Estonia is the first country in the world to offer e-Residency – a secure government-backed digital identity, available to anyone around the world wanting to enjoy a wide range of government and business services developed in Estonia since the 1990s. By providing e-Residency, Estonia is unleashing the world’s entrepreneurial potential.
As of today, we have received over 6700 e-Residency applications from 120 countries, and there are more than 500 companies connected to e-residents. We have already exceeded our initial goal for 2015 by more than three-fold, and have received a vast amount of positive feedback, especially considering that we are still in the beta phase.
We are also happy to announce that in the last few months, we have had several well-known additions to the e-Residency community, such as the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe, former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki and Swedbank President and CEO Michael Wolf.
How to become an e-resident
One can apply for e-Residency anywhere in the world at e-resident.gov.ee. Once the application is approved, just one face-to-face meeting is required to collect the card from one of Estonia’s foreign representations in 34 countries.
These efficient and easy-to-use services have been available to Estonians for over a decade. By offering e-residents the same services, Estonia is proudly pioneering the idea of a country without borders.
e-residents receive a digi-ID for:
- Digital identification and authentication to access secure services
- Digital signing of documents
- Digital verification of document authenticity
- Document encryption
Digital signatures and authentication have the same legal power as handwritten signatures and face-to-face identification in Estonia and between partners upon agreement anywhere around the world.
Currently e-residents applying for an Estonian bank account have to come to Estonia and have a “face-to-face” meeting with a bank official. However, hopefully within the next year e-residents will be able to apply for a bank account the same way they take advantage of other Estonian services: digitally. By autumn 2016, partner banks will be able to “meet” with applicants who want to open bank accounts virtually via secure video Chat.
Developers are welcome to use the e-Residency open ID platform to build services requiring secure digital authentication by users, digital signatures, and encryption of documents. Companies are invited to offer their legal, accounting, business, marketing or any other services to entrepreneurs and freelancers in the virtual business environment.
The e-resident digi-ID and services are built using state-of-the-art technological solutions, including 2048-bit public key encryption. The digi-ID card contains a microchip with two security certificates: one for authentication, called PIN1 (minimum 4-digit number), and another for digital signing, called PIN2 (minimum 5-digit number).
e-Residency does not give citizenship, tax residency, or the right of entry to Estonia or to the EU. The e-resident digi-ID is not a physical identification or a travel document and does not display a photo.
Our government is developing e-Residency like a start-up. Its launch was agile, and we are constantly working to improve and extend this revolutionary program. e-Residency is now in a public beta phase: everybody is invited to apply and help us develop it for you, the e-Estonian — a new kind of digital and global citizen.