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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Estonia

Estonia

2. Voluntary Activities

2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes

On this page
  1. EU programmes
  2. Other Programmes
  3. Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

EU programmes

Several organizations are involved in cross-border volunteering networks and provide Estonian young people opportunities to volunteer abroad and foreign young people to volunteer in Estonia. 

Department of Youth Programs of the Agency of Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps implements the European Solidarity Corps (previous European Voluntary Service or EVS). Different Erasmus+ voluntary activities are also implemented by NGOs, for example:

  • Continuous Action (voluntary work, international youth exchanges and training activities, etc.);
  • EstYES (youth exchanges, training activities, European Solidarity Corps, and other voluntary activities, including volunteering in Estonia).

Other Programmes

Global Education Network of Young Europeans (GLEN) sends young volunteers to some African, Asian or Eastern-European countries for a three-month-long period. The programme has been running since 2003 and during this time, more than 50 volunteers have been supported. The programme is financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

NGO Mondo has been involved in sending Estonian volunteers to different countries (most actions are supported by the Estonian state, European Commission and/or private donators), for example:

  • Kenia - starting from 2018 the volunteers are being sent through the EU AID Volunteers programme;
  • Ghana;
  • Uganda - starting from 2018 the volunteers are being sent through the EU AID Volunteers programme;
  • Afganistan;
  • Burma;
  • Ukraine.

According to their report, in 2018, 19, and in 2019, 35 humanitarian aid volunteers were on different missions in these countries. 

Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

There is a specific regulation covering conditions to enter Estonia and apply for the temporary residence permit in Estonia for youth volunteering. In general, volunteering is recognized as studies and therefore conditions that allow temporary residence permits for studying also apply in case of youth volunteering.

The Aliens Act defines specific regulations to volunteers coming to Estonia. There is an opportunity to get a residence permit on conditions similar to studies when a person is applying for the permit and has come to Estonia as a volunteer. The Act defines that a temporary residence permit for study or volunteering may be issued to an alien “for voluntary service within the framework of a youth project or program recognised by the Ministry of Education and Research”. Specific requirements in the Act for voluntary service define, that a temporary residence permit for study may be granted for voluntary service under the following conditions:

  • the activity of an alien in the framework of a youth project or program shall not be employed for the purposes of this Act, including that an alien shall not get remuneration for the activity;
  • an institution or organisation within the framework of whose youth project or program an alien is applying for residence permit for voluntary service activities shall bear the subsistence costs of an alien during his or her residence in Estonia;
  • an institution or organisation within the framework of whose youth project or program an alien is applying for residence permit for voluntary service activities has entered into an insurance contract which would cover all medical costs caused by illness or injuries of an alien and;
  • a contract of voluntary service has been concluded between an alien and the institution or organisation within the framework of whose youth project or program an alien is applying for residence permit for voluntary service activities.

The contract of voluntary service entered into between an alien and the youth association for voluntary service in the framework of whose youth project or program an alien is applying for a residence permit, has to describe:

  • the duties of an alien;
  • the tutoring conditions related to the performance of the duties;
  • working time of an alien;
  • means for covering travelling, subsistence and accommodation costs and for allowances during the whole stay in Estonia and;
  • the training provided to an alien for better performance of voluntary service if necessary.