E-Residency in Estonia – Get the facts
Estonia is a country located in Northern Europe. Compared to many other European countries it is quite small, holding a population of 1.3 million people. But despite it’s small population, Estonia is considered a world leader in the area of digital presence. And in December of 2014, Estonia became the first country in the world to acquaint us with the concept of E Residency. But what exactly is E-residency? Is it a visa? And what does it mean for the everyday digital nomads? Let’s take a look.
What is E-Residency?
In simple terms, it’s a way to access government services in Estonia without actually ever visiting the country. This means that people from other countries can now access services that would regularly only be available to Estonian residents. With the help of E-Residency you can:
- Manage an Estonian company from anywhere in the world
- Apply for business accounts or credit cards in Estonia
- Conduct secure e-banking on the web
- Sign and transmit documents online
- Safely and securely declare Estonian taxes over the internet
What isn’t E-Residency?
Just as important as it is to understand what E Residency is, its also important to understand what it is not. E Residency should not be mistaken for a Visa, a right to remain in the country, or a citizenship card. In addition, it does not omit you from paying taxes.
So how does it work?
Before we talk about what this means for digital nomads, let’s talk a little bit about how it works. When you become an E Resident, you are given a digital card that contains a special chip. When used, this chip gives you remote access to Estonian public and private sector services. Once logged in you can easily access all of the tools you need to run and manage your company remotely. This includes immediate access to trusted financial services, accountants, marketing specialists, and other business providers that can help to manage and expand your business.
And How does it benefit digital nomads?
The lifestyle of a digital nomad is all about freedom – the freedom to choose your own life and the freedom to choose your own location. And e-residency gets you as close as possible to that lifestyle. With the help of E-Residency you can run a location-independent business while still maintaining credibility and popularity. For digital nomads and entrepreneurs around the world, E-Residency is changing lives. It is allowing people from around the world to start a business, expand existing businesses, make investments, and study abroad.
How popular is E-Residency?
Extremely! As of June 2017, over 20, 200 people from over 140 different countries had already applied for E-residency. Of these numbers, over 1675 have already established a new business in Estonia and this number just continues to grow. By 2025, the Estonian Government has announced that they hope to have over 10 million e-residents on file.
So how can you apply for E-Residency in Estonia?
Again, we want to emphasis the fact that when you apply for e-residency, you are not applying for a visa. Many times people confuse the two, but the two are very different. While an e-residency card does allow you to run an Estonian business, it does not supply you with citizenship or staying rights. But the good news is that e-residency is much easier to apply for and obtain.
To obtain E Residency card, all you have to do is fill out an online application form. On the form you will be asked about your citizenship, your reasons for applying, and which country you are applying for – and it’s really that simple. From there you will be asked for payment and delivery method. In order for your application to go through an Estonian Police and Border Guard will perform a background check. Once approved you can pick up your card from the given location. On average you should expect your card to take about a month to arrive.
In addition to your e-residency card, your delivered package will also include a starter kit and USB reader. This USB reader is extremely important because, when combined with the software it will be what gives you access to Estonian services.
Why Should I apply for E-Residency?
While E Residency will not give you visa status, it will open up a whole new world of remote opportunity for you. The process provides specific benefits for the digital nomads or entrepreneurs who face regular barriers in their home country. With the help of e-residency, freelancers and contractors can work from anywhere in the world, and entrepreneurs can finally gain access into the desirable EU market. Since 2014, thousands of people have flocked to the idea of running their business remotely, and were sure that as the years progress this number will only continue to skyrocket.