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FAQ, hacks and tips for Estonian e-residents

The Estonian e-residency team is doing misinformation then censorship of information/fix in its Facebook group. This team seems to care more about its partners (banks, accounting companies…) than the e-residents. These people just want your money, even if e-residency is not a good solution for you. Here you’ll find independant information, hacks and tips, by people who were or hrave been e-residents.

What is Estonian e-residency?
The e-residency name is deceptive: e-residency has nothing to do with residency, nothing to do with the right to stay in (or even visit) the country. E-residency is basicaly a smartcard that allows to log into websites, to digitaly sign and to encrypt documents. You could do the same with independant softwares. By the way, a second step of e-residency is to use a SmartID software (we do not advice this because lack of security on smartphones). With e-residency, you can access most of online public services in Estonia, to remotely administrate a company for example. With an e-residency card, you can also access to online private services as banks, but e-residency won't help to convince the Estonian banks to open you a bank account.
That said, if you run a succesful company as an Estonian e-resident, you may apply later to a right to stay in the country.

Where to pay tax?
In most of cases, due to OECD rules (and international tax agreements), your Estonian company will be tax resident of Estonia but also tax resident of your country. Your Estonian company will pay tax (profit tax, possibly VAT…) in the country (and at its tax rate) where the work and management are performed (the legal wording is “permanent establishment”, even if we’re not talking about a factory or something like this). Your Estonian company will have also do almost the same paperwork as a local company in your home country. E-residency is not a way to avoid tax.

Who is e-residency for?
Estonian e-residence is only suitable for a limited number of cases. For example, to bypass too much legal minimum capital required in some countries (in Estonia, the minimum capital is € 2,500 and the company can operate in other countries anyway). For digital nomads who spend their time in countries where no permanent establishment has to be declared (depending on local laws, length of stay, etc.); the list is relatively short. For a passive shareholder (having absolutely no activity in the company) who has no desire to evade the tax authorities in his country, but prefers to avoid travel to Estonia. For an active shareholder who lives in a tax haven. To allow a resident outside Europe to hide (a little) his real location and/or to simplify the procedures in Europe. Finally, for a person who is preparing to live in Estonia, as the process can be speeded up on arrival.

CONFIDENTIAL REPORT - E-resident company: How to open a bank account in Estonia (and how to keep it)

How Estonian e-residency first can help later during residency?
Estonian e-residency is not a way to get residency, but if you can get residency according to the Estonian law and you have e-residency before arriving in Estonia, e-residency may simplify things. For example, you can apply for the Estonian ID card the day after you register in the city (instead of waiting for two weeks) as you already have a national number. In Tallinn, you can also apply faster to get free transportation (in the city office or online) as it's free for Tallinn residents. Things may also go faster for a personal bank account, as you can login with e-residency card with less money limits than other way.

How much does Estonian e-residency cost?
E-residency smartcard costs 100 euros. A small fee is added if you want to get the card in a local embassy (it's free in police stations in Estonia).
To register a company you have to pay 265 euros (from January 1st 2022, 190 euros earlier), plus optionnal fee if you get help from someone (but it's very simple, you can manage yourself). If you don't have, you may need to pay also for a local adress (it can be a virtual office) and for a local representative. Do not forget some accounting fees if you're not familiar with Estonian way to do, even if it's more simple than in most of other countries in the world.
Be carefull: closing a company takes at least few months and may cost few hundred euros.

How to choose a good Estonian accountant?
According to international tax agreements, most of e-residents have to declare/pay tax in home country if work/management is done from this country. Most of Estonian accountants won't do this part of the job as they don't know your local law (except if they have offices in your home country too). But a good accountant should worry you (or another accountant in your home country) do this job and request proofs so (s)he can deduce what you pay in home country from what you have to pay in Estonia. If an accountant reminds you nothing about it and is not surprised your company pay nothing in your home country, it's not a good thing, it doesn't mean you have nothing to pay in your home country ; it's on contrary a bad thing for you, sooner or later you (but not your Estonian accountant) will have to pay for this mistake. Do not choose an accountant because (s)he's doing a lot of marketing, choose one that can do the job you need at an honest price (pay for the service, not for the marketing).
A list of accounting firms and virtual office companies in Estonia

How to choose a partner (client or provider) in Estonia?
Estonia is a good place for business, as a lot of information are public. We advice you to check background of companies you want to work with:

Emta.ee (paid or unpaid tax?)

Europa.eu (VAT number)

Kohus.ee (justice)

Eesti.ee (licenses)

Komisjon.ee (consumer commission blacklist)

Is it possible to have several activities with only one Estonian company?
An Estonian company can have several activities. If you change or add a new activity, you'll tell to the administration when submitting your annual report. Caution: you need a licence for some activities.

Is it possible to open an Estonian company with several other people?
You can easily open online an Estonian company with other Estonian e-residents. If any of the other shareholders is not an Estonian e-resident, you have to use a notary, it's a more complicated and expensive way to do.

What is the process to get a "crypto" licence being an Estonian e-resident?
The process to get a crypto licence in Estonia is more complicated and expensive it was, because of too much money laundering cases at the beginning. In fact, according to the new rules, the director of the company have to live in Estonia. Meaning the licence can not be given to an e-resident.

Becoming an Estonian tax resident may help digital nomads
The goal of a lot of digital nomads is to be tax resident nowhere and to pay no tax. This could work at the beginning of this century. But since the 2007/2008 crisis the world has changed a lot. Bankers have became kind of assistants of the tax offices: they'll request a tax ID number to open a bank account (to send later the amount of money you have to the tax office), and they'll check the tax ID number regularly - otherwise they may loose their bank licences. You could find a bank in some exotic country who doesn't care, but this bank may have some troubles to be connected to the other banks in the world to get or to send money.
A solution is to request the Estonian tax residency: there is just a form to fill up, then the Estonian tax office checks if the request complies to the law or not. If Estonia is the center of your economic interests (for example because you only own your Estonian company), you may get tax residency even without staying more than 183 days per year in the country.

An Estonian tax residency certificate is free
Some Estonian service provider requests hundreds of euros to get a tax residency certificate for your Estonian company. Why not. But you can request also this document yourself at the Estonian tax office for free... Also do not forget: your Estonian company is tax resident of Estonia but is probably tax resident in your home country too (the country where you work/manage from).

How to get an Estonian phone number (+372)?
Depending on the device you want to get an Estonian phone number, if you want to get call and/or SMS, several solutions exist:
- TopConnect (Airbaltic card, Travelsim, Xxsim, 1simcard…). You can get call on these simcards in a lot of countries without any fee (but the caller will pay more than to a normal number). The simcard can be sent to your home country. Depending on the brand, the prepaid credit is valid 1 year or more (Airbaltic card seems to be the best option, 1simcard the worse). They promise to send a reminder by SMS before the end of the credit, unfortunately they don’t and the number can be lost. They're starting to provide eSim.
- Zadarma
- Onoff (mobile application)
- Skype In
- Sonetel
- Twilio
- local prepaid Simcard bought in Estonia (Super…)
- eSim (Telia…)

How to buy an Estonian ready made company for 10 euros?
It's possible to buy an already registered Estonian company from around 10 € on https://www.oksjonikeskus.ee/ (you can login with an e-residency card). This is an official website where are sold bankrupt companies and so on. So it means you have to wait during the auction, you may have to pay debts (they don't always have debts, sometimes the trouble is another kind), you have to manage to change owner/manager, etc. So it will cost more in fact for sure than the paid price. In some cases it can be interesting: if you target some assets, if you need a company not so young, etc. Caution: it's not an easy process, you have to study carefully the file. We advice you to request help from your Estonian service provider if he's familiar with this. On the same website you can also buy real estate, any kind of objects, etc.

CONFIDENTIAL REPORT - E-resident company: How to open a bank account in Estonia (and how to keep it)

I've just got my e-residency card, it doesn't work online!
If the Digidoc software shows your name, your card is working. If your card is not working with eesti.ee, maybe you should install a plugin into your Web browser (caution: not all operating systems/web browsers are supported - Chromium is missing for example when we write these lines). If your card is working with eesti.ee but not some other websites, you should simply wait one day more.

Discounts with Estonian e-residency card
You may travel sometimes to Estonia. The Estonian ID card is used in several places as a client cards to get discounts, rewards, etc. As the e-residency card is technically the same as an ID card (without any photo), it can work also as a client card. In most of cases you need to subscribe first (a small fee may be requested). Here are places where the e-residency ID card can work: Reval Cafe, Prisma, Apollo, Rahva Raamat, Apotheka, Euroapteek, Lido, Olerex…

Where to work in Tallinn?
Some e-residents have to come to Tallinn to visit banks or (potential) business partners. But they still have to work during their trips. So for the one who prefer coworking places to cafes (Reval Cafe, Kohvipaus...), there are a lot of options in Tallinn some available even for one day only:
- Lift99 (Telliskivi)
- Workland (Maakri + Vabaduse Valjak + one in Porto Franco later)
- Spring Hub
- Palo Alto Club (Telliskivi)
- Kai Center
- Spaces (Hobujama)
- Regus (Metro Plazza + Tornimae)
- Baltic Cowork (Vabaduse Valjak)
- Parents Coworking
- Creative Garden
If you look something more special, you can also have a look to WorkiInPeace (MySpotIt previously) website. Unfortunately they've replaced their 100 €/10 times/month package that we could use freely in several places (Workland, Spring Hub, etc.) by "box" you can find in different cafés, shopping centers, etc.
Lift99, Spring Hub and Palto Club are simple, used by young people. Workland and Spaces are higher level, more quiet, and usually used by older people. Kai Center is really cheap (something as 50 € per month, but not in city center, it's in the "new" Noblessner area).
You can also do 3D printing and so on at MakerLab.

Where to leave stuffs in Tallinn?
Some estonian e-residents visit sometimes Tallinn and they want to leave stuffs there for their next trip. There are some self storage solutions:
other cities:

Residents of Estonia: an alternative to the Estonian e-residency card
A lot of e-residents become residents of Estonia with a real ID card. They want to remain e-resident (even if this status is not for them) because they can have this way a backup card for online service if the first one is lost. But they should request to the police a Digi ID card instead, it cost 25 euros instead of 100 euros. Only the design of the card is different, they don’t pay 75 euros more to support e-residency marketing.

The "secret" reason why there is an Estonian e-residency
Most of people think Estonia has launch e-residency to get more tax and more money for its local companies (service providers…). It’s true. But there is another reason given during a little conference by a former director of e-residency: the government hasn't cared so much about money, the most important has been to create a lot of links with other places/people in the world so they care about Estonia and their business there. That’s a way to protect this small country, that fears to be invaded as it was several times.

We wish you successful business!

Usefull links

E-residency official website

Invest in Estonia

Sworn translators

List of banks in Estonia

How to use e-residency card for ssh

Salary calculator


Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) (to get an identifier to invest in stock exchange... Several agents operating in Estonia, compare their prices!

Estonian patent office (to register trademarks, patents...)

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