The permits necessary for starting a business in Estonia

Starting a business in Estonia is simple. All the applications can be filed online, and it takes about 15 minutes to establish a company. However, several fields of activity have special requirements and to operate in those fields, one must also apply for a licence or submit economic activity reports. Here is a survey of the fields of activity that require licences, and how to apply for the necessary licences.

To determine whether establishing a company requires a separate licence, check the Centre for Registers and Information Systems website (some of the information is only available in Estonian). It pays to check whether you will need a licence, if your company is operating in any of the following fields of activity:

  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Financial services
  • Education
  • Gambling
  • Information and communications
  • Environment
  • Media
  • Heritage Protection
  • Agriculture
  • Social welfare
  • Healthcare
  • Transport
  • Tourism
  • Security services
  • Labour market
  • Industry
  • Gun safety

Once you have ascertained if your field of activity requires any special permits, you need to take the following steps:

  • Establish a company either electronically or by visiting a notary – make sure that the correct EMTAK (Estonian Classification of Economic Activities) code has been assigned. The codes are available here. Only one main activity can be chosen. (If the company wishes to start operating in various fields, the one expected to produce the greatest turnover should be designated as the field of activity.)
  • Pay the state fee for submitting the licence application, whereas the amount of the state fee varies from licence to licence. The state fee amounts are listed in the State Fees Act and the payment instruction are available here.
  • Fill out the notice or application, and depending on the field of activity, submit it to the corresponding registrar, government agency or local government. Information on to whom a specific application should be submitted is available here.

Economic activity notices are registered within one workday. Licence applications are reviewed within 30 days and when licences are issued, they are automatically entered in the register.

If you wish to avoid having to delve into the various registers and laws, we will be happy to help you establish your business, as well as acquire any necessary licences.


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