Estonia is one of the most technologically advanced countries in Europe and the first to introduce the concept of e-residency. This happened because most of the governmental services available for the general population and businesses are online, which means tax returns and various documents that need to be obtained can be done via the internet.
With such a good organization, e residency followed by Estonia e-citizenship came naturally. What does it entail, who can obtain it and how? These are the questions this article answers. Our company formation specialists in Estonia are at your services with detailed information and guidance in obtaining Estonian e-citizenship and opening a business in this country.
Special legislation available (YES/NO)
NO, there is no specific Estonian e-citizenship law
Nationalited accepted (EU/EEA, non-EU/EEA)
EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA citizens are accepted
Types of applicants accepted to e-citizenship in Estonia
Entrepreneurs, digital nomads, businesspersons
Direct residency or citizenship access (YES/NO)
NO, it is not possible to obtain residency or citizenship through an e-digital card
Requirement to live in Estonia (YES/NO)
NO, the applicant is not required to live in Estonia
Documents required to obtain e-citizenship
Passport copy, recent photograph, application form
Services that can be accessed as an Estonian e-citizen
Bank account opening, business registration, tax registration and access to governmental services are among the services that can be obtained with Estonian e-citizenship
Differences between ordinary citizenship and e-citizenship
E-citizenship allows holders to benefit from specific services and complete various activities in Estonia from a distance
Timeframe to obtain e-citizenship
E-citizenship in Estonia can be obtained in a few days
Possibility to move to Estonia through an e-citizen card (YES/NO)
No, the regular pathway must be followed in order to move to Estonia
Possibility to become a tax resident in Estonia (YES/NO)
YES, Estonian e-citizenship allows applicants to become tax residents
Advantages of e-citizenship
Possibility to have a business in Estonia while living abroad, access to various services without having to come to Estonia
Taxation of e-citizens in Estonia
Personal income tax of 20% applies to e-citizens
Support in applying for e-citizenship (YES/NO)
Assistance in obtaining a regular residence permit (YES/NO)
YES, we can also help in applying for ordinary residency and citizenship in Estonia
Estonian e-residency remains one of the most important advantages when choosing to open a company in this country, as it enables foreign citizens to conduct their operations remotely.
What is the Estonia e-residency program?
The e-residency or Estonia digital citizenship scheme is a program dedicated to foreign entrepreneurs from countries all over the world who can and want to conduct businesses in an online environment by obtaining a digital residence permit. It also addresses persons who work remotely. Its main advantage is that it can be addressed by both EU and non-EU citizens from the furthest countries in the world.
You should be aware that e-citizenship in Estonia implies obtaining a physical document that will grant access to a controlled digital platform which will enable you to complete various actions online.
When it comes to Estoniae-citizenship, it must not be mistaken to the traditional citizenship that can be obtained only after living here for the minimum period of time prescribed by the law, which is why an e-citizen can will have limited rights that enable him or her to access certain services in this country.
Considering Estonia digital citizenship implies completing various activities through a company registered in this country, it should be easy to understand that the only services an e-citizen has access to are those taxation, when it comes to comparing them to the rights of those who live in the country. Therefore, it is safe to say that e-citizenship or e-residency does not qualify its holder for an Estonian passport. Moreover, choosing to work with our Estonian accounting company will give you clients access to a variety of services. Our accountants can provide precise advice in financial general management or any specific accounting issue, whether you are just starting a business and need an overview of financial regulations, looking for development opportunities in your field and need to understand a specific financial aspect, or need qualified financial advice.
With the help of a e-resident card, a foreign citizen can start a business, manage the business and complete various actions with the Estonian authorities for the purpose of their economic activities.
If you want to apply for e-citizenship, our Estonian company formation officers can provide you with detailed information about your rights and obligations as an e-resident card holder.
How to apply for Estonia e-citizenship
The procedures of obtaining e-residency and e-citizenship are not complicated, as they can be completed online. All you need to do is to submit an application form which is verified by the Estonian police who will also run a background check before issuing the card. Following that, you will need to establish a day when to go and pick up the digital ID from the Estonian embassy or consulate in your country.
It should be noted that upon pickup, you need to go in person and show a valid identification paper (usually, the passport is required). There, you must also have your fingerprints verified.
You can ask our local agents for more information on the procedure of obtaining Estonia e-citizenship.
The e-resident card in Estonia
Obtaining an e-residency card in Estonia implies being issued a digital identification card with two PIN numbers which will enable you to digitally authenticate on various platforms and sign documents. Digital signatures are legal in Estonia, just like in most European countries.
Unlimited options as an Estonian e-citizen
Estonia e-residency is a practical way of starting a business or moving a company to Europe and gaining access to the European Union, thanks to the fact that the country is a Union member state.
As an e-residency holder, you will be able to:
- create and run an Estonian business from anywhere in the world;
- open an Estonian bank account;
- obtain an electronic signature;
- file tax returns in Estonia.
Basically, you can do anything that you would be able to if you would live in Estonia.
If you are interested in setting up a company in Estonia but are not sure yet if e-citizenship is the solution for you, do not hesitate to rely on our company incorporation consultants who can explain the benefits of this program.
E-citizenship and the digital nomad visa in Estonia
When launching the e-citizenship program, Estonia proved how technology can help investors who want to enjoy the flexibility of having a business while travelling or completing other activities in another country. In 2020, the government launched another program, the digital nomad visa, which enables foreign citizens who have the possibility to work remotely to do their jobs from Estonia.
Just like the Estonia digital citizenship scheme, this new visa comes with specific requirements, among which:
- the digital nomad must have an employment contract or another legal form with one or more companies that are not registered in Estonia;
- the applicant must also submit proof that he or she has the minimum income as established by the Estonian government;
- the maximum duration of the digital nomad visa is one year.
The main difference between being a digital nomad and an e-citizen in Estonia is that in the first case, the foreign citizen can come and work from Estonia, while in the second case, the foreign citizen can work remotely. A digital nomad must also apply for a temporary residence permit for Estonia if he or she comes from a non-EU country.
If you are interested in this option, you can obtain more information about it from our local specialists.
Regular residency and e-residency in Estonia
When seeking to apply for e-residency or e-citizenship and a regular permit that enables you to stay in Estonia, you should know that the two options do not exclude each other. If you are an EU citizen you don’t need a visa to come to Estonia and handle various aspects related to your company, if you do not want to deal with them remotely. However, if you are a citizen from a non-EU country, a temporary residence permit is required for you to come to the country and settle here.
Provided that you want to settle in Estonia and enjoy other benefits here, such as access to educational facilities, or healthcare, you will need a regular residence permit that can be transformed into a permanent one, followed by the possibility of becoming a citizen with full rights.
Our company registration representatives in Estonia can offer more information on these aspects.
Legal issues arising from e-citizenship
From a legal point of view, Estonia e-citizenship is a facility granted to people who want to enjoy the benefits that come with having a business in this country and without having to come to the country to manage it or handle administrative tasks that would need a physical presence here. However, there is also the possibility of appointing a local representative, such as our company incorporation agents who can act on your behalf.
On the other hand, becoming an Estonian citizen the traditional way will imply living here for 8 years, out of which 5 must have been spent based on a permanent residence permit. So, the main advantage of becoming an e-citizen is that there is no need to wait for this long to obtain limited rights, such as becoming a tax resident and obtaining various advantages as such.
If you are not sure about the option that suits you the best, you can get in touch with our local consultants who can present you the pros and cons of each type of residence permits, with the mention that e-residency is not an actual immigration path to Estonia.
You can also rely on us if you want to start a business in Estonia remotely by completing our online form.
Starting a business through Estonian e-residency
One of the main reasons to apply for e-residency is that you can open a company in Estonia from a distance. The procedure can be completed from your home country, without having to travel here.
In matters of documents, you need to draft, you will find forms that only need to be filled out and attach a copy of your ID or passport, just like when setting up a business the usual way. It is still possible to request assistance from company formation officers, especially if you have not dealt with the Estonian authorities before.
The procedure of registering the business is the same as if you were in the country when it comes to duration. Generally speaking, a company can be incorporated in a matter of days in Estonia.
As an EU member state, it is also safe to say that you can even launch an EU company. Furthermore, if you decide to be the manager of the company, this is possible under the Company Law. More specifically, a local company needs not have an Estonian citizen as a director, so e-residency will suffice.
It is worth noting that alongside Estonian e-residency, you can also obtain a tax identification number, as income obtained here will be taxed in accordance with the current regulations, where applicable.
If you are not sure about your status as an e-citizen in Estonia, you can obtain more information from our consultants.
Tax e-residency in Estonia
Just like ordinary residency which has various tax implications, so does e-residency. But what exactly does it mean to be an e-citizen and pay taxes in Estonia? The first and important aspect to consider is that being an e-resident does not automatically make you a tax resident of this country.
Obtaining e-residency but not living here will not imply that you have pay taxes here, however, if you open a company, the business will be treated as any other domestic entity. In terms of taxation, the program was design to ease the process and transparency of paying international taxes. With that said, you can also choose to become a tax resident in Estonia, even if you are an e-resident.
If you are interested in applying for Estonian e-residency and want to know more about taxation, we are at your disposal with complete information.
Opening a bank account as an e-citizen in Estonia
One of the most important inconveniencies of running a business in a foreign country was the procedure of opening a bank account. As a matter of fact, it was one of the most time-consuming procedures. The creation of an account the traditional way implied travelling to Estonia to sign various papers.
Estonia simplified the last step through the e-residency scheme which enables e-citizens to set up business bank accounts without having to travel here. You still have to check the banks that enable such services, however, their number is growing.
Estonian e-residency means much more than access for foreign citizens to certain services, as it also improved the lives of those who live here. If you are planning to relocate here and become a full resident of this country, here are other e-services you can benefit from:
- electronic healthcare services, such e-records and e-prescriptions;
- e-governance services, such as access to filing online petitions;
- smart city facilities;
- electronic education facilities.
We also have a video on this subject:
Why choose Estonia digital citizenship instead of a traditional residence permit
Estonia is one of the most advances countries in the world, with a percentage of 98 of the population to have digital IDs. Also, more than 91% of the Estonian citizens and residents use the internet to resolve their administrative issues.
However, in order to obtain full Estonian citizenship, you must live in the country at least 5 years based on a permanent residence permit.
Apart from these, here are a few interesting things about Estonia digital citizenship:
- in 2019, more than 53,719 people from 175 countries around the world applied for e-citizenship;
- 7,800 of them incorporated companies in Estonia;
- they were able to register their businesses remotely 100%.
If you are interested in e-citizenship in Estonia, contact our agents right away!
The experts at CompanyIncorporationEstonia.com offer high quality company formation services at very competitive prices. I would definitely recommend them. We have benefited a lot from the advice they gave us and the answers to our questions.