What Estonia’s E-Residency Does for Online Companies

What Estonia’s E-Residency Does for Online Companies

When you think of nations that are making strides in the world of flexible work, a few leading countries might come to mind. But what about Estonia? Once part of the former Soviet Union, Estonia has broken out from the proverbial pack and is now offering e-Residency to people looking to establish remote companies around the world.

What Is E-Residency?

According to the e-estonia.com website, e-Residency is “a transnational digital identity available to anyone in the world interested in administering a location-independent business online.”

Having e-Residency in Estonia also means that people would have access to digital services and be able to conduct e-banking and remote money transfers. E-Residents would be able to digitally sign documents and contracts, access online payment service providers, and, perhaps most importantly to remote companies, be able to administer the company from anywhere in the world.

What’s important to note is that e-Residency does not mean that the person applying has citizenship, residency, or even tax residency of Estonia, nor the European Union.

It simply allows you to have a digital identity that lets you conduct business via a smart ID card that offers digital identification and authentication to secure services, digital signing of documents, document encryption, and digital verification of document authenticity.

To date, over 12,000 applicants have applied for e-Residency. The top five countries from which applications came from include:

  • Finland
  • Russia
  • United States
  • Ukraine
  • Italy

The majority of applicants say their reason for wanting e-Residency is because they want to establish a location-independent international business. Others claim to want to bring business back to Estonia. And finally, there are those who are simply fans of the program.

What E-Residency Means for Online Companies

For remote company leaders looking to register a new company online, e-Residency is something to consider. Estonia boasts a 2009 Guinness World Record for the fastest time to register a new legal entity—clocking in at just 18 minutes flat.

There are also low startup and maintenance costs that could make starting an e-Residency in Estonia attractive to newbie remote companies. While applicants are encouraged to find out about tax laws in their own countries, the program offers zero percent company income tax until distributions are made. This means more money stays in the company’s till, thereby giving businesses the ability to set up a remote team faster and more successfully.

The concept of e-Residency is still new, but very exciting, particularly for burgeoning remote companies looking to get launched fairly quickly. With its minimal bureaucracy and an inclusion in the EU’s legal framework, starting an e-Residency in Estonia just might help put new remote companies on the figurative map.

Readers, what do you think of Estonia’s new e-Residency program? Would it be something that you’d consider? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


By Jennifer Parris | August 19, 2016 | Categories: Remote Management


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