How to Start a Business in Estonia from the UK

Paola Faben Oliveira

Planning to start a business in Estonia? It’s a great choice, as the country enjoys a strategic location with access to European markets. Plus, it has pro-business legislation, advantageous corporate tax policies and an easy company registration process.

In this guide, we’ll run through the process of company formation in Estonia - so you’ll have all the info you need at your fingertips.

We’ll also show you a smart way to manage your company’s finances in Estonia, Europe and worldwide, using Wise Business - the ideal solution for international businesses.

💡 Learn more about Wise Business

Business in Estonia

Estonia is known for its investment-friendly tax system, as well as pro-business legislation and digitally-enabled business ecosystem. Another major benefit is its strategic location, granting easy access to major European and Scandinavian markets.

Plus, it’s pretty easy to register a company there, where all you’ll need is an e-Residency digital ID to get started. All of this means that the Estonia startups scene is thriving.

If you’re researching opportunities in Estonia, the following are well worth looking into according to Invest in Estonia:¹

  • Fintech
  • IT, including research and development, software and hardware
  • Food
  • Cleantech and greentech
  • Cyber security
  • Defence
  • e-Commerce
  • Metaverse
  • Business services.

In terms of the business culture in Estonia, you might find it a little more formal than in the UK. Many Estonians speak English proficiently, but it may help to learn some Estonian to get by.

Setting up a business in Estonia

According to Invest In Estonia, it takes as little as 15 minutes to establish a new company in Estonia - and you can do it from anywhere in the world.² All you’ll need to do is get an e-Residency digital ID card and then register online at the Company Registration Portal.

But first, you’ll need to choose one of the following business structures:

  • Private limited company (OÜ)
  • Public limited company (AS)
  • General partnership (TÜ)
  • Limited partnership (UÜ)
  • Commercial association (Ühistu).

Private limited company (OÜ)

One of the most popular types of business in Estonia, an osaühing or OÜ has its share capital divided into limited company shares. The minimum required share capital is just €0.01 EUR per shareholder.³ Shareholders are not personally liable for the obligations and debts of the company.

Public limited company (AS)

A public limited company has its shares registered with the Estonian Central Register of Securities. The minimum share capital is €25,000 EUR.⁴ The company must have a management board and supervisory board. Shareholders are not liable for the obligations or debts of the company.

General partnership (TÜ)

A general partnership is a company with two or more partners operating under a shared business name. The partners are liable for the obligations of the company.

Limited partnership (UÜ)

A limited partnership is set up by two or more people, operating under a common business name. At least one general partner will be liable for the obligations of the company with all of their assets, and at least one limited partner will be liable up to the extent of their contribution.

Commercial association (Ühistu)

A commercial association is a company set up to support and promote the interests of its members through joint economic activity. Members contribute either as consumers, suppliers, workers or service users. They are not liable for the obligations of the association.

Register a company in Estonia- Step-by-step

In Estonia, company registration is relatively quick and easy. Here are the initial steps you’ll need to take to get your new business in Estonia up and running:²

  1. Register for a digital e-Residency card - this allows you to establish and run your company remotely.
  2. Choose a name for your business - check that it is available using the tool on the e-Business Register website.
  3. Get an Estonian address - if you don’t have one, you can get one via a business service provider.
  4. Register your company online at the Company Registration Portal and pay the application fee. Pay your share capital (if applicable)
  5. Wait for your application to be processed and approved.
  6. Register as an employer and/or for VAT (if applicable).
  7. Apply for any licences, permits or permissions (if required - i.e. for business activities with special requirements).

Start a business in Estonia - FAQs

If you’re setting up a business abroad for the first time, you’re bound to have questions. We’ll run through the answers to some of these below.

What are the benefits of having a company in Estonia?

One of the major attractions of Estonia for foreign entrepreneurs is how easy it is to set up a business. You can do it remotely, and in a matter of minutes. Estonia also enjoys a strategic European location and has advantageous company tax policies, as well as being investor-friendly.

Is it easy to open a company in Estonia?

It’s very easy to open a business in Estonia, taking as little as 15 minutes. All you need is an e-Residency digital ID card and internet access, along with some details and documents for your new business.

If you need help, the Invest in Estonia website is a very good source of information.

How much does it cost to register a company in Estonia?

There’s a fee of €256 EUR to register your company online.² You may also have other costs to pay, such as €200-400 EUR a year for a legal address in Estonia⁵ and €100-130 EUR for your e-Residency card.⁶

Check below the current conversion rate between GBP and EUR.

Wise Business account is a handy tool for UK business expanding abroad. Once you set up your business in Estonia you can easily convert British Pounds to Euros to hold money on the country's currency, receive Euros with your account details or set payments like a local. All conversion is done based on the mid-market exchange rate with low and transparent fees.

Get started with Wise Business 🚀

How long does it take to establish a company in Estonia?

If you already have your e-Residency card and a legal address in Estonia, you can register your new business online in as little as 15 minutes.

However, you can expect it to take longer if you’re using the services of a notary, or if you still need to get your e-Residency card and legal address.

Can a foreigner start a business in Estonia?

Yes, and starting a business in Estonia as a foreigner is pretty straightforward. You don’t need to be living there either - you can get a legal address through a business service provider.

What is the corporate tax rate in Estonia?

Estonian company tax is set at 20%, but this is only levied on profit that is distributed. So if you reinvest profit into your business, you may be exempt from tax.⁷

Manage your international company's finances with Wise Business

It can certainly be useful to have an Estonian bank account for your business. But it’s definitely not the only option, so it’s worth considering alternatives which could save you time and money.

Open a Wise Business account and you can manage your company’s finances in 40+ currencies, including EUR and GBP. You’ll be able to pay suppliers and staff in their own currency, as well as receiving payments in multiple currencies.

You can even automate payments using the powerful Wise API to save even more time.See how it works here in our case study.


Wise payments are fast and fully secure (even for large amounts). Best of all, you’ll only pay low, transparent fees and always get the mid-market exchange rate.

This is the rate that banks use to buy and sell currency, and is widely considered the fairest rate you can get. When banks carry out currency conversions on behalf of customers, they usually add a mark-up or margin to the exchange rate. This makes it more expensive for your business, as less of your money reaches your recipient.

It’s quick and easy to open a Wise Business account, with a fully digital application, verification and on-boarding process. Check out the requirements here.

Get started with Wise Business 🚀

After reading this, you should have all the information you need to start your new company in Estonia. You should find it pretty quick and easy to do, whether you’re living abroad or are still in the UK. The best of luck with your new venture!

Sources used for this article:

  1. Invest in Estonia - Business opportunities
  2. Invest in Estonia - Establishing a company
  3. Invest in Estonia - Legal forms - Private limited company
  4. Invest in Estonia - Legal forms - Public limited company
  5. Republic of Estonia eResidency - Start a company
  6. Republic of Estonia eResidency - Become an e-Resident
  7. PwC - Worldwide tax summaries - Estonia

Sources checked on 28-Feb-2024

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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