How To Get Estonian Citizenship By Investment [Practical Guide]

Estonia has built up quite a reputation as a pro-business country over the last few years, and that’s why many people are wondering how to get Estonian Citizenship by Investment.

It’s certainly not cheap but we’ll explore the citizenship by investment program and let you know how much it’ll cost you to become an Estonian citizen by investing in this Eastern European country.

And keep in mind that there are other ways to get Estonian citizenship, which we’ll go over at the end of this article!

What is the country like?

Estonia is a small country in Northern Europe with a population of just 1.3 million people, but it has a robust economic future due in part to its strategic location as well as lucrative incentives for outside investors, who can apply for an EU passport.

Estonia is consistently ranked as one of the top places in Europe and even globally when it comes to starting new businesses, its low tax rates, and high-quality education system.

In fact, if you start up a business there (as opposed to buying existing real estate), you’ll only be taxed at 7% instead of 25%. Estonia has also been recognized for its political stability and lack of corruption throughout much of its history.

Is Estonian a Good Place for Investments?

Estonia is a very good place for investments, and it will help you in the long term. If you want to settle there, you need to get a residence permit, which will allow you to live there legally.

You can learn how things work in Estonia by checking out the Estonian embassy site.

If you are still unsure about investing, contact some people who have invested here before and ask about their experience.

Check out Estonian government sites and find out what they offer and how they can benefit your business.

How to get Estonian Citizenship by Investment in 4 Easy Steps

Becoming an Estonian citizen through the country’s excellent citizenship by investment program can be one of the best decisions you ever make.

How To Get Estonian Citizenship By Investment [Practical Guide], JokosHQ
Credits: Pixabay

Estonia offers some of the world’s most favorable citizenship-by-investment programs, and it takes about 6 months to complete (or slightly longer if you decide to live in Estonia for at least 3 months as part of your application).

Here are the four steps you need to take to become an Estonian citizen by investment in just 9 months or less.

Step 1. Choose your desired citizenship

There are many different ways that you can acquire citizenship from Estonia, but these are some of your best options.

If you’re interested in getting a second passport, I’d recommend either a real estate investment or a business investment.

The best way is to choose both! For instance, you could buy an apartment for personal use and run a business from that same building.

Your apartment would allow you to live there tax-free with very little hassle.

In addition, if your plan is to invest €280,000 (approximately $300k) into starting up a company in Estonia and running it successfully for five years while employing at least three locals within two years of creation; then your application will be considered more easily.

Step 2. Make an application

It’s possible to submit an application without a personal presence in Estonia, but before you do so, it’s essential to have your documents officially translated and legalized.

The documents required for citizenship-by-investment are:

  1. Passport;
  2. Four copies of a biometric photo;
  3. Medical insurance confirmation;
  4. Proof of address in Estonia; and
  5. Certificate on non-criminal record issued by police authorities.

You must also submit a certificate of good conduct issued by police authorities that confirm that you have no criminal record.

Once these documents are collected, send them along with a cover letter or email stating your intention to apply for the citizenship and investment program.

Step 3. Confirm your information

It will be your responsibility to confirm all information received, including but not limited to confirmation of identity, marital status, and source of funds.

All documentation must be submitted within 30 days of acceptance into Estonia through Invest Estonia.

Failure to submit documents or failure to submit complete documentation is considered a breach of contract and may result in losing your citizenship application or being deported from Estonia should you have already obtained residency.

If a married couple submits an application under (2) above, both parties must confirm their financial eligibility.

If any party refuses or is unable to provide written confirmation of their financial situation (instructions will be provided once you are accepted into Estonia), then that party may lose his/her legal right as a co-applicant and will not qualify for EU citizenship by investment.

Step 4. Pay your investment

The exact amount of your investment will depend on your personal situation, but typically you’ll need around €30,000.

After you pay it, you’ll receive a residency card for long-term residents within 1 month and can enter Estonia with that once it arrives.

At that point, you should apply for naturalization and—assuming everything is approved—Estonia will grant you citizenship.

Within 3 years of becoming a citizen, however, you must live in Estonia for at least 183 days per year (an average of 7 months per year) or else they may take away your citizenship.

Ways To Improve Your Chances of Getting Estonian Citizenship

Before you can start living in Estonia, it’s important to understand the country’s citizenship laws.

While Estonian passports aren’t quite as popular as, say, American or British ones, they do still give you access to Europe’s Schengen Area, which allows visa-free travel to numerous countries (and Estonia itself) throughout the region.

As an added bonus, the process of getting Estonian citizenship isn’t all that difficult – just ask any of the 20 million people who have already done it! Here are five different ways you can get citizenship in Estonia today.

1) Invest in a Business

If you have a few hundred thousand dollars kicking around, investing in an Estonian business will be well worth your while. In fact, doing so may make more sense than setting up your own business from scratch.

According to The Tax Foundation’s research, Estonia has a flat income tax rate of 21 percent and a universal social security system that provides benefits for all residents. This is especially good news for those with limited startup capital.

For one thing, you won’t need as much money as you would if you were creating something from scratch. Additionally, because there’s already infrastructure in place—including governmental support—you’ll be able to get started right away.

2) Purchase Real Estate

If you’re looking for an excellent way to get Estonian citizenship, purchasing real estate might be a good option.

This can also help you diversify your portfolio while giving you something tangible that will add value over time.

If you purchase a piece of property, then it’s reasonable to assume that your citizenship could be granted after five years of legal residence (and a few thousand Euros).

Land and buildings within urban areas are not considered agricultural land; neither are holiday homes located outside urban areas (but within 30 kilometers from an urban area or airport).

There is also no need for special permission for foreign buyers if they buy property on private ground. The only limitation is that no more than 10 percent of all properties in any one municipality may be owned by foreign individuals.

3) Establish a Business Presence

Estonia does not grant citizenship based on business activity. Therefore, if you are an entrepreneur with a start-up or established business, you must have a physical presence in Estonia.

If your startup is small enough to be run virtually, establish a virtual office. Companies such as Teleport can help you do so at very reasonable prices (around $300 per year).

Other possible ways of establishing your business presence include renting or buying office space or investing in Estonian stocks.

There are special investment opportunities through a program called e-Residency that allow non-Estonians to purchase up to €100,000 worth of Estonian companies.

4) Maintain a Residence

Maintaining a Residence is one of several conditions that must be met in order to obtain Estonian citizenship.

It is generally easier for people who have previously lived or worked in Estonia and wish to return. Non-Estonians can live permanently and work legally by obtaining a residence permit, but most must reside outside of Estonia at least once every five years to retain it.

Once you are eligible for Estonian citizenship, visit an Estonian embassy or consulate for an interview on your background, culture, and language abilities; you will also need to prove sufficient financial resources if you’re not a pensioner.

After that, it’s just a matter of waiting around while your application makes its way through various government departments and agencies.

5) Actively Seek Employment and Start Working

Working for a company that has been approved for hiring foreigners can help you meet some key requirements for Estonian citizenship, such as proving that you have resided and worked in Estonia continuously over a period of at least five years.

In addition, by actively seeking employment through specified Estonian Employment Office channels, you can meet one of several conditions for permanent residence; no job? No problem! You can also seek dual citizenship (as well as obtain an Estonian ID card) if you marry a local or start investing.

Since these other ways of gaining Estonian citizenship are typically easier than applying directly through your employer, they’re worth pursuing if your main goal is getting an Estonian passport.

Tax Incentives and Benefits of Investing in Estonia

Estonia provides an array of tax incentives and benefits for those who invest in their country.

These benefits are perhaps too numerous to list here in full. Still, they include flat tax rates, corporate income tax deductions and exemptions, a generous depreciation schedule, a progressive research and development credit policy, limited liability protection, etc.

Estonia’s13% flat-rate income tax rate is among Europe’s lowest.

How To Get Estonian Citizenship By Investment [Practical Guide], JokosHQ

Obtaining Estonian Residency

If you want Estonian residency, you’ll need a residence permit. Obtaining Estonian residence is pretty easy, but be aware that some countries aren’t part of the EU; residents from these countries have different visa requirements (and cannot receive an Estonian work permit).

To qualify for Estonian residency as a non-EU citizen, you will need an E101 or Residence Permit Application from either your home country or another Schengen area member state.

You’ll also need a letter of intent from either your employer or potential employer in Estonia.

Suggested: How to Invest in GTE Technology, from the Experts

Naturalization Procedure

Becoming a citizen of Estonia is possible for foreigners interested in living in Estonia permanently.

Such applicants must first be approved for long-term residency, then apply for citizenship and finally get an Estonian passport within 6 months after receiving Estonian citizenship.

Foreigners should also possess a good command of one of the two official languages of Estonia, either Estonian or Russian and an intention to live permanently in Estonia.

When applying for the naturalization procedure, an applicant’s age should be older than 18 years and under 65 years old.

FAQs on how to get Estonian citizenship by investment

What is the cost of living in Estonia?

According to Eurostat, the cost of living in Estonia is 10% lower than the EU average.
That said, prices are higher than in Latvia and Lithuania but slightly more expensive than in neighbouring Finland. By comparison, living in London will cost you 45% more. A comparable lifestyle in New York is 33% more expensive.
As for your Estonian citizenship investment, as we’ll see later on in the guide, that varies considerably depending on how much you plan to invest and what kind of investments you want to make.

How hard is it to get Estonian citizenship?

Obtaining Estonian citizenship is relatively easy, though it is certainly not fast.
The process takes time, and several criteria must be met to become a citizen of Estonia. However, most applicants will eventually succeed with perseverance.
You can get Estonian citizenship through ancestry or investment (both options require living in Estonia for at least five years).

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