Estonian Company Registration Portal can now be used to found companies by holders of Finnish ID cards. Holders of Portuguese, Lithuanian and Belgian ID cards have been able to use this service for some time.
Ingmar Vali, head of the Court Registry Department at the Centre of Registers and Information Systems, says that the Estonian portal is becoming more and more international in nature. “People in Estonia have been founding companies without getting up from their desks for two years now, and now our northern neighbours will be able to enjoy the same convenience when they invest in the country.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Vali says that the portal not only enables companies to be founded, but also annual reports to be submitted and company registry details to be amended online. “In so doing it cuts down the amount of legwork you have to do considerably,” he explained. “It’s already become very popular among Estonian users – 20 percent of all of the companies in the country submitted their annual reports this year online.”
In addition to searching for new international partners, the Centre of Registers and Information Systems is working to ensure that more national Internet portals begin accepting foreign digital signatures. “For example, the state portal www.eesti.ee could start accepting international ID cards and digital signatures, and why not even Internet banks?” Vali said. “The same option could be made available for materials submitted to courts which need to be signed digitally before they can be sent, too.”
Vali says that the centre’s goal is for foreigners to be able to carry out the same transactions in Estonia using their ID cards as Estonians themselves. “If business operators are from other countries, they shouldn’t have to physically come to Estonia every time they have dealings with the state. They should be able to do these things via the portals.”
The result of the joint efforts of Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Lithuania and Belgium, is probably the first time anywhere in the world that one country’s register has officially accepted the national ID cards of other countries and the digital signatures issued with them.
The Company Registration Portal’s cross-border digital signature project has earned Estonia a place in the final in two categories of the European Business Awards and also makes the country a candidate for the overall award. For more information see http://www.businessawardseurope.com/?page_id=911.
The website of the Finnish partner of the Centre of Registers and Information Systems is http://www.fineid.fi/.