Estonia is a Baltic state in the European Union. It comes with an advantageous passport and a lenient tax system, making it a comfortable business environment for investors. Estonia was the first country to offer e-residency to businesses. An easy status that provides access to Estonia’s transparent digital business environment. The Estonia E-residency simply provides the ability to register a company in Estonia but does not come with a resident permit.
For foreign investors looking to relocate onto its shores, Estonia offers a diverse investor visa program. The government provides 3 categories for investors to choose from.
- Startup Visa Program
- Immigrant Entrepreneur Program
- Major Investor Program
Estonia Startup Visa Program
This the most affordable of the three categories.
For a foreigner to establish a startup in Estonia (and use it as grounds for residence), the company must be reviewed by an expert committee.
However, there are exemptions to the evaluation process, which include:
- The company has already undergone an evaluation by the committee(throughout the past 5 years). Regardless, the Police and Guard Board may require another evaluation throughout the application process.
- The company falls under the conditions of the Aliens Act, and as pointed out by the Interior Ministry’s directive. A list of the Act’s conditions can be explored on the government website (link).
Estonia Immigrant Entrepreneur Program
This program follows lenient procedures on how funds are calculated.
For the most part, holdings in companies and sole proprietorships investments should be 65,000 EUR minimum. Self-employed individuals require less at 16,000 EUR.
The enterprise’s equity capital, registered fixed assets, and subordinated liabilities can count towards the investment quota.
Residency permits are normally 1 year long. Upon renewal, investment requirements are further loosened, where sales income can account for the investment quota (minimum 200,000 EUR per year).
Social security tax paid to Estonia can also count. However, the value of the tax should be five times the average annual Estonian wage.
Estonia Major Investment Program
Investors can apply to this program by making direct investments that exceed 1 million EUR.
Investments should be made to companies entered in Estonia’s commercial register. Also, the selected company should mainly invest into Estonia’s economy.
Deposits can also be made to investment funds. However, those funds should follow legal policies where the fund’s instruments are in companies acceptedinto Estonia’s commercial register.
Investment funds cannot be withdrawn throughout the period of the residency permit.
Major investments are seen as permanent, as long they do not decrease throughout the residency permit’s duration. The only exception to this is value decrease resulting from market price fluctuations of said investment, which doesn’t give investors the right to withdraw their funds.