How Unicount virtual office rental service works
Unicount is the simplest way to register an Estonian company. You can start a company in five minutes or less with a virtual office address in Estonia. Unicount can only offer that fast formation service thanks to our virtual office rental and contact person service integrated into the formation 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 rental service?
A virtual office rental service gives your business an office address in Estonia with some of the services paid staff would potentially do in a corporate 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 online in the Client Dashboard or through mail forwarding. Unicount can forward your mail items with Estonian Post and DHL Express service to you anywhere in the world.
The requirement to appoint an authorized contact person for receiving official legal notices from the court is something that the Estonian commercial code forced on e-resident founders in 2018. Unicount has the licence needed to act as your contact person. The contact person is responsible for receiving all official communication from Estonian government agencies and passing it on to the company. Starting from 1 February 2023 the contact person appointment is only required if you choose to have a foreign address for your Estonian company.
Registering a virtual office address with Unicount
There are three options for subscribing to the Unicount virtual office rental service. The first option is 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 signing applications in the e-Business Register as a company board member. Unicount has lobbied hard to get other eIDAS electronic identities working as well but no luck so far.
Unicount only provides company formation service with an annual virtual office or contact person subscription. Your virtual office address in Estonia will be Veskiposti 2-1002, Tallinn 10138. It is in the brand-new Avala Electra Building. All annual subscriptions cost €199 including VAT.
The second option is for those of you who already have an Estonian company, but want to switch to Unicount’s virtual office rental service or need a new contact person. There are separate signup forms available for subscribing to the annual virtual office or contact person service. It’s even simpler than registering a new company. After subscribing, you’ll need to update your company’s registered address and/or 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 for those who want to register a company in the e-Business Register or notary for some reason. That’s fine by us too if you don’t need any support and want to save 25€ for the API fee that Unicount has to pay to the Business Register for its quick online formation service. In fact, you’ll need to use the Business Register anyway when you are keen to establish a company with multiple shareholders or Estonian legal persons as founders.
The reason is that the current Business Register API only supports single natural person founder formations. However, you’ll still need a registered office address or a 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 will know to assist you with the company registration in the e-Business Register should you need it.
When setting up a new company in the e-Business Register you can use this guide here: “How can I use Unicount address and contact person service when registering a company on my own?” Here is what it looks like when inserting the Unicount virtual office address as your registered office address in Estonia.
Activating your subscription
After you have made your first annual payment you gain access to the Client Dashboard and can submit mandatory Client Data. Unicount 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.
Open the Client Data menu in the Client Dashboard and fill in the required Business details. When you are done click “Save changes” in the top right corner. Saving data automatically takes you to the next tabs where you can add the company’s beneficial owners and upload their passport files. We have a full guide here on how to do that: How can I activate virtual office service?
All mail items delivered to your registered office address are opened and scanned every working day excluding Estonian national holidays. Unicount uploads scanned letters to your Client Dashboard Messages menu and you receive an email notification about a new mail item. To see your mail items log in to Client Dashboard here.
There are five categories of messages in your Messages inbox:
It is the common category for notices informing you about receiving mail items addressed to your company. This also includes any physical bank cards we have received.
This 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 email@example.com 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 with the spam protection scheme by default unless the register has demanded another email to be used or you have opted out.
All services and products-related messages that Unicount sends to keep serving you. This includes receipts for your orders, payment reminders, invoices and Client Data related update requests.
Whenever our accounting team sends a message that is related to your accounting service or ordered product you will see it under the accounting category. Keep in mind that since 2023 you can also reply to any message from the team or send a message to Unicount to forward accounting documents or any other sensitive files.
We have given up on Mailchimp this year and now we provide free updates on the Estonian laws and taxes to our clients via Dashboard Messages. The nutshell extract comes once a month if we find relevant news to deliver.
When logging in next time 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. Unicount has no multi-user support available yet to have different users accessing the Client Dashboard.
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 order Mail forwarding from the Client Dashboard. By default your mail is forwarded to your residential address stored with Unicount. Whenever you need your mail delivered to any other address it is best to inform us in advance.
Unicount uses Estonian Post (Omniva) tracked and signed service for forwarding or DHL Express courier. A service charge of 35 euros including VAT will be charged on your card for Estonian Post service. DHL Express service in Europe costs 85 euros plus VAT. 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 the 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 can give a phone number to the courier for calling the office from the reception. Also, always use the 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.
User language and translations available
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 grasp the official 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.
How can I renew my virtual office rental 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.