Is Estonia e-residency something for me?

Estonia e-residency is a state-issued secure digital identity for non-residents that allows digital authentication and the digital signing of documents. It sounds exotic and exciting so why not explore this a bit.

The Republic of Estonia is the first country in the world to offer e-residency. People from all over the world will have an opportunity to get a digital identity provided by the Estonian government — in order to get secure access to world-leading digital services from wherever you might be. The purpose of e-residency is to make life easier by using secure e-services that have been accessible to Estonians for years already. By providing e-residency, we are moving towards the idea of a country without borders.

What is Estonia e-residency?

An e-resident with Estonia Digital Citizenship will be a physical person who has received the e-resident’s digital identity (smart ID-card) from the Republic of Estonia. This will not entail full legal residency or citizenship or right of entry to Estonia. Instead, Estonia Virtual Citizenship gives secure access to Estonia’s digital services and an opportunity to give digital signatures in an electronic environment. Such digital identification and signing is legally fully equal to face-to-face identification and handwritten signatures in the European Union. The card is not a physical ID-card or even a travel document because it has no photo on it, but it does have a microchip with security certificates. These enable the card to be used with a small piece of software installed and a reader attached via USB to a computer. It works on two-factor authentication. To get access to a service or sign digitally, you need to enter secure PINs which only you will know.

How do you benefit from Estonia E Citizenship?

As an e-resident you can use and enjoy the same great digital services that allow Estonians to do anything and everything digitally — sign all documents, launch and manage companies, do the banking, encrypt files, etc. It is especially useful for entrepreneurs and others who already have some relationship to Estonia: who do business, work, study or visit here but have not become a resident. However, e-residency is also launched as a platform to offer digital services to a global audience with no prior Estonian affiliation — for anybody who wants to run their business and life in the most convenient aka digital way! We plan to keep adding new useful services from early 2015 onwards. With E Residency, you can become part of the digital society revolution taking place in our dynamic Northern European country. You can become an eEstonian!

Estonian e-services are built to give you full control over how your business is operated, eliminating the need for foreign directors and intermediaries. You can easily register your company online, view your tax accounts and declare taxes through the e-Tax Board, access all your Estonian bank accounts via a single smart card, sign corporate documents and contracts digitally and use a free encrypting service for secure transfers with other e-Residents.

Benefits for Estonia e-Residency

  • enhanced privacy by using decentralized transparent e-solutions
  • high convenience by accessing e-services anywhere
  • added security by using two factor authentication

Living in Estonia as a non-resident or visiting Estonia often due to business or personal reasons will be much more convenient when being able to use Estonian e-services, as you save time and effort, making it possible for you to spend time on things you enjoy with your family and friends. Running your daily errands becomes much easier as you can access digital services comfortably with your ID-card anywhere in the world.

Developers toolkit lets you benefit from:

  • new start-up opportunities by treating e-Residency as a platform
  • expanding your service portfolio by using API in existing services
  • global market reach by opening access to e-Residents worldwide

You can build new services, integrating the possibility of secure and private digital authentication and digital signatures. Using our open source tools gives you the opportunity to build tech innovations, e-commerce websites or non-profit developments that operate through a system that has global reach and governmentally approved security layers.

Estonia Residency Requirements

When you are already in Estonia, find your nearest Police and Border Guard Office and bring the following items with you:

  1. Travel document or physical identification document from your native country
  2. Document photo, taken at the location
  3. Application form, filled out at the location
  4. Present your biometrics at the location (fingerprints)
  5. Pay the state fee of 50 euros (currently in cash only, on-site)

When you are abroad, you can apply for e-Residency in most Estonian embassies and consular offices around the world, which in my case, would be the Estonian embassy in The Hague. Until end of April, you will still be required to make two visits to our consular office — first to apply and then the second time to receive the card, once all is OK. Starting from May 2015, the process will become much easier as we open online application site and only one visit to our office will be required. Once applied and approved, your background will be checked and in 4 weeks you can pick up your card. The background check is performed by the Police and Border Guard office of the Republic of Estonia in order to process your application. The background check is mostly computerized and utilizes your biometrics (facial image and fingerprints).

And uhmmmm where exactly is Estonia?


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