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As Brexit looms: Would an e-account in Estonia help your expansion?

Estonia is different: there are universal ID-cards and mobile-ID; many contracts are signed digitally; and 95% of tax returns are submitted digitially. When Estonia was formed in 1991 the government set out to encourage businesses to set up in their country by setting up the most advanced digital society in world. Since April 2015 non-residents have been able to apply online to become an e-Estonian, all they need is:

  • name and identifying information, a scanned passport photo, a scanned copy of government-issued identity documentation, a minimum of one paragraph describing your interest and motivations behind applying for e-residency,
  • payment of the state fee in the amount of €100 via Visa or Mastercard.
  • pass the background check by Estonia government which is carried out when your documents are sent to Estonia. (Apparently you may also be asked if you have any previous links with the country.)
  • to wait about four weeks to receive an email to let you know whether your application was successful. If yes, pick up your identity card from one of 38 embassies. 

Borderless digital banking launched

On 26th May, the Estonia government announced their partnership with the Finnish fintech company Holvi to operate borderless digital banking for its borderless digital nation. E-Residency enables anyone to apply to join a new digital nation, powered by the Republic of Estonia, and then register a global EU company that can be managed online from anywhere in the world. This new partnership eliminates the need for e-residents to travel to Estonia in order to access business banking.

Holvi provides digital money management tools that are seamlessly connected to Holvi's business current account. By partnering with the e-Residency programme, Holvi will be able to serve more location-independent entrepreneurs around the world.

e-Residency Programme Director Kaspar Korjus believes that, “This partnership is the most significant milestone yet in the rise of location-independent entrepreneurship. It means a complete EU company combined with a fully digital EU IBAN business account can be established anywhere with an internet connection for the first time through e-Residency.”

And that a new era for location-independent entrepreneurs has begun with: 

  • “Business banking radically transforming for almost everyone on Earth and this can help unlock global growth by democratising access to entrepreneurship.
  • We’re delighted that Holvi has decided to invest in our borderless digital nation by offering borderless business banking specially tailored to our growing community of e-residents. This partnership with Holvi will further lower the barriers to entrepreneurship and help expand e-Residency to many more people around the world who have been unable until now to establish a trusted company with the tools needed to conduct business globally.”

New e-residency web-site 

In preparation for the expansion of the programme, e-Residency has also launched a new website at: www.e-resident.gov.ee to encourage more people to join the digital nation.

CTMfile take: By end of March 2017 over 1000 Brits had applied to become e-residents of Estonia. Now that a well established digital banking for SMEs service has been incorporated into the e-Estonia residency service, it will expand dramatically. The only question is how easily it will be to incorporate the services and infrastructure into the PSD2 future.

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