Estonian e-Residency

What is Estonian e-Residency?

e-Residency is an optional digital identification card issued by the Republic of Estonia to non-Estonian citizens who do not permanently reside in Estonia, but would still like to take advantage of Estonia’s and European Union (EU) public e-services. Approximately 60 000+ e-resident entrepreneurs from 165 countries have joined the community and started over 10 000 companies.

Estonia is the first nation to issue a digital identity and with its membership to the EU, the e-residents have access to not only the Estonian but also to the EU business environment including 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 the EU. E-residents themselves are not inherently tax liable. The application can be submitted online (state fee of 100 EUR) and the card has to be picked up from one of approved pick-up locations by the applicant.

e-Residency introduction

What are the key benefits of e-Residency?

When you sign up for e-Residency, you receive a government-issued smart ID card that provides digital identification and authorisation, which enables an entrepreneur even on the other side of the world to establish and run a company without ever setting foot in Estonia or the EU. For example, an Indian entrepreneur could establish a company that he runs based out of Brazil to serve a client base in Sweden, which is all made possible by e-Residency. Some key benefits of holding the e-Residency card are as follows:

Set up and manage a company online remotely

Run and administer the company from anywhere globally

Sign and verify documents digitally (e.g. contracts, annual reports)

Encrypt and transmit signed documents securely

Conduct banking transactions online

e-Residency kit

How does Estonian e-Residency work?

E-residents receive a 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

e-Residency and e-Banking

Estonia has partnered with several fintech banking solution providers to provide borderless digital banking options. E-residents can apply for a business bank account and payment card for example at Transferwise or Paysera in order to access e-banking, use international payment services, declare taxes and digitally sign documents. Such business current accounts have all the payment features of a traditional bank account for storing money and making transfers.

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.

How do I get e-Residency?

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

  • Name and personal information
  • A scanned passport photo
  • A scanned copy of a government-issued ID
  • Description of interest and motivations for applying
  • Payment of the state fee of 100 EUR via credit card (additional fee added for pick-up from embassies)

In order to fill and submit your application for e-Residency please refer to the government website at https://apply.gov.ee. If you should have any questions do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

How to apply for e-Residency