A Guide to Starting a Company in Estonia from Scratch
Communication Team
Communication Team

November 25, 2022

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A Guide to Starting a Company in Estonia from Scratch

Since 2014, e-residency has been available to companies, giving them the opportunity to set up and operate a business in Estonia with a few clicks. Entrepreneurs from different parts of the world can use e-residency to run their operations in Estonia from their own country. While the Estonian government has made the entire process very straightforward, there are still a lot of questions that people might have before establishing their business in Estonia.

Considering all those aspects, we have put together a handy guide that can help you set up your business in Estonia from scratch.

Why Estonia?

Being a member state of the EU since 2004 and a Eurozone member since 2011, Estonia has been experiencing continuous growth. The Estonian economy is one of the most liberal and competitive in Europe, offering a unique business environment with low taxes and a strong infrastructure. Furthermore, Estonia has proven its ability to innovate by being the first country to introduce an e-Residency program for entrepreneurs.

Additionally, almost every service can be reached online. For example, 95% of all Estonian tax declarations are filed via the E-Tax system, making it accessible even to remote entrepreneurs.

The country has also been a well-established ground for startups to thrive. A total of 1300 startups were active in Estonia by 2022, with over 90,000 E-citizens joining and € 28 million invested.

How to start a company in Estonia

The process of setting up a company in Estonia from scratch can be quite straightforward given all these advantages – if you have decided that Estonia is the right place for your business venture. You can incorporate a company in just a few steps, given you have these documents in place:

  • A passport or residency card
  • proof of ID
  • Your company's registration document (if applicable)
  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Memorandum of Association and Articles
  • A business plan outlining your business' goals and objectives
  • Directors’ and shareholders’ registration details
  • Tax ID or business permit (if applicable)
  • A bank statement
  • Copies of your company's documents (if applicable)
  • The bank's application form
  • The business account opening fee (if applicable)

After you have got your documents together, here's how the process goes

  1. Apply for E-residency: In order to apply for e-residency, you must first fill out an application form on the Estonian Police & Border Guard Board website

  2. Submit your application: Once you have submitted your application, the Estonian Police & Border Guard Board will initiate a procedure to verify your identity and eligibility. In most cases, this process should take no more than two weeks. You will also have to take a biometric test after booking an appointment with them.

  3. Choose a service provider: Once you have successfully applied for e-residency and undergone the verification process, you will be required to choose a service provider. As per Estonian law, if you are a foreigner applying for a company in Estonia, there should be a designated contact person who acts as a messenger if the Estonian authorities try to contact you.

  4. Register the company in Estonia: After you have a service provider or a contact person, you can register your company structure online at the e-Business Registry. There is a fee associated with this process of approx €265.

  5. Apply for business banking: Once you have registered your company in Estonia, it's time to apply for a bank account. You will need to provide copies of the company documents, as well as an application form. The bank may charge you a fee for this service. The banks and financial institutions will require some documents to check your eligibility. These documents are generally the ones that are mentioned above and vary as per the institution you choose.

Related: Top 5 digital banking options in Estonia

A wamo business account: Final Step

If you are running a business in Estonia, getting a wamo business account can be a wise choice. This account lets you receive and make payments in multiple currencies, enables you to hold currencies in your account and makes international transactions at much more affordable fees and conversion rates.

You can apply for a business account in either traditional banks or in financial institutions. But it is important to note that traditional banks in Estonia can be more strict than other financial institutions regarding the application process, eligibility and requirements. It is therefore advisable to contact more than one bank before making an application to get a better idea of their individual requirements.

But in such cases, you have options like wamo, wamo works on a much more flexible model and is specifically designed for small and mid-sized business owners who want to open business accounts. Unlike regular banks, wamo is quicker, more technologically advanced and works with the pace of Estonia's digital advancements. So, it's easy to catch up with the latest innovations and keep up with your competition. It also offers business account holders effective conversion rates and multiple plans, so be sure to ask about these if you are interested in applying for a business account with them.

The best part about wamo's services is that it lets you get started within 10 minutes. Once you register your account, your application is processed within 24 hours meaning you don't really have to wait for weeks to get business going.

Related: Open an account for your business in 10 minutes

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