration of this service depends on various company authorizations.
Car Purchase or Lease The Relocation Coordinator will brief the Transferee on the logistics of making an automobile purchase and will research reputable dealers in the area. The Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to dealers and act as a translator. Once the Transferee has made the selection, HTLC Network will take care of necessary documentation including insurance cover. For long-term rental HTLC Network will advise local availability of this service.
If the Transferee requests, and is eligible, the Local Counsellor will assist with National Health Registration. City hall registration is a separate service and if authorizied, HTLC Network will assist with the whole bureaucratic procedure at the relative cityhall.
Ongoing Phone Support The HTLC Network support Helpline is available to all Transferees for 90 days from date of property contract signing. Extensions to this Helpline can be added in periods of three months.
Car Importation Importation of car to your new destination, including full document assistance and re-registration with Vehicle registry.
Full Assignment Tracking Full tracking of all deadlines throughout duration of the Transferees international assignment, notification given of all scheduled renewal dates, such as housing contracts, Permit of Stay and Work Permits. Ad Hoc Services Service rendered both from back and front office is available on an hourly and daily basis.
Immigration procedures and requirements vary greatly from country to country. Documents requested from applicants depend on the citizenship of the individual applying and the status he wishes to obtain in the destination country, be it authorisation to work, authorisation for accompanying family members, tourist or study visas, temporary or permanent residency status.
• HTLC Network has been selected by many International Law and Immigration Firms as well as Global Relocation Companies to represent them exclusively for immigration
• We work closely with the relevant governmental and police authorities in each country
• Our Immigration Team are experts in immigration laws and keep abreast of changing requirements and procedures
• We prepare all documentation for HR, all you have to do is print out and sign
• We inform the Transferee which specific documents are required , which translations must be obtained and if these must be legalised
• We provide HR and Transferees with information on the process flow, timing and specific legal requirements of each destination
• We update all parties involved regularly as to the status of the application
• Whenever possible, we act with a Power of Attorney on behalf of the company and the Transferee; when the Transferee’s presence is required, he will be accompanied to the relevant office in the destination city
• Our Local Counsellors, residents and locals of the destination city, are able to present the all prepared documentation to the relevant offices in person; thus speeding up the process and ensuring an efficient service
For more info about our immigration services in Estonia please contact our marketing department at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tallinn today is a city of contrasts. Cobblestone streets, old churches and cosy streets make up the old center with an increasingly modern capital with shopping malls, warehouses, a newly renovated airport and an increasingly busy harbour.
It is also one of Europe’s few medieval cities. Tallinn’s Old Town is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list and the city’s original defence walls are still intact.
Properties in Estonia usually come either furnished or semi-furnished. Unfurnished apartments are extremely hard to find.
A furnished property generally includes all items of furniture one would require and basic electrical domestics. It would not normally include soft furnishings unless specified. It is always a good idea to verify what the landlord means when he describes a property as furnished as the description could mean just the very basics.
Please note that air conditioners are not standard features in Estonian properties. Most modern properties have tumble dryers. Most properties in bigger cities like Tallinn come with Internet access.
A semi-furnished property usually comes with an equipped kitchen and some basic items of furniture.
It is always worth trying to offer a slightly lower figure than the asking price or request to have other furniture installed or work done on the property. Generally, if the requests of a prospective tenant are high and costly, the landlord will agree to do the works requested with an increase in the rent. It is not likely that a landlord will agree to undertake work on the property, install extra furniture and lower the price.
This depends on the Relocation Package you have; Our Basic Package includes 8 properties and our Extended Package includes 15 properties. You will be told at the outset how many properties you will be shown or how much time you have available to do the house hunting. The properties provided will be as close to your ‘Needs Analysis’ description as possible according to what is available on the market at the time.
A holding deposit is not required by law. However, if a property is in high demand, then it is advisable to pay a holding deposit and make a ‘Pre-Contract.’.
A ‘Pre-Contract’ is a proposal to rent; this can either be in the form of a draft contract, a few clauses or a letter putting forth the offer and conditions. The form the Pre-Contract should take will depend upon what is acceptable to the landlord. Emc Network will prepare this for their clients when required. The Pre-Contract is to be signed by the one intending to rent and a holding deposit, usually the sum of one months rent is to be paid to the Landlord. Any holding deposit thus paid will be deducted from rental payments later due.
The landlord has several days in which to accept or reject the proposal to rent (generally a minimum of 3, the number will be specified in the Pre-Contract). During this time he may not show the property to anyone else.
Security deposit: This is generally equal to one or two month’s rent. This, though, can vary and can be as much as 6 months’ rent for exclusive or luxury fully furnished villas – this deposit is refundable upon exit provided the property is returned in the same state and condition as when it was consigned.
Initial Rent: Rent is generally paid monthly although landlords can request otherwise and this will be specified in the contract (if a holding deposit has been paid previously, this is deducted from the amount due).
Real Estate Agent Fees: The fee is usually paid by the tenant and is generally equal to one month’s rent although it can be higher.)
All utility expenses are charged according to consumption. Condominium fees and garbage tax are generally included in the monthly rent.
Once the property is selected, if a Pre-Contract is required, this will be drawn up and presented by HTLC Network. The holding deposit required will be advised and this must be paid upon presentation of the proposal. Once the above Pre-Contract has been accepted, a legally valid contract is negotiated based on the terms and conditions presented in the Pre-Contract. HTLC Network will prepare a legal valid contract agreed upon by both parties. The contract should be prepared both in English and Estonian.
An appointment is arranged, usually at the real estate agency, for the tenant and landlord to sign the contract. The contract is read through and HTLC Network’s Local Counsellor’ will translate as necessary. Payments due are to be made.
If a contract is to be signed by a company rather than the individual Transferee, HTLC Network will prepare and send the approved version to the Company. Once a legal representative of the company has signed the copies of the contract, it will be collected by a Local Counsellor to be taken to the agency for the landlord’s signature.
The Company will be informed as to what documentation is necessary from them and the individual signing as its legal representative.
Provided the property and any furnishings are returned in the state in which they were consigned, Emc Network will be able to negotiate full deposit return for you.
To this end we insist on taking a thorough Property Inspection and Inventory when the tenant enters the property. This inventory is taken in the presence of the landlord and tenant and two copies are to be signed by both parties. If there is no damage, we will be able to obtain return of the full sum. Otherwise, a settlement will be agreed upon to cover any damages (beyond normal ‘wear and tear’).
The tenant is responsible for general maintenance whereas the landlord is responsible for major maintenance (i.e. the tenant is responsible for small items, such as doorbells, general plumbing, small cable works etc). This will be specified in the contract.
Alterations can be made only with written permission of the landlord. Small changes (e.g. hanging of towel rails in the bathroom) may be made but the property is to be handed back in exactly the same state it was consigned. Therefore any holes made in the walls must be filled and painted over before leaving the property; unless a different agreement is made with the landlord.
Short-term contracts are for less than one year; longer-term contracts are for a year or more. HTLC Network will ensure a diplomatic break clause is inserted into the contract for the protection of the tenant. In order to obtain full return of the security deposit, full notice period must be served.
Real Estate Fee – 10 % – of the agreed sale price. The real estate companies generally require this from the individual selling the property. Survey costs vary according to location and state of property.
Notary fees – depend on type of contract required, and whether property is bought outright or by means of financing.
As a general guide, the total sum of all expenses involved in a property purchase will total between 10 and 15% of the sale value.
The tenant has to pay for water, electricity, gas and telephone according to consumption. Cable TV is also paid for, if not specified otherwise in the rental contract.
Gas and Electricity contracts are usually kept in the name of the landlord although they may be changed into that of the tenant. There is no charge for a change of name or for the termination of a contract in the case of electricity, gas, and water, but a set-up charge is added to the first bill. Telephone contracts are to be made in the name of the tenant. Garbage tax is usually included in the monthly rent.
All bills arrive to the property address, unless specifically requested otherwise. Water and electricity bills are usually paid monthly. Gas bills are generally charged annually although if a contract has been specifically made with the company, they are charged monthly. Any extra charges (such as set-up, change of name of contract) are added to the first bill issued.
Emc Network ensure meter readings are noted when the property inspection and inventory are taken.
Utility bills can only be paid through the Internet, at the local utility office or through an ATM machine. A direct debit through your bank can be arranged for any fixed, monthly sum such as cable TV.
Electricity bills arrive to the property address directly from the electricity company. Two options exist:
1) Payment each month according to reported meter reading.
2) Payment of a fixed monthly sum with a tally of actual consumption at the end of the year
Telephone lines are almost exclusively already included in all properties and ISDN and ASDL is a common feature as analogue telephone lines are non longer available.
In the rare cases where a telephone is not installed, a written application should be sent to the Estonian telecommunication company ELION, along with a proof of an Estonian ID number and a valid rental contract. Provided a telephone cable is already installed in the residential area of which the house is situated, the installation will take approximately 10 days.
The electricity supply in Estonia is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz. European-style 2-pin plugs are in use. Do not bring electric appliances unless they have a dual voltage system. Most portable electronic devices like razors, laptop computers and video cameras, etc., are dual voltage, but they still require an adaptor plug to allow the North American plug to fit into the European socket. Adaptor plugs are available in most electronic supply stores in North America and locally in Estonia.
If the tenant wants to get satellite TV, the equipment must be purchased at a specialised store. These stores supply their own technicians who come and install the equipment. Various options of subscriptions are available.
In certain areas it is prohibited to place satellite dishes. Permission from the housing association or the landlord is required. There are several firms that offer cable TV. In order for a tenant to install cable TV him/her self, he/she needs to provide written consent of the property owner and a copy of his/her passport.
Application is to be made in person at the relevant company’s premises. Your Local Counsellor will assist with this as well as arranging to set up subscriptions to channels in the language of your choice as part of your ‘Settling In Services’.
An International Driving Licence is required for non-EU citizens and is valid for one year from the date of arrival in Estonia. A possible extension of the licence depends on your country of origin and what bilateral agreements they have with them.
Drivers resident in Estonia must pass both the theory and practical sections of the driving examination at any of the Estonian Motor Vehicle Registration Bureaus (ARK) and exchange their foreign driving license for a valid Estonian one. If the licence is changed within a year, there is no examination needed.
Theory tests are available in languages other than Estonian – English, Russian, Finnish and German.
Should either part of the examination be failed, the individual may re-sit just that section. The original licence is returned to the individual when Transferee leaves the country and returns the Estonian licence.
Estonian law requires the driver to carry his International Driving Licence (if a European citizen; a regular licence) and passport at all times. A valid insurance policy is also a requirement.
The driver and front – seat passenger must wear seatbelts at all times.
HEADLIGHTS MUST BE SWITCHED ON AT ALL TIMES!
Within the city the speed limit is 30 – 50 km/h, on the roads 70 – 90km/h, in summer on some roads 110 km/h.
Visitors to Estonia may drive for as long as they are permitted to stay in the country – Do not forget to bring the car registration documents with you! Once any individual is in possession of a Residence Permit, he needs to register his vehicle as “Temporary” in the country.
An application form must be completed, the car is to be inspected by the Car Registration Centre and temporary plates will be issued.
Vehicles (irrespective of their value) imported as goods are subject to declaration in writing on a customs declaration. In the case of vehicles where the import duties and taxes are determined on the basis of the vehicle’s pre-registration inspection report issued by the Estonian Car Registration Centre, this report must be submitted to the customs office of the place of residence and import duties and taxes must be paid within 10 calendar days from the date of crossing the customs frontier.
All foreign workers are required to have a valid Work Permit and a Residency Permit.
For the first application for a Residence Permit you must apply personally either to the relevant government office in Estonia or to the Estonian Consulate in your country of residence.
It usually takes between 1-2 months to obtain the permit although this may vary according to your country of origin, the length of your stay and whether or not you work for an Estonian or international company. For citizens of the European Union, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway, Japan and the United States can stay without the Residence Permit for a total of 90 days between a period of six months. Citizens from any other countries can stay for 30 days.
For EU citizens, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway, Japan and the United States a Work Permit can be granted for up to 5 years. For other countries, the permit is usually granted for one or two years at a time.
The country has many well-equipped hospitals where English-speaking specialists can easily be sourced.
No vaccinations or health certificates are required upon entering Estonia.
– Extensive rapidly growing client list.
– Exclusive partner/representative of many Global Relocation Service Providers.
– Exclusive representative of many International Law and Immigration Firms.
– Quality control guarantee: Head Office directs all relocations and immigrations in every destination.
– All staff required to attend on-going training sessions and workshops to keep updated as to global mobility needs.
– No language barriers – Assistance provided in all major European languages and many others.
– Corporate consultation with HTLC Network’s’ Representatives at location of choice.
– HTLC Network own ‘Resource Guides’ providing a wealth of everyday information for expatlife in destination city.
– Comprehensive FAQs for each country serviced.
– Red Alert List to prepare for the specific challenges of each destination.
– Extra ‘Safety’ section in Resource Guides for countries posing specific security threats.
– 24-hour Emergency Helpline for Transferees
HTLC Network will prepare all the necessary paperwork, email it to the Company and direct as to how the various documents are to be printed out and signed. We will send one of our Local Counsellors with Power of Attorney to act on behalf of the individual and company.
When the Transferee has to be present to apply for a document, he will be accompanied by our Local Counsellor.
HTLC Network will prepare the contract in the name of a legal representative of the Company. We require full data of the individual, a photocopy of his/her passport ID pages and a photocopy of a document demonstrating position within the Company.
The prepared contract will be emailed to the appropriate Company contact and instructions will be given on how it is to be printed out and signed. Once signed, one of HTLC Network’ Local Counsellors will collect the contract and deliver it to the real estate agent for the signature of the landlord. A signed copy will be returned to the Company whilst the three copies of the contract are being registered, thereafter a registered copy will be delivered.
Arrangements will be made to take a thorough inventory in the presence of the tenant and landlord.
Legally, yes, as long as it can be proved that the individual who signs the contract has the legal right to sign as a representative of the Company. Many landlords however, will not accept this as it is harder to take a foreign Company to court should there be any missing rent payments or problems. As landlord’s rarely accept a foreign Company signing the lease, it is usually signed by the local company that is VAT registered in Italy.
For the presentation of document application, it varies from city to city. Wherever possible HTLC Network will prepare power of attorney in order for a Local Counsellor to act on behalf of the Transferee and family.
To release the obtained documents, the Transferee and other members of the family must be present as an original signature is required.
All Local Counsellors are really ‘local’ to the area where they assist Transferees. They are selected for their good knowledge of their city area.
All Local Counsellors are trained by EMC Network to follow our set pattern of delivering services using an in-house ‘Training and Operations Manual’.
All Local Counsellors are closely directed by Office Coordinators, ensuring a consistent standard of service is delivered.
All relocations are handled by the same system of centralisation. When required, we arrange for a member of our office team to go to the location of a group move to be an in-house Coordinator, working from the Client Company’s premises as a point of reference for HR, Transferees and their families.
In main centres we have several Local Counsellors.
HTLC Network aims to equip your workforce to settle into their new environment as soon as possible. Upon arrival they are presented with a local Information Pack. They are given access to our on-line City Specific Resource Guides that provide general local information as well as specific local information once a suitable property has been located.
We have a 24hour emergency helpline throughout the duration of the relocation. We provide a 90 day complimentary phone line that can be extended throughout the duration of the assignment.
Our aim is to teach the Transferee how to live in his new city and to equip him to be as independent as possible.
Area: 45 227 sq km
Time Zone: GMT+2
Capital city: Tallin
Bordering countries: Latvia, Russia, bordering the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland.
Climate: wet, with moderate winters and cool summers.
Legislative Branch: Unicameral Parliament
National Holiday: 24 February and 20 August
Currency: Estonian kroon (EEK)
Population: 1,3 million inhabitants.
Religion: Evangelical Lutheran, Russian Orthodox, Estonian Orthodox, Baptist, Methodist.
Languages: Estonian. Russian, Finnish and Ukrainian also spoken.