On this web page you can find information about the organisation of Estonian language proficiency examinations and the reimbursement of the cost of language courses. http://www.innove.ee/en/language-examination

Registering for the exam

The Estonian language proficiency examinations are free for everyone. Examination dates available here.

It is possible to register for the exam in three different ways:

  • using the services of the eesti.ee inquiry portal on the internet;
  • printing out an application from the website of the Foundation Innove, adding a copy of your passport or identity card to the filled-out application, and sending the application and the copy to the Foundation Innove;
  • filling out an application at the Foundation Innove, adding a copy of your passport or identity card, and giving the documents to the information secretary.

Procedure for registering for the examination

  • Registration for the Estonian language proficiency examination closes on the 1st of the month before the month when the examination is held.
  • The examination notice, stating the time and place of the examination and the consultation, will be sent to the applicant’s postal address or e-mail specified in the examination application. Generally, the notice concerning the Estonian language proficiency examination is sent one month before the examination.
  • Whether the application was filed through the eesti.ee state portal or brought/sent to Innove in hard copy is irrelevant for checking one’s data in the query environment of the state portal.
  • The results of the Estonian language proficiency examination can be obtained through the state portal within 30 days after taking the examination. The results are not communicated over the phone.

An applicant for the Estonian citizenship who is 65 years old or older is exempted from fulfilling the requirements set by the Estonian Republic Citizenship Act § 8 Chapter 2 Clause 4 (the skill to compose a simple text on a familiar topic or a topic of personal interest), i.e. from the written test. He/she is to take three parts of the examination: listening, reading and speaking.

The person is to choose level B1* (applicant for the Estonian citizenship aged 65 or above) in the registration application.

Registering for the examination again in case of failing to attend the examination

The person who fails to attend the examination without an acceptable reason or whose examination result is below 35 percentage points of the total number of points required, may take the examination again six months after the previous examination date at the earliest.

No restrictions apply if the person cancels his or her registration for the examination at least 7 days before the examination is held. Registration can be cancelled by calling the 735 0500 number or sending the relevant written application by e-mail to innove@innove.ee .

The person who has failed to attend the examination due to an acceptable reason and would like to take the examination earlier than 6 months after the previous examination date is to provide a free-form explanation of the reason of absence and the relevant note or certificate to Foundation Innove within 30 days. The application for the registration for the examination may be attached to the documents.

Special cases

An applicant for citizenship who is unable to take the Estonian language proficiency exam pursuant to the general procedure for health reasons can take these exams to the extent and in the manner permitted by their health. In special cases, the applicant may be exempted from taking the exam. The corresponding application must be submitted to the Foundation Innove in order to be allowed to take the exam according to simplified procedure.

The decision regarding to what extent and how the applicant for citizenship must take the Estonian language exam, or whether the applicant is exempt will be made by an expert committee. The committee may decide to reject the application or to accede to the application in full or in part.

If the expert committee decides to partially exempt the applicant from taking the exam, the decision of the expert committee must be attached to the exam application and the copy of the identity card.

If you wish to take both the Estonian language exam and the exam on the knowledge of the law, two separate applications must be filled out and submitted together with copies of your passport or identity card.

Registration for the Estonian language exam ends on the first day of the month preceding the exam, for example, the registration for the exam in October ends on September 1.

Compensation for the costs of learning the Estonian language for others

Compensation for language learning costs to those who are not eligible for compensation for the costs based on the Citizenship Act, or Language Act but have passed the Estonian language examination at the proficiency level A2, B1, B2, or C1.

Rules for applying for compensation

  • You can apply for this compensation if you are not eligible for compensation according to the Citizenship Act (applicants for the Republic of Estonia citizenship) or Languages Act (persons who were referred to the language examination by the Language Inspectorate).
  • You have the right to compensation regardless of your citizenship.
  • Only natural persons can apply for compensation. It is not possible to apply for compensation for the language learning costs incurred on employee training under an injunction.
  • Compensation can be applied for by adults (18 years old and older), 17-yr-olds without basic education, and 15 to 17-yr-olds who have basic education and are currently not studying under a programme of higher level education, i.e., general education, vocational secondary education, or higher education.
  • You can apply for compensation if you have passed the Estonian language proficiency examination at level A2, B1, B2, or C1. The examinations must be passed on a lower-to-higher level basis, meaning that if you have passed a higher-level examination and received compensation, you will not be paid compensation when passing a lower level later on. Compensation received starting from 2010 is taken into account.
  • If you apply for compensation for the tuition fee of an Estonian language course, the course must be completed by the time the application is submitted. Compensation can be paid for language learning costs incurred within 2 years before the proficiency examination after which compensation is applied for.
  • The educational institution that ran the Estonian language course must have an education licence issued by the Ministry of Education and Research, or a corresponding registration in the Estonian Education Information System. The existence of an education licence can be verified in the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS).
  • You must submit your application for compensation within six months after you find out that you have passed the Estonian language proficiency examination. The time limit for the submission of the application will be counted from the seventh day after delivery of the notice of passing.
  • The tuition fee paid for Estonian language learning is compensated to the extent of up to 320 euros, once for each Estonian language proficiency examination passed. This means that if you pass the proficiency examination for each language level (A2, B1, B2, C1) and you have received Estonian language training before passing each examination, you can apply for compensation for learning costs for each level once.
  • No income tax is withheld from the amounts payable, meaning that up to 320 euros, you will be compensated 100% of your training costs. According to the Income Tax Act §26(2), you will not be able to deduct the training costs from your income to the extent that was compensated for. Foundation Innove provides the Tax and Customs Board with information about the compensation paid.
  • Compensation will be paid into the bank account indicated in the application within one month after the application and the cost statements have been duly checked and forwarded to the accounts department of Foundation Innove.
  • If you would like the transfer to be made to a foreign bank account, be sure to provide the full name of the bank and the SWIFT/BIC code.
  • If you have provided false information, Foundation Innove will have the right to reclaim the amount of compensation paid.
  • Foundation Innove has the right to request additional documents to verify compliance of the application with the compensation award conditions.

Application form and documents to be enclosed

To apply for compensation, you must submit a written application to Foundation Innove. The forms are available on Foundation Innove’s website, in the Foundation’s information hall in Tallinn at Lõõtsa 4 as well as at the Foundation’s regional contact points:

Jõhvi – Rajaleidja Centre in Ida-Viru County, Keskväljak 4, (shopping centre Tsentraal)
Narva – Rajaleidja Centre in Ida-Viru County, Kerese 3, (Kerese Centre)
Tartu – Rajaleidja Centre in Tartu County, Tähe 4 (4th floor)

You can also submit your application and cost statements digitally. Click here for details.

Application for compensation for training costs paid for Estonian language learning

The application must be accompanied by a copy of an identity document (identity card, citizen of the Republic of Estonia passport, alien’s passport, residence permit). You can make a copy also on-site at Foundation Innove.

  • Along with the application, you must submit the original of a document certifying payment of the tuition fee. Documents certifying payment of the tuition fee are cash payment receipts, card payment receipts, original copies of bank payment orders, account statements certified by the bank. Documents certifying payment must comply with the requirements provided for in the Accounting Act §7.
  • A document certifying payment of the tuition fee must indicate for what the tuition fee was paid. Language learning costs are compensated only based on documents that expressly show that payment was made for Estonian language learning. If another natural person has paid the training costs for the compensation applicant, the details of the document certifying payment must indicate the name of the person who learned the language (the recipient of compensation), and that payment was made for Estonian language learning.
  • In addition to a payment order submitted as a document certifying payment, you must submit an invoice from the educational institution, or a certificate that proves that you have received training and that the sums have been paid.
  • A card payment receipt must be accompanied by a certificate issued by the educational institution. The certificate must indicate the training period, total cost of the course, and that the payments made have been credited to the bank account of the educational institution. Payments must be shown by dates and amounts.
  • If another natural person has paid the training costs for the compensation applicant, this must be indicated on the certificate issued by the educational institution.
  • All documents certifying training costs must be originals, or verified with the issuer’s digital signature (unverified copies of cost statements will not be accepted).

Submitting an application digitally

  • You can submit your application for compensation for the costs of Estonian language learning, and the cost statements also digitally.
  • All the documents submitted (apart from the copy of your identity document) must be verified with the issuer’s digital signature.
  • The application must be verified with the digital signature of the applicant (the person who passed the examination).
  • The certificate and/or invoices from the educational institution must bear the signature of the head of the institution.
  • Bank payment orders must be verified with the bank’s digital signature.
  • You must add a copy of your identity document to the aforementioned documents.
  • Please send the documents at innove@innove.ee

Information about applying for compensation, and help with preparation of the compensation application is available at Foundation Innove and at the regional examination contact points.

More information:
Foundation Innove, Lõõtsa 4, Tallinn 11415, hotline 735 0500, innove@innove.ee