Estonia has opened new e-Residency Collection Centres in San Francisco and Tokyo to support the continued growth in demand for its digital IDs from entrepreneurs around the world.
E-residents are able to use their digital identity cards to establish and manage a paperless EU company entirely online, just like citizens and residents of Estonia.
As a secure government-issued digital identity, e-residents must undergo background checks before picking up their cards in person and providing bio-metric data.
The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, which is the issuing authority for e-Residency, opened the new locations in partnership with VFS Global.
VFS Global already works with 58 governments around the world to provide support with consular services. Their locations are more commonly known as ‘visa centres’ by other countries, but Estonia is the first country to offer e-Residency and use them for this purpose instead.
Ott Vatter, Managing Director at e-Residency, said: “E-residents make a significant contribution to Estonia’s economy and even pay a state fee to cover the administrative costs of background checks and issuing the card. That’s why Estonia has a duty to continue investing in improved service for its e-resident population and help them gain as much value as possible from the programme after joining our digital nation.”
Erkki Vedder from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board explained: “We’re pleased that we can cooperate with the new e-Residency Collection Centres in order to issue e-resident’s digital identity cards. New issuing locations are part of our longer term strategy to widen the network of locations where e-residents’ digi-IDs can be picked up. In the future, many of these locations are planned to be used to issue documents to Estonian citizens as well.”
E-residents had previously been able to collect their digital ID cards in Tokyo by making an appointment with the Estonian Embassy there and in San Francisco by waiting for the next consular mission to the city from the Estonian Embassy in Washington DC. The new locations will provide increased convenience for new applicants as the community continues to grow.
All applications for e-Residency in Tokyo and San Francisco from 21 March onward will be issued by the new e-Residency Collection Centres.
The first e-Residency Collection Centre was opened last year in Seoul, South Korea, by Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid.
While the trial proved to be successful, one reason that Seoul was chosen for the first location was to help relieve some of the demand on the Estonian Embassy in Tokyo, which was already issuing e-Residency cards regularly — including to people travelling from South Korea. Instead, the opening of the new collection centre in Seoul coincided with an even bigger rise in interest for e-Residency across the region, including Japan.
There have now been almost 60,000 applications for e-Residency from more than 150 countries and e-residents have already established more than 6,000 new Estonian companies online.
Join them by applying for e-Residency at e-resident.gov.ee.