Estonia

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Monday, 16 December 2013.   It has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Estonia.

Estonia overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Estonia.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • Although civil unrest is generally not a problem in Estonia, you should avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings as they may turn violent.
  • Australia has a Consulate in Tallinn, headed by an Honorary Consul, which provides limited consular assistance (not including visa and immigration services or the issue of passports). The Australian Embassy in Sweden provides full consular assistance to Australians in Estonia.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Estonia for the most up to date information.

Estonia is a party to the Schengen Convention, along with 25 other European countries, which allows Australians to enter Estonia without a visa in some circumstances. See our travel bulletin on the Schengen Convention for more information.

Estonia requires visitors to have valid travel and health insurance that covers them for the equivalent of 30,000 Euros (about $A40,000) for the duration of their stay. Immigration authorities may deny entry to visitors who are unable to provide evidence of adequate insurance coverage. It is possible to purchase insurance coverage at the border.

People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) carrying 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency) are required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Under the legislation, the term "cash" includes cheques, travellers' cheques and money orders. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

Civil unrest/political tension

Although civil unrest is generally not a problem in Estonia, you should avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings as they may turn violent.

Crime

Street crime, including muggings and assault, occurs, particularly during the summer months. Petty crime, including bag snatching and pickpocketing, has been reported, particularly in the Old Town area of the capital, Tallinn. Travellers at airports, parks, train stations and around major hotels have been targeted, particularly after dark. Thieves often work together in small groups.

Incidents of car theft and theft from vehicles are common.

Credit card fraud and internet-based crime, including dating and financial scams, have been reported.

The emergency contact number for the police is 110.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Estonia.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

Driving in Estonia can be dangerous due to local driving practices, poorly maintained roads and vehicles and inadequate road lighting. Winter tyres are required by law from 1 December to 1 March. These dates may vary according to weather conditions. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Official taxis are marked and have a visible meter. Do not use illegal taxis, and do not allow extra passengers in the vehicle.

At night, pedestrians must wear reflectors. Failure to do so may attract a fine. Reflectors are available at most supermarkets and small shops and are inexpensive.

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Estonia, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Penalties for all drug offences, even possession of small amounts, include heavy fines and imprisonment.

There is zero tolerance for drink driving. Penalties for driving with a blood alcohol content greater than zero include heavy fines and imprisonment.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Estonia recognises dual nationality in limited circumstances. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Estonian dual nationals who are arrested or detained. We recommend that you travel on your Australian passport at all times.

Australian/Estonian dual national males may be liable for military service if they have a permanent address in Estonia. If you are unsure of your military service obligation, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Estonia.

Our Dual nationals provides further information for dual nationals.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The standard of medical facilities at the main hospitals in the capital Tallinn and in Tartu is good. In rural regions, however, facilities may be limited due to a lack of equipment and medical supplies. Many doctors and hospitals will require up-front payment before commencing treatment. In the event of a serious accident or illness, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities may be necessary. Medical evacuation costs are considerable.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and rabies) occur. Water contamination may be a problem in rural areas. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, avoid ice and raw and undercooked food.

Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis and other tick-borne diseases. Ticks are common from spring to autumn.

Where to get help

The contact number for the emergency services (ambulance and fire services) is 112. The emergency contact number for police assistance is 110.

Australia has a Consulate in Estonia headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular assistance (not including visa and immigration services or the issue of passports). Contact details for the Consulate are:

Australian Consulate, Tallinn

c/- Standard Ltd
Marja 9
EE10617 Tallinn ESTONIA
Telephone +372 6 509 308
Facsimile +372 6 509 344
Email: mati@standard.ee

You can obtain full consular assistance from the nearest Australian Embassy in Sweden.

Australian Embassy, Stockholm

Klarabergsviadukten 63, 8th Floor
111 64 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Telephone +46 (0)8 613 2900
Facsimile +46 (0)8 613 2982
Email: reception@austemb.se
Website: www.sweden.embassy.gov.au

If you are travelling to Estonia, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Estonia experiences extremely cold winters and heavy snowfall.

Flooding may occur in spring.

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.