Estonia is a small country located in Northern Europe near the Baltic coast. With one of the highest per capita income levels in the surrounding regions and mining and technology industries that are constantly expanding, Estonia has recently been attracting foreign investors. These investors may qualify for Estonian permanent residence which carries several valuable benefits.
There is a two-step process for obtaining Estonian residence through entrepreneurship. First, Estonia must grant the applicant a temporary residence permit. To request the temporary permit, the investor sends an application to the Estonian government, informing the government that the investor qualifies for the permit on the basis of establishing and managing an enterprise that will benefit the country’ economy. However, the enterprise must be a branch, affiliate, subsidiary, or otherwise related to an existing foreign company.
This application must contain the enterprise’s business plan and its formation and operating documents. Moreover, if the applicant has a holding in a company, the applicant must have at least 65,000 euros invested in business in Estonia. Similarly, if the applicant will be the sole proprietor of the enterprise, at least 16,000 euros is required to be invested into business in Estonia.
Once the application is approved, the investor receives the temporary residence permit and can relocate to Estonia to live and work for the enterprise (a spouse and minor children are eligible to accompany the investor).
The initial validity period of the temporary residence permits is five years, and the permits may be extended if the enterprise has generated a sales revenue of at least 200,000 euros each year or if the Estonian monthly social tax that is paid to employees equals five times the Estonian yearly average wage.
Importantly, during the time that the investor and family are temporary residents, the investor must inform the Estonian government of any significant changes in the operation, composition, or activities of the enterprise.
Once the investor has been a temporary Estonian resident for five years, the investor may apply for permanent residence. To qualify, the investor must have been a resident for at least five years, possess a valid temporary residence permit, have verifiable income to ensure adequate subsistence in the country, possess health insurance, have proficiency in the Estonian language, and have the investor’s residence address registered in the Estonian Population Register.
Estonian permanent residency offers many benefits, such as the unrestricted right to work and live in the country, and more notably, the right to cross other European borders without the need for a visa. As an Estonian permanent resident, the investor can easily travel to Lithuania, Finland, Latvia, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, France, and others.