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What is E-residency in Estonia

What is E-residency in Estonia
Photo by Aleksey Smagin / Unsplash

Estonia is the world's most advanced digital society and it wants to help you take part in that. The country has the first national e-residency program, which allows anyone open a EU company online. Estonia recently became the first country to introduce e-Residency and it is trying to attract foreign entrepreneurs who have no plans of living in Estonia by allowing them a chance to open the doors of the largest EU marketplace for their business

Estonia has the first national e-residency program, which allows anyone open a EU company online. E-residents receive a secure digital identity card with two-factor authentication to sign documents, access public services and conduct business.

Why you need to be E-resident?

E-residency is a secure digital identity issued by the government of Estonia that allows anyone anywhere in the world to start and run a business online. You can use it to encrypt your email, sign documents, get an official photo ID card, or create a company in a few days.

The idea behind e-residency was to make it easier for foreigners who want to establish businesses in Estonia while still being based outside the country. For example, if you're an entrepreneur in Canada but have Estonian roots and want to attract investment from Europe or Russia, then e-residency could give you access to capital via international investors who do not live in Estonia but are interested in its startup scene (there are many).

How to become an e-resident?

Estonia’s e-Residency programme is not available for everyone. Only non-EU citizens can apply for it, but once you become an Estonian e-resident, you get access to all services that any other Estonian citizen enjoys, including banking facilities and digital signatures. The only thing missing in your Estonian digital identity will be a physical resident address in Estonia.

In order to register as an e-resident, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have a valid passport or ID card.
  • Your identity and background information will be verified by Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA). As part of this procedure, you will need to provide personal documents that prove your name, gender and date of birth as well as a document confirming your permanent residence in Estonia from either your employer or landlord. If you do not have one of these documents yet, it's OK; however, PPA cannot issue an e-Residency card until all required documents are provided by the applicant.
  • Your bank account must have been opened prior to applying for e-residency with at least €1 000 in it (but no more than €10 000). Once registered as an e-resident, you can apply for a public key infrastructure certificate from any Estonian bank—you don’t need to stick with the same financial institution that holds your online bank account.

If you meet these conditions, you can apply for e-residency in Estonia. What you need to do to apply:

  • Go to e-residency registration website
  • Click on the "Apply Now" button.
  • Fill in your personal details and upload a photo of your ID card (the only one you can use to register as an e-resident).
  • Take a selfie, download the application form and fill it in by hand. Sign it and send it back along with your signed handwritten declaration of intent (in Estonian or English) via email or post at: Estonian Tax and Customs Board, Põhja pst 3a Tallinn 10131, Estonia

That's it! After your application is approved, you can set up your company. All you have to do to start working is to have a business account. For this, if you do not want to collect documents and wait for days, you can open a business account with wamo in 10 minutes.

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Jamie Larson