Business

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). The advantages of a Private Limited Company are simple and quick registration, a relatively low share capital requirement (€2,500) and shareholders have no personal proprietary liability for the private limited company’s obligations.

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 https://e-resident.gov.ee/faqs/taxation/ We recommend e-residents to consult a qualified tax professional in order to determine their tax obligations.

2. Contact a Business Service Provider

Unless your business is physically located in Estonia, you will need to obtain a legal business address and if the management board is outside Estonia, a contact person, 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 along with the contact person service. 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/#Virtual_office_&_Contact_Person_services

Service providers’ fees for providing Virtual office (legal address) and contact person service 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

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

If you wish, your can register your company online 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 designated contact person does need to sign the contact person application section before registration of the company can be completed.

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:

  1. 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/
  2. Apply for a business account provided by a Fintech company. One of such companies with who e-Residnecy is already partnered with is Holvi, a Finnish Fintech company working with Estonian service providers to offer their services tailored to e-residents. A Fintech account is an alternative to a traditional bank account that offers a business account with an access to online payment service providers. Information about Holvi for e-Residents is available here: https://about.holvi.com/e-residents/
  3. 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.

Congratulations!

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

Share capital

Private Limited Company has a minimum share capital requirement that does not necessarily have to be transferred before beginning operations with your company. The share capital of such a company will be formed by the liabilities of the founders amounting to the sum they promised to provide as share capital contribution.

Once the share capital has been transferred to your company’s bank account and registered in Estonian Business Register, you may also use it for business activities. Dividends can be taken out of the company once the share capital has been paid in. Most e-residents prefer to register the company first and pay in the share capital later.

Please find a comprehensive article on how to pay in the share capital here: https://medium.com/e-residency-blog/what-is-minimum-share-capital-and-how-do-estonian-companies-register-it-5eef6a19a2bb

FAQ-s

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

 

VAT number

If the taxable annual turnover of your company exceeds € 40 000, 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.

Business
E-Residency Blog Among the news of the programme and use cases you can find many practical articles on business topics
Webinars Webinars by the e-Residency team
State Portal Good resource for a starting enterpreneur consisting all basic information for doing business in Estonia
Invest in Estonia Information on Estonia, business environment, trade etc
Destination: Estonia Investment Guide Guide covering everything from preliminary research to managing your business
Startup Estonia Information for Startups including document samples
Estonian FIU Estonian FIU issues authorisations for operating in the areas of activity that require special licencing according to Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Preventiona Act
Company Registration Portal Registering your company online
e-Business Register Easy company management
e-Financials State provided accounting software
Taxation
Estonian Tax and Customs board Information on taxation and customs
Taxation article Estonian Tax and Customs Board article directed to e-residents
Legislation
Riigi Teataja Here you can look up consolidated texts of English translations of Estonian legislation
Commercial code Commercial code regulating business in Estonia
Chamber of Notaries List and contacts of the notaries

Can’t find your answer?

We’re here to help. Get in touch and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. e-resident@gov.ee