What’s the fastest way to start a company in Estonia?

Are you in a hurry with company formation?

You’ve got a multinational team of co-founders, some potential investors and clients lined up to fuel your newest endeavor and now you’re wondering where to have a base for your global business. You’ve heard that registering a company in Estonia is easy, super-fast and can be done online without even using a notary.

This is all made possible thanks to e-Residency.

What is this programme and how does it differ from forming a company when you are not an e-resident? When do you need to use a notary to start a company? And can you delegate company formation by using a Power of Attorney?

In this article we’ll explain how each of these processes works in Estonia to give you all the tools to start your company as quickly as possible.

Register a company in Estonia as an e-resident

E-residents can register companies in Estonia 100% online. It takes up to 3 working days, including getting confirmation from the e-Business Register that your new Estonian company is registered.

While it is possible to register a company in Estonia yourself, it’s generally recommended to use a service provider to incorporate on your behalf. Silva Hunt can help and we have a business license ( FIU000284) to do so. All that is required is information about the company you’re forming and your digital signature to confirm the application to register. After that, the Estonian Business Registry will process your application and you will get notified when there has been a registry number issued for your new company.

If my business has multiple shareholders should all co-founders join e-Residency?

If you want to form your company fully online all founders must have either: an e-Residency digital ID card or an Estonian national ID card, in order to give your digital signatures in the e-Business Register.

Also, without an e-Residency (or Estonian) digital ID card, only a notary can facilitate changes in the Business Registry. This means wasting extra time and money, which you could use for your business instead.

In addition, you wouldn’t be able to use the e-Notary system if one or more founders can’t log into the system and provide a digital signature.

Register a company in Estonia when you’re not an e-resident (or you haven’t yet collected your digital ID)

The good news is that even if you’re not yet an e-resident, there is another way to incorporate a company in Estonia. Plus, if you have applied for e-Residency but haven’t yet collected your card, this option might work better for you too.

The alternative process to incorporate a company is to use the services of a public notary office in Estonia. Either come to a notary office in Estonia yourself or appoint a service provider such as Silva Hunt to represent you by power of attorney (POA).

And if you initially form your company using a notary and/or the POA service and then later become an e-resident, you can simply add the Estonian personal code that will come with your e-Residency digital ID card to the e-Business Register to gain access to the e-services and your company’s data online.

These are the steps of Silva Hunt’s POA service to form a company:

  1. We send you the necessary documents for the POA process.
  2. Go to your local notary to get these documents apostilled.
  3. Send the documents to our office in Estonia via post.
  4. Scan a copy of your passport and send it to us by email.
  5. We organize sworn translation to Estonian (additional fee)
  6. We book a notary’s time (we cannot do it without having received your apostilled documents).
  7. We’ll represent you and go to the notary to incorporate your company.
  8. The notary sends your company information to the business registry for confirmation.
  9. Your company is confirmed to be registered in the Estonian Business Registry within 5 working days.

PS! Our Power of attorney expert says that in 99% of cases there is going to be a translation service needed.

Start your Estonian business now – contact Silva Hunt

What happens when a company wants to form a branch or subsidiary company? 

Other scenarios when you’d need to use a notary to register a company in Estonia:

  1. When the share capital contribution is not monetary but rather a monetarily appreciable thing, like intellectual property or technical equipment.
  2.  If a foreign company wants to form a branch or subsidiary in Estonia.

The POA service will be similar to what we’ve set out above for an individual but with a few variations:

  1. Documents needed from your side are: the founding company’s registry certificate and Articles of Association. Additionally we will also send you documents that will allow us to be your POA. All of these documents need to be confirmed by your local notary with an apostille.
  2. Send the apostilled documents to Estonia. The foreign company’s registry card and its Articles of Association should be available at least in English or translated by a sworn translator.
  3. When a legal entity forms a company in Estonia the share capital payment must be paid in right away. For this you need to open a business banking account at a traditional Estonian bank or other EEA bank. If it’s not possible to open a traditional account, we advise to either make a non-monetary contribution or form a company as an individual and sell the shares to the foreign company later.

Company formation using Silva Hunt’s POA service starts as soon as you have paid our invoice and signed a service agreement. The process can take 2-7 weeks.

Keep in mind that if you’re from a third party country, which is not a member of the Hague convention, your notarized documents will not be recognized in Europe. Therefore you’d have to fly to another country that is a member of the convention to notarize your documents there. Here you´ll find the list of countries who haven’t joined the Hague convention. A notable example is the United Arab Emirates (although luckily there is an e-Residency card pick up location in Abu Dhabi).

Other aspects that might prolong the POA service:

  1. Postal delivery times from your country to Estonia
  2. Available notary times in Estonia or your country
  3. Translation time, depending on the language and how many translators are in Estonia.

Which process is faster: starting a company as an e-resident or using the POA service?

Well – it’s clear that incorporating a company in Estonia is quickest if you already are an e-resident with a valid digital ID card.

But, if you are not an e-resident or haven’t been able to collect your card, there is another way and will take on average 3 weeks using the services of a public notary in Estonia and delegating POA to a service provider such as Silva Hunt!

One more thing – since you´ll need to start using the e-Residency digital ID card for managing your company remotely anyway, we highly recommend applying to become an e-resident as soon as possible (even if you decide to start your company with the POA service). Otherwise, you´ll have to get documents apostilled by the notary every time you make a business decision that requires notifying the business registry, which includes any changes you might want to make to your articles of association. Here is a useful blog post on how to apply.

Remember: as an e-resident, you can do all of this online, so it’s worth joining!

Get started with your Estonian business right now – contact Silva Hunt.

PS! Check out this list of things you MUST know before choosing the right service provider for you.