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Estonia has launched its e-residency program

Estonia is known for its excellent e-government solutions and has now launched an innovative e-residency program.


E-residency can be applied for by all foreign citizens wishing to use Estonian e-services, both individuals and companies.

The expected total number of e-Estonians, i.e. e-residents, all over the world will be 10 millions by 2025.

Foreign citizens, who are permanent residents in Estonia, together with Estonian citizens, can complete almost all public and private sector transactions digitally. E-residency gives now also the foreign citizens residing abroad similar opportunities as the people living in Estonia to interact in Estonian e-environment. At any place in the world, a person with an Estonian ID card can:

  • Sign documents within minutes
  • Establish a company within an hour
  • Make bank transfers within seconds
  • Participate actively in the management of a company registered in Estonia
  • Submit tax returns in Estonia with a few mouse clicks

The digital ID of an e-resident will enable a foreign citizen to perform transactions online regardless of the location. People from outside the EU can thus create a central base for themselves for the transaction of business in the EU – establish a business in Estonia and participate actively in its management while residing in Brazil or Australia, for instance.

Information Society Services

Why are we doing it?
 

Although the use of e-solutions is customary in Estonia, the IT sector in the rest of the world has mostly not developed so fast. Estonia is a small country which has certainly facilitated the introduction of new technologies, but this makes it also important to have an economy which is open to other countries.

E-residency will increase the attractiveness of Estonia both as a place of residence and for business. The opportunity to participate actively in the management of a company from the other side of the world makes it more preferable to register a business in Estonia than in other EU Member States.

Registration of businesses will bring investments to Estonia and create jobs and will thus accelerate the economic growth.

 

Digital ID of an e-resident is a benefit rather than a right

 

The Estonian Government will issue a digital ID of an e-resident to its applicant for use in good faith and for the performance of legitimate transactions.
 

The state will have control over the use of the digital ID of an e-resident similar to the use of any other digital identity in Estonia. This means that identification of people for the issue of the digital ID will be secure and reliable and that the state will monitor its use for possible offences. 

Different e-services can be used even now, for instance through online banking, but a digital ID created and secured by the state is certainly a more secure opportunity.

On the other hand, the people themselves will be responsible for any illegal behaviour of an e-resident (e.g. delivery of a document to someone else, an offence) and the state has the right to check the reliability of a person before issuing the digital ID and to monitor its legitimate use.

The Estonian Government will, however, ensure that the use of the digital ID by an e-resident will be as convenient and secure as possible. This is also demonstrated by the experience of thousands of Estonian citizens and residents for many years. Now also foreign citizens residing abroad will have the excellent opportunity to perform transactions conveniently and securely in Estonia.

 
Last updated: 2 February 2015