In the past, prior to the arrival of Estonian e-Residency, non-residents who owned Estonian companies faced the task of obtaining certified copies of their registration certificates.
This involved physically visiting the Estonian Business Register or both the Business Register and a notary. Estonian notaries would authenticate the Business Register’s stamped certificate with their own stamp, and in some cases, even include an apostille if the notary’s certification wasn’t recognized in the intended country of use.
Typically, founders would opt not to travel to Estonia for this process and instead rely on virtual office service providers to collect the stamped documents, incurring significant fees amounting to hundreds of euros. However, this has now changed.
Transition to a paperless system
To begin with, the Estonian Business Register ceased issuing paper documents some time ago. This change is logical since it caters to Estonian entrepreneurs who rarely require paper documents to demonstrate their roles as board members or the existence of their companies. Business counterparts verify such information online, ensuring the validity of your representation rights and the company’s existence.
Subsequently, the rest of the world followed suit, and most reputable service providers, including fintech business account providers serving e-resident companies, no longer demand physical paperwork. This shift makes economic sense, as handling paper documents is costlier and more challenging to automate. In Europe, where business registration details are publicly available and the data belongs to the people rather than the government agency managing the register, it is straightforward to automatically verify the accuracy of the submitted registration details. Moreover, EU regulations have prohibited the Estonian Business Register from selling the data it holds, resulting in a loss of millions of euros in revenue.
Estonian company registration certificates in electronic format
Nowadays, electronic PDF registration certificates are readily accessible and free of charge through the Estonian e-Business Register. Here’s an example of what a machine-translated registration…