6 ways e-Residency can reduce bureaucracy for your business

Save time and money running your business in Estonia and do more of what you love instead

Photo: Rasmus Jurkatam

Let’s talk about bureaucracy. What does this mean for you? Think about it:

How often do you find yourself wading through red tape? Or drowning in paperwork?

How much precious time do you waste filling out long, complicated forms or visiting government offices? Or dealing with endless compliance?

How much money have you spent on expensive notaries, lawyers, or compliance fees?

Have you ever felt constrained by over-regulation or crushed by corruption?

Whichever form of bureaucracy you have ever faced, you’ll know how it drains your resources, including time, money, patience, and sometimes even relationships.

But there is a solution, at least for starting and running your business. It lies in a country where bureaucracy is almost non-existent. For citizens of this country, nothing less than EASY, FAST, and FULLY DIGITAL is acceptable when it comes to day-to-day administration, dealing with public services, and doing business.

I’m talking about Estonia of course, which is renowned for low bureaucracy thanks to its advanced e-Governance services and digital business environment. And thanks to e-Residency, even non-Estonians can take advantage of the country’s low-bureaucracy business environment.

From easy business administration to innovative e-notary initiatives, here are six ways e-Residency can help entrepreneurs cut bureaucracy, save time and money, and be free to focus on creating value for clients and doing what you love.

1) Create your company 100% online

Establishing a company in Estonia is a simple and quick process for e-residents. Once you have your digital ID card, you can register it online from wherever you are in the world in a few steps. Log into the Estonia Commercial Register with your e-Residency digital ID card and navigate to the form to register a new enterprise. Provide all requested information, pay the state fee of €190, and digitally sign your application.

Find out more about this simple process in our Knowledge Base.

As a non-resident founder of a company, be aware that you do have a legal obligation to have a contact person and legal address in Estonia. You’ll need to hire a service provider to help you with this, many of whom can also help establish your company for you, if you so choose:

By using e-Residency to create your company, free yourself from bureaucracy and embrace the simple and cost-effective business setup process on offer.

2) Take care of business administration securely online

As a business owner, e-Residency allows you to conduct all administrative duties for your company securely online in English, Russian, or Estonian of course. And you can do this all remotely from wherever you happen to be in the world — as long as you have your laptop, a wifi connection, and your e-Residency digital ID.

Your digital ID means you can:

  • carry your business around with you safely in your pocket
  • securely access and authenticate yourself in Estonia’s online e-government and business environment from anywhere
  • digitally sign, encrypt, and send documents, and confirm business transactions remotely
  • submit your company’s annual report in the Commercial Register
  • declare and pay taxes in Estonia in the e-Tax portal

Forget paper forms or visiting government offices; forget printing, scanning, or posting documents; and forget the need for in-person signing.

Instead, discover how much simpler your day-to-day business administration can be with the help of your digital ID and how much more time you’ll have to do what you love.

Click on the image to learn more about your e-Residency digital ID :

3) Proof of ownership

While proving ownership of a company might appear a small and simple task, in reality it can be frustrating in some countries. If you have ever been asked by a third party or bank to do so, you’ll know that the time, money, and effort of complying is way out of proportion to what it should be. In some countries like Italy for example, you must visit a government office to pick up such documents in-person. In other countries, you need a lawyer or notary to physically apostille or stamp them before they can be accepted.

For e-residents though, proving ownership is a simple, online procedure. Log into the e-Business Register with your digital ID, choose your company information as required, and download it as a PDF document free of charge. If you need the document to be apostilled, you can use Estonia’s e-apostille service for a small fee without the need to visit a notary’s office.

Read more in our Knowledge Base.

4) New e-notary initiative

E-residents are able to use their digital IDs to perform an array of business services for their companies online from anywhere in the world. Up until last year there were still some activities, which required e-residents to travel to Estonia and utilise the services of a notary registered there, such as:

  • Buying and selling company shares
  • Authenticating powers of attorney
  • Pledging company shares
  • Establishing a subsidiary / daughter company or a branch of a foreign company

In 2020, Estonia launched a new e-notary initiative to minimise the barrier for e-residents and other foreign investors. It’s still required to use the services of a notary registered in Estonia but without the need to visit the country. Now, e-residents can authenticate themselves remotely using the Veriff biometric facial recognition system from either an Estonian embassy or even the comfort of their own homes anywhere in the world.

Be one of the first in the digital nation to use the e-notary service and experience all that Estonian e-Governance has to offer.

Read more here:

5) Transparency, trust + security

As mentioned in the introduction, in some countries business people have to contend with more extreme forms of bureaucracy, such as over-regulation or even corruption.

E-residents can have peace of mind running a business in Estonia’s transparent and secure digital business environment.

Estonia has one of the most open business environments in the world backed by policies and measures that ensure information about Estonian companies is verified and publicly available in order to conduct due diligence. Transparency improves corporate safety, breeds trust in stakeholder relationships, and helps create a better functioning business environment.

Read more in our blog post:

On the other hand, Estonia is also serious about security. Everyone in our digital nation — citizens, residents and e-residents — owns their own personal data. Governmental institutions are firmly accountable for all data processing and security of personal information. This commitment by the Government ensures its citizens, residents, and e-residents have trust in its digital infrastructure and institutions.

Read more from our colleagues at the e-Estonia Briefing Centre.

An open business environment, secure data policies, and a high level of trust in government institutions go some way to demonstrate how Estonia wards off more extreme forms of bureaucracy, like over-regulation and corruption.

But another thing backing up this claim that I’ve noticed since moving here as a foreigner is that, like any startup, Estonian public institutions truly take a customer-oriented approach to service delivery. From ensuring technological applications are built using a user-centred approach to continuously surveying citizens, residents, and e-residents, and actually implementing their constructive feedback into processes and platforms, the relationship between user and government service provider truly needs to be experienced to be believed and understood. It is something I have rarely encountered in the other countries I have lived in before.

All of these factors combine to streamline service delivery policies and processes and ultimately reduce the bureaucratic load of personal and business administration for citizens, residents, and e-residents. Other governments have a lot to learn from this very Estonian approach to governance-as-a-service.

6) Be truly location-independent

The recent rise in remote work and entrepreneurship has seen digital nomads, mobile freelancers, and location-independent entrepreneurs proliferate. People can choose where they want to live, work or run their business remotely, and travel without any disruption to their day to day lives. Because they travel so much, many look for ways to minimise their belongings and footprints so that they only carry with them the essentials for life and work.

If you’re one of these people or thinking about becoming one, e-Residency might just be the best solution for your business or freelancing setup. In addition to all of the reasons already mentioned above, e-Residency will eliminate the need to carry around anything other than your digital ID card (at least for your business!).

E-Residency really can help you break free of any remaining geographical or physical chains you might have as a founder, including any need to visit government offices, fulfil business duties in-person, or carry around papers, documents or stamps.

Find out how e-Residency can help you too become truly location-independent and digitally enabled:

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