E-residents are able to use their digi-IDs to perform an array of business services for their companies online from anywhere in the world. However, up until now there were still some activities, which required e-residents to travel to Estonia and utilise the services of a notary registered there. These included:
- Buying and selling company shares
- Authenticating powers of attorney
- Pledging company shares
But now, in a trial initiative by the Estonian Government, these business activities can be performed without the need to travel to the country.
The policy aim behind this initiative is to minimise the barrier for e-residents and foreign businesspeople to invest in the Estonian startup ecosystem by making it more convenient to do business remotely.
An e-resident will still require the services of a notary registered in Estonia but will no longer have to visit the country.
Instead, they can prove their identity at a number of Estonian Embassies using a remote verification service that employs the Veriff biometric facial recognition system. So far, the Embassies include Helsinki, Brussels, Stockholm, London, and Riga with other locations to be tested in the future.
‘But why can’t I do it on my computer in the comfort of my own home?’, we hear you asking!
Well the requirement to attend an Estonian Embassy is both for reasons of security and also to physically verify that you are undertaking a transaction of your own free will. Perhaps in the future, this requirement will be dispensed with in lieu of safe and secure methods of remote verification using your personal device.
Launch of new e-notary self service portal
The trial comes along with the launch of a new e-notary self service portal provided by the Estonian Government for use by both Estonians and e-residents: www.notar.ee.
The portal allows users to:
- Choose a notary and make an appointment, whether in Estonia or for remote verification
- Choose an Embassy and make an appointment for remote verification
- Initiate transactions that require a notarial act and enter transaction details
- Examine contracts issued by the notary before the transaction
- View all notarial transactions and invoices
Currently, e-residents can use the portal to make virtual appointments with notaries to undertake the following activities (with more activities to be added in the future):
- Buying or selling shares in their Estonian company
- Authenticating powers of attorney
- Pledging shares in their Estonian company
How do I use the e-notary remote verification service?
To take advantage of this new service, log into the e-notary self-service portal at www.notar.ee using your e-Residency digi-ID.
In the self-service portal, navigate to the remote verification page. Here you can choose the appropriate embassy location, select a notary from the list of registered Estonian notaries, and select your desired time for an appointment. The system will only offer times that are suitable for both the notary and the Embassy so it would be prudent to have some idea of this before logging in. We therefore recommend communicating with your chosen notary beforehand to settle on available times so that this process will be more efficient.You can also exchange all documents and data necessary to carry out the activity with the notary by viewing ongoing transactions in the portal.
Once the documents to be e-notarised are ready and the appointment time agreed, 24 hours before the appointment you will receive a message informing you that the “Digital transaction start time is approaching”.
Visit the chosen Embassy at least 15 minutes in advance of your appointment and identify yourself to the Embassy staff. Remember to take your digi-ID!
At the Embassy, log in to the on-site self-service computer with your digi-ID and confirm that you are ready for digital verification. This will notify the notary in Estonia to initiate the verification process using the Veriff biometric facial recognition system. Follow the instructions of Veriff and the notary in order to identify yourself using this technology.
Once you have been successfully identified, the notary will initiate a remote transaction by video link, which will be recorded. The notary will introduce the contract and share it for review with you and any other party to the transaction. If accepted, the notary will make it available for signing in the self-service portal.
Once all parties have digitally signed the contract, the notary closes the remote transaction by ending the video link and adds the notarial document to the portal. You will be able to access the transaction and any related invoice at any time afterwards by logging into the portal.
The e-notary remote verification initiative is great news for e-residents as it means you no longer have to visit Estonia to carry out singular transactions to buy or sell shares in your company, authenticate powers of attorney, or pledge company shares. We hope that it might make doing business as an e-resident easier and ensure you spend less time doing administrative tasks and more time growing your business.
If you have used or are planning to use the remote verification tool, please get in touch with us by commenting below. We would really appreciate any feedback and stories of how this new initiative is making running your business easier.