In October, the Estonian government invited anyone, anywhere, to become an e-citizen of the Estonian digital society, open a bank account in Estonia, or start a business. They said that, by the end of the year, anyone with an internet connection would be able to live their financial life in Estonia, all without being physically present.
Yesterday those who sent a preliminary application received an email announcing the official launch of the program:
“Dear future e-Resident of Estonia, We are happy to announce you that we went live with e-Residency on the 1st December 2014! From now on, you can join the crowd of e-Estonians by applying for a secure digital identity provided by the Estonian government. We have updated the e-Residency website www.e-estonia.com/e-residents with practical details…”
“e-Estonia” is a term commonly used to describe Estonia’s emergence as one of the most advanced e-societies in the world – a story that grew out of a partnership between a forward-thinking government, a pro-active ICT sector and a switched-on, tech-savvy population.
E-residency is a state-issued secure digital identity for non-residents that allows digital authentication and the digital signing of documents.
E-residency is provided by the government of the Republic of Estonia, but does not bring physical residency or rights of entry to Estonia or EU. E-residency does not entail any residential or citizen rights and cannot be used as a physical identification card or travel document.
The purpose of e-residency is to make life easier by using secure e-services that have been accessible to Estonians for years already. By providing e-residency, we are moving towards the idea of a country without borders.
E-residents receive a smart ID-card with a microchip (contact chip) that contains two certificates:
- Certificate for authentication
- Certificate for digital signatures
Digital authentication allows you to access different e-services (provided both by the public and private sector), and to log in to any online portals that recognize this type of authentication (such as internet banks, government portals etc). Digital authenticating requires you to enter a 4-digit PIN code, similar to your bank card.
Digital signing allows you to securely sign any type of documents from anywhere you are in the world, provided there is Internet access, with your 5-12 digit PIN code. Within EU, digital signatures are legally binding in all member states. Outside EU, digital signatures are legally binding in the case of mutual agreement between the parties.
More information about digital signature can be found in the video below:
Do you plan to become an Estonian e-Resident? Comment below!
Images from e-estonia.com and Shutterstock.