Selective conscription: approximately one third of males serve the military service. There are no plans to suspend or abolish conscription in the near future.

Conscientious objection:


First recognised at a referendum in 1992 where the Constitution was approved. It is paragraph 124 that states the right to conscientious objection.





The duration of the compulsory military service is 8 or 11 months, depending on the education and position provided by the Defence Forces to the conscript.



The duration of alternative service is 12 months.





The minimum legal age for service is 18 in all cases (during peace-time and in war time).

Voluntary enlistment:


When a professional member of the military has developed a conscientious objection, he or she can leave the service with a 60 days note.


Around 3,500 people are drafted per annum and serve between eight and 11 months of national service, depending on which branch of the military they are drafted into – though the air force (Õhuvägi) does not make use of conscripts. Current law already allows for 12 months long military service, but this has so far been limited to a maximum of 11 months by government regulation. The Minister of Defence has proposed the government to extend the maximum duration of compulsory service from the current 11 months to 12 months in certain areas. [1]

According to media reports, the Ministry of Defence is going to increase the number of conscription call-ups to more than 4,000 by 2026. The number of call-up selectees is set by the Minister of Defence and is not subject to a decision by the Estonian government or the parliament. [2] Estonia's current defence budget totals 2.35 percent of its GDP. [3] The Ministry of Defense supports raising it to 3 percent, as well as all the political parties expected to clear the 5 percent threshold at the next parliamentary election. [4]


[1] Conscription terms to be extended to 12 months for some specialties. (07.02.2023). Eesti Rahvusringhääling. Available at:

[2] Estonia to raise number of conscription call-ups to more than 4,000 by 2026. (23.09.2022). Eesti Rahvusringhääling. Available at:

[3] Estonian defence budget 2022. (07.07.2022). Estonia's Ministry of Defence. Available at:

[4] Vahur, L. (01.12.2022). Estonia's parties want to raise defense spending to 3-6 percent of GDP. Eesti Rahvusringhääling. Available at:

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