How to open a bank account in Estonia as an American

Gabriela Peratello

Estonia may not be the best known European country, but it’s got a vibrant start-up sector, and good universities, leading to relatively large and established expat communities considering its rather diminutive size. If you’ve decided to move to Estonia from the US to live, work or study, have you thought about where you’ll bank?

This guide will walk you through how and where to open a bank account in Estonia.


Can Americans open a bank account in Estonia from abroad?

Estonian banks don’t usually let you open an account from abroad unless you already have legal residency in Estonia, and can show an Estonian identity card as part of your account registration.

Estonian ID cards have Smart ID technology which allows holders to identify themselves securely - which means that a bank can complete know your customer protocols even when you’re not physically present. If you don’t have this ID, or you’re not a resident of Estonia just yet, you’ll need an alternative option.

Can an US citizen open a bank account as a non-resident of Estonia?

Yes. Non-resident accounts are available from some banks in Estonia. However, there are a couple of catches.

Firstly, you’ll need to visit a branch to open your account. Remote opening services are usually only available if you have an Estonian ID card, which isn’t offered to non-residents. And secondly, you may need to prove some ties to Estonia - like starting a business in Estonia, having a job there, or settling to study.

Non-resident bank accounts often come with fees, including a charge of around €200 to open your account in the first place, €20 or so in monthly fees for the account and additional fees to hold and use a bank card.

Can an e-resident open an Estonian bank account online?

If you’ve heard of Estonian e-residency you may be wondering if this would entitle you to open a bank account online. While e-residency offers lots of great benefits, many banks don’t view the e-resident ID card as sufficient to open a bank account remotely.

Double check with the bank you prefer - as all set their own account opening processes - but you may well find that you still need to visit a branch with some extra paperwork, even as an e-resident of Estonia.

How do you open a bank account in Estonia as an American?

If you have a valid ID card issued by Estonia, you can usually open a bank account online or through the bank’s app. Some banks will also accept a residency card issued in Estonia, but this isn’t always enough, so you may need to open your account in the branch.

If you’re able to open your account online you can expect to be asked to video call a member of the bank’s service team, with all your paperwork to hand, to complete your application. Once you’re all done and verified, your documents and bank card will be mailed out to you.

If you don’t have the right Estonian ID to open a bank account remotely, you’ll need to go to the bank in person to talk to a banker and make an application. After you make your initial application including all required documents, the decision to grant or not grant you an account will be made within a few days.

What documents are needed to open an Estonian bank account?

Ideally you’ll have an Estonian issued ID card which has Smart ID or Mobile ID, so you can set up your account remotely.

If you do not, you’ll need a trip to the bank in person. When you go in to open your Estonian bank account, you’ll usually need to bring a few things:

  • Proof of identity: can be your passport and residence permit if you have one

  • Proof of address: a rental contract or utility bill in your name may be required for some accounts

  • Proof of your ties to the country: this could be a title or deed to property, articles of incorporation or organization, or proof of employment for example

Popular Estonian banks

While there are a selection of local and regional banks to choose from in Estonia. However, there are no major international banks currently offering Estonian accounts.

If you’re thinking of opening an account in Estonia as a US citizen residing there, or as a non-resident with connections to the country, these are a few popular banks worth looking at.


One of the biggest banking chains in Scandinavia, Sweden’s Swedbank¹ offers 30+ bank locations throughout the country and hundreds of ATMs.

Swedbank offers private and business accounts, plus insurance, investments and pension planning and support services. If you’re a non-resident of Estonia, with connections to the country, you may be able to open an account, but you can’t do so online or in the Swedbank app.

SEB Bank®

SEB Bank² has 750,000 customers, and offers current or savings accounts, as well as business accounts. Private banking clients can choose from various banking plans, including some which come with low monthly fees, online banking and debit cards. Accounts for children and for younger customers up to the age of 25 are also available.

LHV Bank®

LHV³ is an Estonian founded bank with a large ATM network and key offices in Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu. If you need an in branch service you can walk into the Tallinn office - although there may be a wait - or make an appointment at the other offices if you’d prefer.

There’s a good range of account options for private customers including accounts for children, as well as business and investment banking options.


Luinor⁴ is one of the largest banks in the Baltics and offers a current account which can be opened remotely if you have the right Estonian issued ID.

You’ll have the option of opening an account which is free to open, but has transaction fees for all services such as getting and using a bank card, or a banking package which comes with a few transactions and extras for a monthly fee.


Estonian bank fees and charges

As is the case all over the world, banking in Estonia comes with a set of fees that you can expect to pay for various services and throughout the year. Some of the most common fee types include:

ATM fees

You might find there are no ATM fees if you use your own bank’s ATMs - but you’ll still need to check your account fee schedule to see if there’s a fair usage charge which kicks in once you’ve made a certain number of withdrawals per month.

If you’re using a different bank’s ATM, whether in Estonia or abroad, you’ll normally pay a fee. This varies from bank to bank, but overseas withdrawals could cost around €2, plus 2.5% of the total transaction.

Keep in mind that when using ATMs abroad you should always choose to be charged in the local currency of the country you're in.

Other bank fees

It’s also a good idea to remember that, if you’re not a resident of Estonia, opening your account will cost money.

For Americans the typical costs are in the region of €200 to open an account, plus monthly account and card fees, and any transaction charges you incur. Each bank has a different fee structure, so you’ll want to check with them first.

International transfer fees

If you need to send payments from the US to Estonia - or vice versa - it’s good to know that your bank will usually charge you a fee and may also add extra charges in the form of a markup on the mid-market exchange rate.

If you’re planning to move money between your foreign and Estonian account regularly, specialist money transfer services like Wise could offer a convenient and transparent alternative to using your bank.

Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate when you convert, spend or send money in foreign currencies, and breaks down all the costs involved so you can see them easily.

Use this guide to picking your Estonian bank - and good luck with your new adventure.


  1. Swedbank
  2. SEB Bank
  3. LHV
  4. Luminor
  5. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

Sources checked on 10.03.2023

*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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