How to: Obtaining a Residence Permit for Business in Estonia

Estonia is in fact one of the most favourable countries for starting a business. Having a registered company in Estonia, among other things, is a ground for getting an Estonian residence permit. The procedure, however, demands responsibility involving some legal aspects and a lot of nuances.

LKS Consult OÜ would like to describe the process of applying for a residency, thereby, giving a thought-provoking opportunity to consider whether to apply for a residency as a foreign national having a company in Estonia.

Aliens can get a residence permit in Estonia on the following occasions:

  • Family reunion
  • Institutional study
  • Monastery service

residency EstoniaIn this blog article, we will be looking into a residence permit for business activity exploring based on an Estonian company.

In Estonia, a residence permit can be issued for a period of 1 to 5 years. According to the official data of the Police and Border Guard Board, over a period of five years from the beginning of 2015 to the end of 2019, only 313 investors have received an Estonian temporary residence permit for entrepreneurial activity. Family members of a business person who has a residence permit are also entitled to obtain a residence permit in Estonia. Nevertheless, to date, Estonia is the most favourable Baltic state to obtain a residence permit.

First and foremost, it is an absolute necessity for an applicant to have an Estonia-based company that must be entered the Estonian Commercial Register, as well as to have a registered residence address in Estonia. The company should also be operating for at least 4 months.

In that case, there are several conditions for applying for a residence permit under The Estonian Residence Permit Program for Businessmen.

Under general conditions:

  • If you are a natural person, or FIE who has invested at least 16,000 EUR in Estonian business
  • If you are shareholder/owner/member of the Management Board of an Estonia Company, or OÜ and have invested at least 65,000 EUR in the company development

Please be aware that investments are funds spent on the activities and development of an Estonian company. When applying for a residence permit, it is necessary to submit a business plan, which reflects all funds invested in the development of an Estonian company, supported by invoices and contracts.

According to business plan must include the following:

  • Name and registry code of the company or the sole proprietor
  • Business idea – planned activities, potential clients and suppliers, plans of development, fixed assets available for the company, circulating capital, labour force being used
  • Financial forecasts for the next two financial years – projected income statement, balance sheet, cash flow forecast
  • Curriculum Vitae of the persons who perform managerial and supervisory functions
  • Motivation, why the settling of the applicant in Estonia is important for the enterprise.

As a major investor, if you have directly invested at least 1,000,000 EUR in an Estonian company that has entered the Estonian commercial register that invests mostly into the Estonian economy. All investments must be permanent which means they should not decrease over the time period of residency duration. A major investor in the meantime is not obliged to reside in Estonia.

Another condition is for conducting business at a start-up. The start-up company has global growth potential and offers an innovative product or service. In order to obtain a residence permit based on that condition, a start-up company must be evaluated by the expert committee. You should submit an application for the evaluation unless your start-up is an exception. According to these are:

  • Start-up company is pointed out in the directive of the Minister of the Interior as a start-up company that meets the conditions of the Aliens Act. A list can be found here.
  • The expert committee has already given an assessment to the start-up over the last five years. However, if needed, the Police and Border Guard Board may demand in the course of the procedure that the start-up request a new evaluation from the expert committee.

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Obtaining a temporary residence permit is a responsible and time-consuming process. It can be granted for a period of up to 5 years but requires submission large number of documents and takes a couple of months to proceed. Still, obtaining a temporary residence permit for business is a completely legal and entitled to exist way.

LKS Consult OÜ is experienced in providing assistance in obtaining a residence permit by establishing a company in Estonia only. We would be happy to consult you both regarding a company registration and in the following obtaining of a residence permit by establishing business in Estonia.