Real Estate

Become an e-resident of Estonia, pay €190 fee to start a business

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on January 23, 2019 Published on January 10, 2019

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries   -  Reuters

E-residency is a government issued digital ID available to anyone in the world

Join an exclusive club of e-residents in the tiny European Union (EU) country of Estonia for a fee of €100. The growing Club of 50,000 includes Pope Francis, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

You won’t get any citizenship rights in Estonia. Be in your own country of residence, still start and run a business there.

Digital solutions

The 100-year-old tiny Northern European nation, which claims to be 100 per cent digital, is offering e-residency status to non-Estonians since four years. It has turned in about 6,000 companies so far.

“With the status, one can start and operate a business in our country, with access to the European Union market,” said Riho Kruuv, ambassador of the Republic of Estonia. “Of the 50,000 e-residents in 157 countries, about 2,200 are from India. They have set up 275 companies so far. Of these, about 200 were set up in 2018 alone,” he said. The Estonian Ambassador said Gates, Ambani and Ravi Shankar Prasad were offered the e-residency status as a ‘gift’. Incidentally, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance group has floated a company in Estonia to develop digital solutions.

‘Citizenship not on sale’

Estonia made international headlines for taking initiatives that virtually turned the nation into a digital country, providing a variety of citizen services using digital identities of its citizens.

With a population of 1.3 million, Estonia, however, asserts that the e-residency status doesn’t entail people citizenship. “Our citizenship is not on sale,” he said.

According to him, seeking e-residency status is very easy. For an e-residency status hey will do a basic background check on the applicants to screen them for criminal records after submitting applications online and pay a fee of 100 euros.

After becoming e-residents, those willing to start a company need to pay a one-time fee of 190 euros, the same fee that even Estonians pay for setting up a business.

A credit card-sized smart card with a chip will be issued to e-residents. Using the cards, one can start and operate a firm in Estonia. Each firm, however, should have a local representative.

“For this, entrepreneurs can use the services of about 10 firms,” he said.

He said the country don’t tax firms as long as they plough back the revenues into the company.

“We don’t tax them every year. We tax only when they take money out, like in the form of dividends,” he said.

Published on January 10, 2019
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