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Coming to Estonia: Is it Possible Working Abroad Not Emigrating From Ukraine

Date of publication: 15 March 2017

Vitali Galitskihh, Head of Tallinn Office
Source: RBK-Ukraine

Despite the broad considerations on visa-free regime in Ukraine during the past years, the emigration issue has recently moved to the forefront of public discussion. Certainly, the cancellation of visa regime with the EU shall significantly impact the integration process whereby the Ukrainian citizens shall be free to travel all over the Europe, adopt its culture and become a part of the European civilization, but from the practical view this shall not provide any right for living and working in Europe. In order to work in the EU one should obtain a labor permit.

Only the few know that it is not necessary to emigrate in order to conduct business in Europe, for example in Estonia. The thing is that Estonia has long ago presented itself as one of the most advanced countries. Digital technologies and “e-state” system, employed in Estonia, provide the opportunities for making business on-line not leaving the house or any other place in the world. The companies are registered on-line, all transactions are made via online-banking, and all applications to public authorities are filed through the Internet to include tax declaration.

Since 2014, Estonia has introduced such concept as e-residency. This program enables the obtainment of electronic residence card, which provides the online access to all abovementioned services. This is an ideal option letting to conduct the financial and business activities in Estonia physically residing in Ukraine.

How to file an application and become the Estonian e-resident? It is required to fill in the corresponding form at https://apply.gov.ee/ and to provide the following documents to the Embassy of Estonia in Kiev at the address 43-B Pushkinskaya St., Kiev:

• Identity document;
• 1 color photo sized 40х50 mm;
• Written description of the interest and motivations behind applying for e-residency;
• Biometrical data (fingerprints);
• Payment of the state fee in the amount of EUR 100.

As of 2017 the Police and Border Guard Board received more than 900 applications for e-residency from the Ukrainian citizens. It is more likely that not everyone shall be satisfied with virtual presence in Europe, and the majority of Ukrainians consider moving physically to the EU. Definitely, in such a case it is worth considering e-residency as the first step to the Estonian residence permit obtainment.

E-residency allows to incorporate the company in Estonia or to register as an individual entrepreneur. This consequently forms the basis for the obtainment of a temporary residence permit for working.

In such a way the Ukrainian citizen may file an application for residence permit for business if he/she owns shares in a company or acts as a sole proprietor given the following:

• The person invested not less than EUR 65,000 into the company in Estonia;
• The company has been registered and operated not less than for 4 month prior to the application for residence permit;
• The entrepreneur legally stays in the country without the visa or based on the business visa;
• Submit the business plan (in Estonian or in English);
• Invest at least EUR 16,000 being a sole entrepreneur.

The decision on the residence permit granting shall be made within 2 months from the acceptance of the application.

Estonia created all required conditions for business emigration: from the cutting-edge technologies to the opportunities for physical stay in the country and residence permit obtainment. It is probably worth thinking over the fact that in XXI century it is possible to become a part of the European civilization just by linking into the European electronic network.