5 Easy Steps to Establish Your Business
We suggest that you apply for e-Residency and then look through this guide while you are waiting to pick up your digi-ID.
1. Do Your Research
While waiting on your application to be processed, research the business landscape and start brainstorming a business plan to get you started quickly once you receive your document.
You can find a webpage here that compares and contrasts the primary features of different business forms: https://www.eesti.ee/en/entrepreneur/establishing-a-company/comparison-of-each-form-of-business/
The most common type of business established by foreigners in Estonia is the Private Limited Company (OÜ or Osaühing in Estonian). Private Limited Companies has a minimum share capital requirement of €2,500, which does not necessarily have to be transferred before beginning operations with your company. Once the share capital has been transferred to your company’s bank account, you may also use it for business activities. Dividends can be taken out of the company once the share capital has been paid in.
We have plenty of resources available for you to learn more about Estonia, its infrastructure, tax policies, and business financing. One of these resources is the Destination Estonia Investment Guide, which is available online here: https://www.investinestonia.com/en/publications/publications#section-general
You can find more information about taxation on the State Portal: (https://www.eesti.ee/en/entrepreneur/establishing-a-company/comparison-of-each-form-of-business/) or on the Estonian Tax and Customs Board’s website http://www.emta.ee/eng
E-residency does not have any direct influence on the tax residency. Being an Estonian e-resident does not mean that you become the Estonian tax resident. A company created by an e-Resident will at first be considered to be the Estonian Tax resident. However, company tax still needs to be paid where value is generated so e-Residents must then set the company’s tax residency to the correct country. More information on taxation is on our Tax subpage (link to FAQ Taxation part). E-residents must consult a qualified tax professional in order to determine their tax obligations.
You can choose a name for your company and determine if it is available here: https://ariregister.rik.ee/nimeparing.py?sess=7262069493470247317580381615953565909716884575440315121297138318&lang=eng
2. Contact a Business Service Provider
Unless your business is physically located in Estonia, you will need to obtain a legal business address before you can register your company. We highly recommend using a business service provider, which will help you obtain a legal address for your business. Service providers also offer many other services and can assist you with company registration. A list of business service providers can be found on our website here: https://e-resident.gov.ee/run-a-company/#Business_services
Service providers’ fees for providing Virtual office (legal address) start from €15 per month depending on the provider. Service providers offer a wide variety of services and you may choose to use and pay for any of them. The vast majority of e-Residents use a business service provider and typically pay between €60-200 per month, which is often cheaper than the services offered in e-Residents’ home countries.
3. Register Your Company Online
If you wish, your can register your company online entirely by yourself. Simply log in to the Company Registration Portal (http://www.rik.ee/en/company-registration-portal) and follow the instructions to establish your company online.
The state fee for company registration is €190.
The Startup Estonia has resources that may assist you with registering your business and understanding the legal documents: http://www.startupestonia.ee/resources
You may also choose to use a business service provider, which will register your company for you hassle-free. A list of business service providers and their contacts is available here: https://e-resident.gov.ee/run-a-company/
4. Apply for a license or register an activity at the Register of Economic Activities
Depending on the type of business, different licenses are required, and sometimes merely notifying of an economic activity is enough. More information about this can be found here: https://www.eesti.ee/eng/services/business/load_ja_registreeringud
5. Apply For a Business Banking Account For Your Company
You currently have three options:
- Apply for a traditional Estonian bank account. This will require a physical visit to Estonia, and we strongly recommend using a business service provider to help you through the process. Banks have established their own criteria for evaluating clients they would like to work with. E-Residents have had best experiences with LHV and Swedbank thus far. A list of the banks and their contact information is available here https://e-resident.gov.ee/run-a-company/
- Apply for a business account provided by a Fintech company like Holvi, who we have recently partnered with. Holvi is an alternative to a bank account that offers a business account with a credit card and access to online payment service providers. Information about Holvi for e-Residents is available here: https://about.holvi.com/e-residents/
- Apply for a foreign business bank account for your Estonian company. You can also set up a foreign business account for your company; it does not necessarily have to be an Estonian bank account.
You are now ready to start operating.
Do All Participants in The Company Need to be e-Residents?
Your company can be electronically registered in the Business Register only if all persons related to the company (Board Members, founders, Council Members, etc.) have an Estonian, Latvian, Belgian, or Finnish ID card, Estonian or Lithuanian mobile ID, or Estonian e-Residency card.
Registering the Company Without e-Residency digi-ID
Your company can also be registered using the services of a notary. In that case, you will not be able to do so online. Process for this is described here: https://www.eesti.ee/en/entrepreneur/establishing-a-company/establishing-a-private-limited-company-oue/#chapter-1 Contact information for the notaries is available here: https://www.notar.ee/?set_lang_id=2
If the taxable annual turnover of your company exceeds €16,000, you are required to register the company with the Tax and Customs Board as a VAT payer. If your turnover is below that limit, registration is not obligatory. If you wish, however, you can still register. You can register as a VAT payer here: https://www.emta.ee/eng
Registering a Branch of a Foreign Company
Registering a branch of a foreign company initially requires a notary, but can then be managed entirely online after registration. As the owner of a new EU branch, you will have access to revolutionary e-services like identity verification, digital signing, and online tax declaration.
Access to Payment Service Providers
You are able to apply for accounts with different payment service providers like PayPal, Paymill, Braintree, EveryPay, and more after you have registered your company and gained access to online banking using either a traditional Estonian bank or a Fintech company.