Estonia invites you to apply for e-Residency, as long as:
- You have a clear understanding of the reason you are applying for e-Residency and how you are planning to use it;
- You respect the law and have good intentions;
- You are not an Estonian citizen or a foreigner residing in Estonia on a residence permit or with the right of residence (you already have a government-issued digital ID).
As a part of the EU sanctions imposed due to the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, the Estonian government has decided to impose the following restrictions on first-time e-Residency applicants from Russian and Belarusian citizens:
E-Residency is particularly well-suited for many freelancers, consultants, digital nomads and other digital entrepreneurs interested in establishing a digital services company that they can manage remotely.
Background check: All applicants undergo background checks conducted by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB), the authority that manages the entire application process, to ensure digital identities are used by verified people with good intentions. During the background check, the PBGB assesses the applicant’s compliance with the law, their prior and current criminal record and whether there are any circumstances giving rise to denying a visa or temporary residence permit or imposing an entry ban.
Travel: Your e-Residency digital ID card is not a travel document and your e-resident status does not provide you with the legal right to enter a foreign country, including Estonia. If you are approved, you will need to travel to an official pick-up location to provide fingerprints and pick up your e-Residency kit in person. Note, it is not possible to send the document by mail or ask somebody else to collect it on your behalf.
Banking: Banking service providers and payment institutions set their own eligibility criteria for opening accounts and e-resident status does not guarantee access to their services. If you are a resident of a country on the FATF list of high-risk and other monitored jurisdictions, you will most likely have difficulty accessing any kind of business banking service even with a company registered in Estonia. Check out this article for an overview of banking basics.
Transparency: In Estonia, a significant proportion of information about Estonian companies is publicly available, including company name, registry number, VAT number, legal address, company contact details, names and surnames of company representatives, annual reports, paid taxes, taxable turnover and employee count. The availability of this information helps Estonia to have a transparent and trusted online business environment.
You can read more about eligibility requirements at the bottom of the Police and Border Guard Board FAQ. They are the issuing authority and can provide you with more information about eligibility criteria and documentation required for the application.