Estonian e-Residency

What is Estonian e-Residency?

E-Residency is digital identification issued by the Republic of Estonia to non-Estonian citizens who do not permanently reside in Estonia, but still would like to take advantage of Estonia’s e-services. E-residents carry a digital identity smart ID-card which gives them access to this borderless digital society. Estonia is the first nation to issue a transnational digital identity and with its membership to the EU, e-residents have access to not only the Estonian but also the EU business environment and public e-services.

Having this status does not mean that an e-resident is granted any form of citizenship, tax residency, residency right or right of entry to Estonia or EU. E-residents themselves are not inherently tax liable. Any taxes declared by the e-resident would be pertaining to a company incorporated in Estonia.

How to run a global business with e-Residency

What are Estonian e-Residency key benefits?

An entrepreneur on the other side of the world can establish and run an Estonian company without ever setting foot in Estonia or the EU. For example, an Indian entrepreneur could establish an Estonian company that he runs based out of Brazil to serve a client base in Sweden, which is all made possible by e-residency.

  • Set up an Estonian company online remotely (our legal team will prepare all documentation)
  • Run and administer the company from anywhere globally
  • Sign documents digitally (e.g. contracts, annual reports) and verify their authenticity
  • Encrypt and transmit signed documents securely
  • Conduct Internet banking (special solutions are available for e-residents)

How to apply for e-Residency

e-Residency and e-Banking

Estonia has partnered with the Finnish financial technology company Holvi to create borderless digital banking. E-residents can apply for a business bank account (IBAN) and payment card (Mastercard), to access e-banking, use international payment services, declare taxes and digitally sign documents. Holvi’s business current account has all the payment features of a traditional bank account for storing money and making transfers. At this point Holvi does not support accounts for US citizens and/or e-residents under the U.S. FATCA report requirement; also residents in High-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions FATF are not supported.

Alternatively, a business account can be opened at a traditional bank in Estonia. The two most popular banks for e-residents are LHV Pank and Swedbank, which both provide full line of financial services. Our compliance team is always available to assist in bank account openings.

In our Knowledge Center we have also covered an alternative to Holvi’s e-banking: Online bank account with IBAN and payment card for company business account

Estonian e-Residency Banking

How does Estonian e-Residency work?

E-residents receive the plastic smart ID card inlaid with a chip and pin codes to authenticate themselves. They connect by using a USB digital card reader with a computer, which has free ID software installed. With the ID card, pin codes, and card reader, e-residents then have access to services provided by Estonian state agencies and also the private sector. Through this system digital signatures can be given in place of where paper signatures were previously performed and this method is as valid as any written signature. The digitisation of the Estonian state and society means that e-residents can sign agreements and interact digitally with all state institutions and most companies, which then eliminates the need for physical presence.

e-Residency

How do I get e-Residency?

E-Residency can to be issued to a foreigner who has links with Estonia or a reasonable interest in using public e-services in Estonia. Applicants must be age 18 or older without a criminal record. The average processing time for e-Residency is 4 weeks but it may also vary based on demand and pickup location (pickup location from one of Estonian embassies and consulates). The application requires:

  • Your name and personal information
  • A scanned passport photo
  • A scanned copy of a government-issued ID
  • One paragraph describing your interest and motivations behind applying for e-Residency
  • Payment of the state fee of 100 EUR via Visa or Mastercard

If you should have further questions and wish to apply for e-Residency get in touch with us and we will guide you through the process.