How Unicount virtual office service works
Unicount is the simplest way to register an Estonian company. You can register a company in a few minutes with a virtual office address in Estonia. Unicount can only offer that fast formation service thanks to our virtual office and contact person service that is integrated into the process.
Unicount virtual office service is designed to match the needs of e-resident founders setting up an Estonian company online, but the service is also used by citizens and residents of Estonia, who prefer a professional business address for their companies. In this article, we explain how virtual office service works.
What is a virtual office?
A virtual office gives your business a physical address in Estonia with some of the services your administrative staff would potentially do in an office. With a virtual office, you can work from anywhere in the world but still have an Estonian registered office address for your company with reliable mail processing. All your bank cards and legal documents mailed to your company address will be made available to you either online or through physical mail forwarding.
The requirement to appoint an authorized contact person for receiving official legal notices is something that the Estonian commercial code prescribes to e-resident founders since 2018. Unicount has the licence needed to act as your contact person responsible for receiving all official communication from Estonian government agencies.
Registering a virtual office address with Unicount
There are three options for subscribing to the Unicount virtual office service. First is by setting up a new limited company through Unicount self-service available in English, Estonian, French, Spanish, German, Turkish and Russian.
You must be a citizen, resident or e-resident of Estonia to subscribe to Unicount services online. That’s because you need an Estonian personal identification code (known as an ‘isikukood’), as well as your digital ID for accessing our Client Dashboard and submitting applications to the e-Business Register.
If you reside outside Estonia then Unicount’s virtual office subscription with contact person service is already ticked for you. Your registered office address will be Veskiposti 2-1002, in the brand new Avala Electra Building in Tallinn. The annual subscription costs €179 with contact person or €99 without a contact person for resident founders. 20% VAT will be added according to Estonian legislation.
The second option is when you already have an Estonian company, but want to switch to Unicount’s virtual office service. There’s a separate process to subscribe only to a virtual office through Unicount at Unicount.eu/en/virtual-office. It’s even simpler than registering a new company. After subscribing, you’ll need to update your company’s registered address and contact person in the Estonian Business Register. We put together a complete guide here in the Unicount FAQ: How do I change my registered office address and contact person?
The third option is when you decide to register your company in the state’s e-Business Register or notary for some reason. That’s fine by us too if you don’t need the additional support and want to save 25€ for the API fee that Unicount has to charge for its quick online formation service. In fact, you’ll need to use it anyway when you are keen to establish the company with multiple shareholders from the start. The reason is that the current Business Register API only supports single founder formations. However, you’ll still need a registered office address and contact person in Estonia, which you can get through Unicount’s virtual office signup. Just tick the box “My company has no registry code yet” so that our team would know to assist you with the company registration in the e-Business Register.
When you are setting up a new company but using the Estonian Business Register then we put together a guide here on how to do that while still using our virtual office subscription service: “How can I use Unicount address and contact person service when registering a company on my own?“
Using Unicount virtual office service
After your company is registered you gain access to Unicount Client Dashboard. When logging in we check that the personal identification number you have on your e-resident card, Smart-ID, ID-card or Mobile-ID is linked to at least one active virtual office subscription.
There can be multiple virtual office subscriptions connected to users who have multiple companies in Estonia, but there is no multi-user support available yet to have different users accessing the same company.
Activating your service
After your company gets registered you will soon receive an email prompting you to activate the virtual office service. This means that Unicount now needs to collect some more information about your business and shareholders to be able to serve you. Requirements to collect client data arise from the Estonian legislation that regulates licenced service providers like Unicount.
For submitting the client data log in to the Client Dashboard, open the Client Data menu and fill in the required Business details as shown on this example screenshot with Uniount data. When you are done click “Save changes” in the top right corner. Saving data automatically takes you to the next tabs where you can insert the beneficial owners of the company and upload their passport files. We have a full guide here on how to do that: How can I activate virtual office service?
Saving communication preferences
Unicount Client Dashboard just like the company formation self-service is available in English, Estonian, French, Spanish, German, Turkish and Russian. No matter which language you used to sign up you can always switch to the language that suits you the best. Selecting your preferred language means that the Client Dashboard user interface language changes after clicking the “Save Changes” button. All the following emails and messages that Unicount sends will be in that language if translations are available.
You can also find the communication preferences under the User Profile menu. There you can choose if you wish to receive Unicount newsletters and partner offers or opt-out if you have signed up for these previously. Service notifications and incoming mail notifications are ticked to be active by default and cannot be unticked. Compliance notifications also cannot be unticked because Unicount has fiduciary responsibility for notifying you of all the official notices received such as annual report deadlines, overdue tax reports or official gazette publications.
All mail items delivered to your registered office address are opened and scanned daily. Unicount then uploads scanned letters to your Client Dashboard Messages menu and you receive an email notification about a new mail item. To read your mail items log in to Client Dashboard here.
There are three categories of messages in your Messages inbox:
Mail is the category for physical mail items addressed to your company. This also includes bank card arrival notices.
Official is the category for any Estonian government agency message that Unicount has received either because you are part of the Unicount spam protection scheme by having Unicount eesti.ee email address firstname.lastname@example.org assigned as your company public email, or because the item was emailed to Unicount as your authorized contact person in Estonia. All company formations made through Unicount API service with the Unicount contact person service are coming with the spam protection scheme by default.
Unicount is the category for all the virtual office service related messages that Unicount sends to keep your subscription active.
Whenever the Unicount team can determine that a message received from authorities is a standard template used by the court or tax office, our custom pre-translated templates with extra explanations are applied for you to gain a clear understanding of the content documents received in Estonian. If no exact pre-translated template is found you can always translate the received communication by using a machine translation service such as Google Translate. There is also a Google Translate integration available in the message view. After choosing your preferred user language in the communication preferences tab you would only need it if none of the languages supported by Unicount self-service matches your needs. Please contact Unicount support if you cannot understand the content of any official message or want to be sure that the machine translation is correct.
Whenever your company has received a mailed item such as a bank card you might want to have it forwarded to your location outside of Estonia. You can just notify us of the item you would like to forward together with the forwarding address you would like to use.
Unicount uses Estonian Mail (Omniva) tracked and signed service for forwarding or DHL courier. You can contact Unicount support for a quote. A service charge of 25 euros plus VAT is added to postage. Mail forwarding fees are always charged on your card via Stripe before forwarding. Please see this manual to learn how to add or change your payment card via Client Dashboard.
According to Terms of Service, Unicount does not receive nor forward mailed or courier-delivered parcels to its Clients except when it has been agreed beforehand. There are though some courier-delivered mail items arriving to our clients each week such as Amazon signup confirmation letters and Wise debit cards. Depending on the person delivering the tracked and signed item it may be that they get confused when entering the Avala office building and not finding your company name. To make sure that they do not leave with your important envelope it may be good to notify Unicount support in advance so that we would give a phone number to the courier for calling the office from the reception. Also, always use Veskiposti 2-1002 address so that the receptionist would know that it is addressed to the Unicount client. Suite number 1002 is solely for Unicount virtual office clients’ use.
How can I renew my virtual office subscription?
This is incredibly easy when signing up with a bank card as a payment method. Unicount will simply automatically renew your virtual office subscription for the next 12 months by charging the annual service fee 7 days before the expiry day. All you need to do is make sure that your payment method or passport is not expired and Unicount will do the rest automatically. When in trouble because of a missing card for automatic Stripe payments you can download your invoice from the Subscription menu and wire the money to Unicount for manual renewal. Invoices are available 60 days before the expiry and you can always see your current subscription period from the Client Dashboard.
Whenever you would like to switch service providers you can cancel your service from the Subscription menu and then change your registered office address and contact person in the Business Register before the expiry date.
Thanks for reading!
This article was written by Adam Rang, Communications Director at Unicount. You can get started with Unicount at Unicount.eu.