Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2017, 12:01 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2002 - Estonia

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 10 June 2002
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2002 - Estonia , 10 June 2002, available at: [accessed 23 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

At the end of 2001, 20 asylum seekers had pending claims in Estonia, and 3 persons held temporary residence permits granted on humanitarian grounds. Estonia did not confer refugee status on any asylum seeker during the year. During the year, 12 asylum seekers submitted applications, of whom the largest number, 4, were from Syria.

Asylum Procedure

Estonia acceded to the UN Refugee Convention and adopted a national refugee law (the Refugees Act) in 1997. Estonia's Citizenship and Migration Board (CMB) may conduct expedited processing of asylum applications at border checkpoints and in areas within Estonia or for applicants who arrive from a "safe country of origin" or a "safe third country," or whose claims are "manifestly unfounded."

The CMB interviews applicants to ascertain their credibility, the authenticity of their documents, and their compliance with the grounds for asylum in Estonia before deciding whether to allow them to enter the normal refugee status determination procedure or begin deportation proceedings.

Estonia requires asylum applicants to live in a refugee reception center in Illuka, on the border with Russia, unless they have a legal basis for staying in Estonia and the financial means to do so. At year's end, 11 persons were living in the center.

Recognized refugees receive temporary residence permits and work authorization for up to two years, which may be extended if the conditions that caused them to flee persist. Refugees also have the right to state allowances, employment services, and unemployment benefits equal to those of citizens. Persons granted temporary residence on humanitarian grounds receive the same benefits as other aliens residing temporarily in Estonia.

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