The best countries to start a European business from outside the EU

2 years ago   •   .4 min read

.By İlayda Birol
.Table of contents

Expanding your business into Europe or even starting a new one there is an exciting prospect. Company formation in Europe is ramping up as business owners from the rest of the world take the opportunity to grow and increase profitability. Reasons range from desiring access to different trading channels, EC labelling and regulatory issues and wanting a virtual office in Europe to benefit from having a European business address.

We can’t tell you that setting up a company in Europe is a walk in the park. It takes a lot of planning and there are a few tricky bits to get your head around, but if you carefully and thoroughly follow all the necessary procedures, you could be living your best European business dream in a relatively short period of time.

First, let’s look at the why

The advantages of starting a company in Europe

The advantages are significant - access to the EU single market (which means no restrictions on import and export) as well as a single currency. Most EU countries possess a fairly priced skilled workforce and low trade costs. Depending on which EU country you choose there are also tax advantages that make opening a company here even more attractive.

The 3 most advantageous countries for those who want to establish a company in the EU from outside the EU: Estonia, Malta and Cyprus

It’s of course more difficult if you’re trying to open a brick and mortar business, i.e., one that requires a physical location. But if what you’re after is establishing an online or e-commerce business in the EU, recent advances in technology and the possibility of becoming an e-Resident of certain European countries, have made doing so quite easy!

The best countries to start a business in EU

While there are blanket advantages that hold true for whichever country you choose to open your company in, choosing the right country can further optimise those advantages.

Opening a Business in Estonia

If you want to start a business in Europe, a good first choice is Estonia. This is because, thanks to Estonia’s e-residency system, you can become an Estonian e-Resident without living in Estonia and can register your company 100% online. No need to have a physical business location in Estonia to buy any real estate as is the case for many other EU options. If your e-residency application is accepted, you can open your business online in just a few days.

“E-Residency is open to individuals from all countries, from Germany to Ukraine, Brazil to Spain. Most e-residents are entrepreneurs who work digitally, are location-independent and want to start and run an EU company.”

The Estonian government’s E-Residency page will tell you more.

Opening a Business in Malta

Without beating around the bush, the most important advantage of opening a company in Malta is to do with tax.

Malta is one of the few European countries to adopt a full imputation system, which is one of the main advantages of Malta’s tax system along with the fact that Malta has an extensive network of double taxation agreements and the refundable tax credit scheme.

A bonus is that Malta doesn’t have the language barrier that you might find in other EU countries as English is one of the two official languages (the other one being Maltese). This makes the whole procedure of opening a business and any communications or documentation much easier as no translation is required.

Need to open a business account without going to Malta
If you want to open business account in Malta and you need to open a business account without going to Malta, discover and learn more about wamo now!

One of the big advantages of establishing a company in Cyprus is that it’s a free port area. “The Gazimağusa Free Port and Zone covering 115 acres offer foreign investors excellent opportunities for transit trade and manufacturing opportunities for middle-east and near-east countries.”

Another advantage is, again a favourable tax system that looks to encourage entrepreneurship and foreign investment in the island.

Open Business Account in Cyprus
Open a business account in Cyprus without going to Cyprus. Check out wamo’s blog for information about digital solutions and business accounts.

If you’re considering opening a company in the EU from outside the EU, you’ll also be required to have a business account to start operations in the next step. wamo lets you open an account in 10 minutes. Opening a business account with wamo is easy. You’ll need your ID, company details and shareholder information and we’ll do all the rest. We’re here to take the hassle out of getting your European business dreams off the ground.


.Keep reading