Health care and safety

While living an active life, do not forget your safety! Tartu Police has compiled several good recommendations for you to follow to avoid running into serious trouble:

  • Drink responsibly – do not drink alcohol with people you do not know and don’t leave your drink unattended.
  • Do not walk alone in parks and other empty spaces late at night. If this is inevitable, choose more busy and well-lit routes.
  • Wearing a pedestrian reflector during the darker months is compulsory! They can be purchased at almost any store. The reflector must be visible from all sides and should ideally be worn 50-80 cm from the ground.
  • If the marked crosswalk is closer than 100 meters, pedestrians should cross the street using crosswalk. Not doing so you can get fine.
  • Don’t sign any documents you don’t understand.
  • Get a good U-lock for your bicycle. Do not leave your bicycle unlocked.
  • Public drinking in Estonia is illegal. Alcohol and tobacco products can only be purchased by and for those 18 years of age and older.
  • If you have internet-related safety concerns, you can contact the Web Constables.
  • Never leave your apartment unlocked.
  • Never tamper with fire extinguishers or smoke detectors in your apartment or dorm room and ensure that you know where they are and how they work. Having smoke detector at home is compulsory!
  • If you live in an apartment with gas heating, you must by law have a carbon monoxide detector. It is also recommended that you have a detector if you have wood heating or a fireplace.

For emergency situations of any nature, dial 112!

Emergency care (in Estonian: “kiirabi”)

One can reach an ambulance on 112 from all over Estonia.

The accident ward and the emergency medical service unit are open 24/7 and you may seek help from them especially at weekends and at night time when family practitioners are off duty.

In Tartu, both the emergency medical care unit and the accident ward are located in L. Puusepa St. 8. In the case of emergency, you may always go to the emergency reception or call an ambulance.

Transportation by ambulance in case of emergency is free of charge. Visit fee of up to 5 EUR can be charged if you go to the emergency reception.

Emergency care unit (in Estonian: “EMO – erakorralise meditsiini osakond”)

L. Puusepa 8, Section G1, first floor (entrance on the left side of the building)
Phone: 731 8183

Depending on the type of help needed, there is also an emergency care unit at Children’s Clinic, Ear Clinic, Eye Clinic, Stomatology Clinic and Psychiatry Clinic.

Read more here.

Pharmacies (in Estonian: “apteek”)

The most central pharmacy is Tartu Raeapteek that is situated at Town Hall and open for 24 hours. However, there are many pharmacies all around the city, almost in each shopping center.

Find the closest drugstore to you here.

You can always ask the pharmacist for advice to help you choose the best medication for your health concern.

Read more about medicinal products and pharmacies here.

Family doctor (in Estonian: “perearst”)

All insured people should choose a family practitioner, who is the first contact point in case of illness or if there is a need for a health certificate, prescription medicine or for specialised medical care.

The family practitioner treats minor illnesses, can make home visits and gives referrals to visit a medical specialist. You´ll normally get an appointment in a couple of days, or more quickly in acute cases.

The list of family practitioners in Tartu is available on the city of Tartu’s website (in Estonian). Visit Health Board (in Estonian) page to see if the family practitioner has free places for new patients.

Some examples of English speaking family practitioners in Tartu

  • Perearst Tarmo Loogus OÜ (Tarmo Loogus family doctor center)
    Address: Tasku Centre, Turu 2, 4th floor
    Tel: 7 333 099, 7 312 168

PS! If you stay in Tartu for a short period (for example just a few months), you can also ask the doctor if s/he could make an appointment without registering you to the directory.

One of the doctors who agrees to help you even without registering to her directly, is doctor Tiiu Tootsi. You can get in touch with her by phone (745 5187) or sending an e-mail to info@perearsttiiutootsi.ee.

Read more about primary health care in Estonia here.

Estonian ID code

Before registering with a family physician, you need to have a personal identification code (ID code).

(1) EU/EEA citizens

If you have an EU/EEA citizenship you can apply for Estonian ID code at the same place where you register your residence in Tartu. It can be done at Tartu Welcome Centre (Ülikooli 17) or Tartu City Government’s Population Registry Service (Küüni 5).

Find more information here.

(2) Non-EU/EEA citizens

If you have a non-EU/EEA citizenship you can get your Estonian ID code with your Temporary Residence Permit (TRP). If you are staying in Estonia with a visa you can apply for Estonian ID code at Tartu Welcome Centre or Tartu City Government’s Vital Statistics Registry Service (Tiigi 12, office hours are Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri 9.00-12.00 and 13.00-16.00, Thu 9-12).

NB! Take your personal identification document (passport or ID-card) with you when applying for the ID code.

Health Board advisor

All newly relocated foreign nationals can get advice on healthcare in Estonia from Health Board advisor Andrei by e-mail at Andrei.Petuhhov@terviseamet.ee or by calling +3727943500. Find additional information here.

There is also 24-hour family practitioners medical telephone counselling available on the phone number 1220, that is primarily intended to provide advice on minor health problems and guidance on first aid.

The assistance is provided 24/7 in Estonian and Russian; and daily at 15:00–17:00 in English.

If using foreign mobile network operator, please dial +372 634 6630 for medical counselling.

All visits to medical specialists are organized via the family practitioner except for visits to:

  • psychiatrist;
  • gynaecologist;
  • dermatologist or venereologist;
  • optometrist;
  • dentist;
  • pulmonologist (for tuberculosis treatment);
  • infection specialist (for HIV/AIDS treatment);
  • surgeon or orthopaedist (for traumatology).

Consult the family practitioner when choosing a particular medical specialist. Visit fee for a medical specialist is up to 5 EUR. However, some appointment times are outside the insurance scheme and then the visit fee may be much higher. It is advisable to ask about the visit fee when making the appointment.

Medical specialist may find that you need hospitalisation. If you are insured, in-patient fee of up to 2.50 EUR per day is charged for up to 10 days per hospitalisation.

If you have private insurance then in most cases, you should only pay the visit fee and the doctor will send invoices for the rest of the costs directly to your insurance provider. If the doctor you visit does not have a contract with the insurance provider for the compensation of cost, you must pay the full cost of the health service yourself. In that case, keep all the cost documents and referrals and apply for compensation from your insurance provider.  If you have any problems using your (private) health insurance in Estonia, you can ask for information and advice from your insurance provider or the Estonian Health Insurance Fund by calling their information line 16363.

See here for more information on specialised medical care.

Dental care

For adults, dental care is not free of charge. There are many dental care providers in Tartu, but the most central one is the Stomatology Clinic of Tartu University (Town Hall Square 6, 2nd floor, phone: 731 9100).

See here for more information on dental care.

Counselling for students and university staff

(1) Councelling for students and staff of the Univeristy of Tartu

Students and staff of the University of Tartu will receive a variety of counselling services, including psychological counselling.

More information can be found here.

(2) Support services for students of Estonian University of Life Sciences

Read more on the support services here.

Estonian Health Insurance Fund (in Estonian: “Eesti Haigekassa”)

If you work in Estonia, you might be insured by Estonian Health Insurance Fund. In this case visiting the public health care provider is either free (family doctor) or costs 5 eur/visit (specialist doctor). If you visit private health care provider, check if they have a contract with Estonian Health Insurance Fund and whether the service you need is covered by the contract.

If you do not know if you have Estonian insurance, you can check it at www.eesti.ee or by calling to Estonian Health Insurance Fund, +372 669 6630.

EU Health Insurance Card

If you are from an EU/EEA country and you are insured back home, your insurance is also valid in Estonia. To use this insurance you need to have your EU Health Insurance Card with you, additionally you will need your ID. This gives you same rights with persons insured in Estonia. Check with your health care service back home if you do not know how to get it.

Private insurance

If you have your private insurance (eg Swisscare, Ergo, travel insurance etc) you normally have to pay yourself first (at least if the amounts are not huge) and then get refunded, but check with your insurance provider.

There are differences regarding Estonian Health Insurance Fund coverage for international students studying in Estonia. In general, the students of bachelor’s and master’s programmes are not covered by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, unless they are employed in Estonia. Thus they need to ensure they have some other health insurance for their period of study in Estonia.

Health Insurance for international students: EU citizens

(1) The students of bachelor’s and master’s level:

EU and EEA students studying in Estonia for a degree are not covered by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, unless they are employed in Estonia or have the right of permanent residence, so they can obtain the EHIC only if they are covered by the social security system of their home country.

If you have valid health insurance in your home country during your studies in Estonia, you can apply for the EU Health Insurance card (EHIC) or substitute certificate of an EU health insurance card (form E128). You should apply for that from the social service authorities in your home country before arriving in Estonia.

To be eligible for an EHIC, you must be insured by or covered by a state social security system in any member state of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

(2) The PhD students have Estonian Health Insurance Fund coverage, unless they have not registered their right of residence in Estonia, are on academic leave or have extended their period of study.

(3) One can purchase an insurance contract with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Please check the conditions here.

Health Insurance for international students: non-EU citizens with TRP

(1) The students of bachelor’s and master’s level need to purchase private insurance from an insurance company. There is a strict policy in Estonia regarding health insurance coverage, in terms of length, for the residence permit and there are limited number of insurance companies suitable for the residence permit (see below).

Temporary residence permit (TRP) is issued for the whole nominal period of studies (bachelor level students have it for three years, master level students for two and etc). This means that student needs health insurance coverage for the whole period of studies. However, one can still purchase insurance for a year and extend it on time to guarantee continuous medical coverage.

Most often, international students in Estonia choose one of the following insurance companies meeting the requirements of the TRP:

KindlustusEst is a insurance broker who can help with finding suitable insurance. It is possible to compare the prices of different insurance (such as AON and Ergo) providers on their website and sign the contract online. No additional fees are charged from students.

Whichever insurance you are using, be prepared to cover your medical costs yourself first. If you have to pay for medical services, keep all the cost documents and apply for refund from your insurance provider according to the provider’s procedures. If the costs are eligible under your insurance policy, the provider will make the refund.

(2) The PhD students have Estonian Health Insurance Fund coverage, unless they do not have TRP, are on academic leave or have extended their period of study.

(3) One can purchase an insurance contract with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Please check the conditions here.

Health Insurance for international students: non-EU citizens with D-visa

Students with D-visa need to have insurance policy valid for Estonia or for the Schengen area with coverage of at least 30 000 EUR for the entire duration of the D-visa period. Students can choose insurance offered by their home university or any insurance company in their home country that offers suitable coverage.

KindlustusEst is a insurance broker who can help with finding suitable insurance. It is possible to compare the prices of different insurance providers on their website and sign the contract online. No additional fees are charged from students.

Whichever insurance you are using, be prepared to cover your medical costs yourself first. If you have to pay for medical services, keep all the cost documents and apply for refund from your insurance provider according to the provider’s procedures. If the costs are eligible under your insurance policy, the provider will make the refund.

If you have questions about primary healthcare that you can not find answers for, you are welcome to contact Tartu Health Care Service:

tht@raad.tartu.ee

+372 7361 321 or +372 7361 322

Or Estonian Health Board:

grete.must@terviseamet.ee

+372 794 3571


Booklet: Health care in Estonia

Booklet: Practical information for foreigners on Estonia’s healthcare services