Ukrainian citizens who have been granted temporary protection by Estonia can apply online for it to be extended up to three months before their residence permit is set to expire, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) said Thursday.
Temporary protection is a one-year residence permit that grants Ukrainian residents and their family members similar rights to those of other Estonian residents, Marina Põldma, superintendent of the PPA's Identity and Status Bureau, said according to a press release.
"As Ukraine remains in a state of war, recipients of temporary protection can extend their residence permits," Põldma explained.
Applications for the extension of temporary protection can be submitted to the PPA online at asylum.politsei.ee at least one month but no more than three months before their current residence permit is set to expire.
"The extension of a residence permit for temporary protection is free of charge for Ukrainian citizens," Põldma noted. "When applying, you should indicate the PPA service office where you would like to pick up your new residence permit card. Should you wish to change the pickup location after your application has been submitted, you will have to pay a fee."
When applying for an extension, applicants will be asked for their Estonian personal identification code and information from their residence permit card as well as their registered place of residence in Estonia. Those applying for an extension for their children as well must first submit their own application, followed by an application for each child individually.
In some instances, PPA officials processing an application may require additional info or an in-person visit to a PPA service office, in which case applicants will be contacted individually.
War crime victims, witnesses guaranteed rights
When applying for temporary protection or the extension thereof, refugees from Ukraine will be asked whether they have been a victim or witness of war crimes.
"We ask this because Estonia is investigating war crimes committed in Ukraine," the PPA explains on its application site. "These are international crimes that can also be investigated in Estonia, regardless of the fact that they were committed against Ukrainian citizens in Ukraine or Russia."
The PPA is looking for people who have information about crimes against humanity and war crimes, who have witnessed such crimes, who have been injured or who have otherwise suffered en route to Estonia.
"Estonia guarantees you the rights of a witness and/or a victim, and the information you provide will not be shared with the public," the agency notes.
As of Sunday, December 4, a total of 40,814 people have applied for temporary protection in Estonia, more than 17,000 of whom will be eligible to apply for an extension online in the month-long period beginning December 10.
Click here for more information — available in Ukrainian, English, Russian and Estonian — and to submit your application online for the extension of temporary protection.
Click here for more general information from the PPA, likewise available in four languages, for war refugees from Ukraine in Estonia.
Editor: Aili Vahtla