Permanent residence permit-holders not affected by long-term resident language requirements
11.04.2006During the hearing of the draft legislation prepared by the Ministry of the Interior altering the Aliens Act, the Riigikogu has decided to bring the integration requirements it sets out for individuals to obtain a long-term residence permit into force as of 1 June 2007.
“The idea of the integration requirement is that foreigners who wish to associate themselves with Estonia for a longer period must be able to speak Estonian at the elementary level when applying for a long-term residence permit, starting from June next year,” said the Interior Ministry’s Kert Valdaru for the head of the Aliens Department.
Until 1 June 2007, applicants for a long-term residence permit will not be required to take the exam. Thus anybody who meets the requirements for the permit may apply for such status without any additional demands being placed on them after the amendment to the Aliens Act enters into force in the Riigikogu on 1 June 2006.
“People who currently have a permanent residence permit will be issued a long-term residence permit automatically and will not have to fulfil the language requirement,” added Valdaru.
Also freed of the requirement are citizens under the age of 15 and over the age of 65; individuals who have obtained their basic, secondary or higher education in Estonian; adults with limited legal capacity; and individuals who are unable to take the language exam due to their health.
Development of the draft legislation to amend the Aliens Act was the result of Estonia's obligation to bring its laws into conformity with those of the European Union. The goal of the directive on long-term residence status is to harmonise the living and working conditions in European Union member states of citizens from other countries.
Press release by Estonian Ministry of the Interior
Council Directive 2003/109/EC concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents
Language requirements for applicants for long-term residence permits