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President Kaljulaid: we must give a new meaning to e-residency

President Kaljulaid: we must give a new meaning to e-residency © Mattias Tammet/Office of the President of Estonia


At the invitation of the President of the Republic, the parties related to the e-residency programme gathered together in the Ice Cellar to discuss the possible future of the programme and the measures to be taken to manage the incurring risks.

"E-residency could indeed become a highly successful project that has the potential to become a real success story and a considerable national source of income with some luck, good decisions and if managed properly. We all want a clean Estonia that is also affluent. In the 21st century, the only natural resources of real value can be found between two ears, and e-residency offers us the tools to harness this smartness and sell it to the world," said President Kaljulaid after the meeting.

According to the Head of State, the programme has been developed as a start-up enterprise over three and a half years, and it has garnered us a significant amount of global attention and helped to establish the image of Estonia as a progressive digital country. "However, a number of problems have also emerged and we now need to decide how to move forward with e-residency, and determine what e-residency 2.0 should look like. What is the business model and how can Estonian people make it pay? Who are welcome to become e-residents? We now need to reach an understanding, with all the parties involved, on how to manage the risks that have emerged and find answers to these questions," said the President of the Republic.

It was agreed, together, that by 1 December the experts, involving all the parties, will develop a road map to e-residency 2.0, which will map the potential benefits, risks and problems of e-residency, as well as the opportunities to manage all these details.

The leaders and council of the e-residency programme include representatives of various ministries, the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority, the Bank of Estonia, police authorities, the Centre of Registers and Information Systems, the Estonian Information System Authority, the Estonian Bar Association, the Chamber of Service Industry and other parties involved with the e-residency programme in one or another way.

In December 2014, Estonia became the first country in the world to offer digital residency, issued by the state authorities, to non-residents. E-residents can establish enterprises over the internet, manage their companies without being present physically and pursue activities regardless of their physical location. E-residency does not grant citizenship, tax residency, a living permit or permission to enter Estonia or the European Union.