Starting A Location-Independent Company Registered via the E-Residency in Estonia

Source: Nomad Gate

I previously wrote about what the e-residency program is here and how I became one here.

After becoming an e-resident, the next step I took was to register the company.

Step 1: Hiring a service provider

There are a variety of service providers that can help you with anything from setting up the company, to legal advice, virtual office/business address, accounting and more.

In our case, I set up a call with one of the larger service providers, who visited Bali and promoted their services earlier in 2019. We discussed the terms, agreed on the scope of work and had the invoice paid and the work started within the next week.

We chose a package including company formation as well as contact person + a legal address in the center of Tallinn for a year. The total bill came to 768 Euro, including the VAT.

Timeline so far: one week, can probably be done within the same day if in a rush.

Step 2: Submitting the documents

The next step was filling in the Know Your Client Form and submitting it, which took 30 minutes.

A few days later, the assigned lawyer from our service provider asked for our passport copies, an official email address where all legal communication would go to.

We were then asked to pick an appropriate business activity field, according to the EMTAK list of activities, which we did on December 18th.

Timeline so far: 10 days, can probably be done much faster if in a rush

Step 3: Getting the company approved and officially registered

This is where we ran into delays, in our case, due to trademark issues. The company name we wanted was not available to we needed to look into some other options, and winter break (Christmas/New Year) was just around the corner.

Therefore this got pushed to the new year and it’s only on Jan 6th 2020 we signed and submitted digitally the petition for the formation of the company.

The Business Register has 5 working days to review the petition, but in our case, the petition was already adopted on Jan 7th, the next day, and the company was officially registered.

Timeline so far: 3-4 weeks, can probably be done in a week all together if there are no delays caused by trademark, holidays, busy schedules.

Step 4: Sorting a bank account and a payment gateway

Although this is not part of the company registration process, having a bank account is definitely essential in being able to run the company, so I’m including it here.

If you do not actually run a physical office or operations in Estonia, your only option for banking is generally a digital bank/fintech company (e.g. TransferWise, Revolut, etc), which are usually great due to low transfer fees, quick transactions, modern interface, etc. Nonetheless, the issue with that is that it can be quite a hassle to open an account.

In our case, we went through a frustrating process with Revolut, who took a while to ‘evaluate’ our application and then rejected us without providing any reason whatsoever, which seems to happen quite a bit based on reports coming from a variety of e-residents. For us, it was probably because the two founders/owners live in 2 separate countries, are citizens of 2 other countries and have a company incorporated in Estonia, but we will never know because they won’t disclose the reason.

We asked our service provider for a recommendation and tried Transferwise next, which went smoothly and was up and running a few days later. We then got a Stripe payment integration to be able to easily process card payments, which came through/became functional the same day. To be able to receive payouts to our Transferwise account via Stripe though, we had to fill in a few documents, which depending on situation can take a couple of days.

Total timeline:

1 month–can probably be done in under two weeks if there are no delays caused by trademark, holidays, busy schedules, digital banking issues.

Interested in the ins and outs of managing a location-independent company in its first year through Estonia’s e-residency program? Click here to learn more.

We hope this helps your entrepreneurial journey. Let us know if you have any questions.


Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the e-Residency program and will not be rewarded if one of our blog readers becomes an e-Resident. What I am: a huge fan of location independence, sustainability & progressive governments, tired of bureaucracy and definitely curious to see what the future of business looks like.


Managing Partner at Livit, #futureofwork enthusiast
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