Financial institutions planning to provide services related to the issuance and turnover of electronic money in the European Union must have an EMI license. This is a requirement of the EU directive 2015/2366. An EMI (Electronic Money Institution) license is a legal document issued by a designated regulatory authority.
One of the most attractive countries for FinTech entrepreneurship is the Republic of Lithuania, which has been among the top five countries in terms of the number of issued permits for several years in a row. Firms here can obtain two types of licenses related to electronic money, including EMI. The regulation of e-money licensing is the responsibility of the state-owned Bank of Lithuania.
The Lithuanian open license allows operating in the financial market of the entire eurozone, which includes 30 countries.
Electronic Money Institution is an extended license that gives the right to:
EMI license is issued for an indefinite period. Its annual renewal requires payment of a fee.
After Lithuania left the European Union, it managed to become one of the most favorable jurisdictions due to:
This process can be divided into three stages:
The licensee must submit constituent documents, information on all shareholders and investors, and internal regulations, as well as make an application for EMI and pay the state fees (about 1.5 thousand euros).
The regulator has three months from the date of filing the documents for a decision on licensing. In the case of errors or inaccuracies, the review period is extended: the Bank of Lithuania may request additional papers or ask for corrections, after which a new countdown of the three months for review begins. As a rule, the entire licensing process, including preparation and collection of documents, as well as finding and hiring staff, takes from 6 to 12 months.
The applicant cannot have any prohibitions from the EU supervisory authorities. The head of the financial institution may be a person with appropriate qualifications (higher education in management, law, or economics plus 1 year of experience) and an impeccable reputation.
At least one employee, such as CEO and/or AML officer, must be a resident or citizen of the Republic of Lithuania.
There must be at least one natural person among the founders of the company. A suitable candidate is a person over 18 years of age with an impeccable business reputation.
The authorized capital of the company must be kept in the specified amount (for the full Lithuania EMI license — from 350 thousand euros) for the entire period of its activities. When depositing funds, the licensee is required to confirm the source of their origin.
Management and control processes, as well as financial transactions, must be carried out in the head office located in Lithuania.
The Republic of Malta is one of the top three countries by the number of issued EMI licenses. Increased interest in this jurisdiction and the status of e money license Malta is caused by certain factors, among which are the single European passport, tax preferences, loyal attitude to foreign investors, and all-round active government support to suppliers and users of financial services.
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