Estonia, an avant-garde country.
Estonia is a small but extremely competitive and well managed country. Achieving complete independence in 1991 and joining the European Union in 2004 provided impetus and support to a population with a strong desire of economic growth.
For the past thirty years Estonia has been teaching information technology to its youth from the earliest age possible, creating a generation that is now in highly competent manager roles in the field of digital technologies. As a consequence, Skype and many other important digital start-ups have been created in this country.
The governmental project aiming to digitalise the entire country is now a consolidated reality. In Estonia the sole reason for which one needs to leave the house is to get married, buy another house and not much else. The word “bureaucracy” seems to belong only to the most ancient countries encrusted with stamps and signatures. The Estonians have documents such as their driving license in a digital and dematerialized format. They vote in the parliamentary elections from the comfort of their own homes and can open a company in minutes regardless of where they are.
However, the digitization of the country does not only concern Estonians, but also European and non-EU citizens.
The e-Residency project.
The e-Residency project, which has been in place since the end of 2014, has become a global and fast-growing success that attracts entrepreneurs and “digital nomads” alike. The digital residence can be granted to anyone applying for it, European or non-European citizens, who have a clean criminal record and come to Estonia with an business or social interest.
Specifically, this digital identity card enables its holder to interact, by way of example, with Estonian institutions and banks, to stipulate digitally signed contracts, open companies, pay taxes and so forth. However, the E-Residency does not grant its holder a right of physical residence in Estonia.
Aware of the fact that a digital resident may wish to become a physical resident, Estonia announced that specific residence permits are in the process of being developed for those who are already digital residents. These permits should be available within a maximum of two years.
What is the idea behind this program?
A change of vision that should concern us all. The observation that by now digital reality permeates our lives both from a personal and a professional point of view. The will to adapt the official “state reality” to the technological reality by creating what is already the e-Nation.
Estonia is trying to challenge the principle of physical presence in one place by giving everyone the opportunity to manage their business in a dematerialized way. The Estonian government continues to demonstrate to other countries how it is possible to make life easier for both people and businesses.
The importance attached to digital technologies is so significant that Estonia has even listed the “right to internet access” as a fundamental human right.
A change of perspective may as well be needed everywhere and not just in this dynamic Baltic country.
However, digital residence does not exempt you from complying with Estonian, international and national (your country’s) regulation on physical residence.
Should you wish to operate in Estonia, feel free to get in touch with us for our help and advice.
Interested in Estonia? Here you will find the previous news dedicated to Estonia: