Estonia’s e-residency programme makes global push

Estonia e-Residency digital ID card

Estonia’s successful e-residency programme is now more accessible to entrepreneurs across the world, thanks to the launch of new collection points in four cities across three continents.

The Estonian government’s hugely successful e-residency programme, the world’s first digital residency initiative, has announced the launch of four new international pick-up points across three continents to accommodate for the increase in entrepreneurs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new locations – São Paulo, Bangkok, Singapore and Johannesburg – meet rising demand from local entrepreneurs seeking to scale their businesses internationally and expand into the European market.

E-residents can open an Estonian company within a day and run it remotely, apply for a business banking account and credit card, conduct e-banking, use international payment service providers, declare taxes, and sign documents digitally. E-residency does not provide citizenship, tax residency, physical residency or the right to travel to Estonia or EU.

While anyone can apply for e-residency online, the kit needed to access Estonia’s digital services needs to collected from an approved pick-up point.

With the addition of the new pick-up points, e-residency cards are now available for collection at nearly 50 locations worldwide, and demonstrates Estonia’s continued commitment to empowering freelancers, entrepreneurs, business owners and location-independent workers from around the world.

Borders become meaningless

“Once you have e-residency, borders become meaningless,” says Lauri Haav, e-Residency’s managing director. “But you need to have it first, which is why we needed to open more collection points, especially in those countries in which Estonia does not have embassies. We had to become closer to our audience.”

“Expanding our digital and physical network and empowering businesses is always top of mind for us, and this launch has been in the works for some time. Entrepreneurs, business owners and freelancers from all over the world have so much to offer, and we hope that making the process easier for joining e-residency will encourage more of them to choose us to help grow their companies.”

E-residency was the Estonian government’s first ‘start-up’ and since 2014, the programme has become internationally renowned for revolutionising how governments think about and interact with foreign entrepreneurs.

The e-residency programme now includes over 80,000 digital entrepreneurs. The programme is built on Estonia’s vast of experience of providing digital public services for Estonian citizens.

The launch of four new pick-up points is indicative of the rising number of professional location-independent workers on an international scale, and demonstrates e-Residency’s commitment to increasing accessibility for those residing outside of Europe.

Brazil has the highest number of e-Residency applicants in South America and makes it into the list of top 50 application countries alongside South Africa and Singapore.

The cities of São Paulo, Bangkok, Singapore and Johannesburg also met criteria set out by e-residency which identified the regions as remote working hotspots; havens for start-up founders and borderless professionals that have emerged with increasing speed since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Although the global pandemic has limited our ability to travel, work and do business across borders, it has also accelerated digital transformation among governments, businesses and freelancers alike,” says Kersti Kaljulaid, the Estonian president.

“As more people choose to live and work without remaining tied to one place, there is increasing need for a location-free digital toolbox to support them. As world’s first digitally-transformed state, Estonia is pleased to be welcoming even more freelancers, entrepreneurs, business owners and location-independent workers from around the world to join our e-residency programme.”

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