Hanne-Loore Härma, attorney at Rödl & Partner Advokaadibüroo OÜ 

From 01.12.2014 Estonia started to provide an e-residency service, a unique solution that is only available in Estonia, which gives foreigners the possibility to use Estonian e-services from anywhere in the world. E-residency service is convenient – a person can sign documents electronically and safely, saving time and money that is usually spent on the handling of paper documents. A person applying for e-residency gets a digital ID, which is used only in the electronic environment in order to identify the person and provide digital signatures to documents.

In order to become an e-resident, a person does not need to be a citizen of a member state of the European Union; an e-resident’s digital ID can be issued to a person who has a connection with the Estonian state or a justified interest to use the Estonian e-services (e.g. a member of the management body of an Estonian company). Upon the issue of the digital ID, the reliability of the e-resident is checked from all available sources and follow-up inspections will also be made during the validity of the document. The digital ID does not grant the permission to live in Estonia and the document cannot be used for visual identification or travelling.

Attention should be paid to the fact that, at the moment, it is not possible to apply for an e-resident’s digital ID in Estonian representations in foreign states. This means that on the first application for a digital ID, to identify their person the applicant must go to the service point of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board twice, first to submit the application and later to receive the document. The issue of the digital ID is decided within 10 days. The use of e-services is free of charge for the e-resident, but a state fee of 50 euros must be paid for the review of the application of the issue of an e-resident’s digital ID.

In the future, the digital IDs of the e-resident are planned to be issued also in the Estonian foreign representations and additionally the possibility of issuing the digital ID in the form of a mobile ID will be considered.

For more information please contact our attorney Hanne-Loore Härma,

Rödl & Partner Law Office

Phone 606 8650

E-mail: hanne-loore.harma(at)roedl.pro