Estonia doubles e-Residency fee to cope with growing demand

By on 11/01/2016

The Estonian government is doubling its e-Residency fees to cope with growing demand.

Kaspar Korjus, e-Residency programme director, said today that the €50 (US$ 54.50) application fee will be put up to €100 (US$109) from February 1 to reflect “the cost of scaling up services to meet that demand.”

The increase, he added, will “help us ensure that e-Residency remains sustainable going forward” and help provide “additional support staff and automating key aspects of the application process.”

So far, almost 8,000 people hold an Estonian e-Residency.

Estonia first launched the scheme in December 2014 to enable people around the world to found businesses in Estonia via the Internet without physically being in the country.

It became the first country to offer such a service.

E-Residents are also able to make digital signatures, encrypt documents, use Estonia’s state portal eesti.ee, provide reports to the Estonian Tax and Customs Board and E-Business Register, fill in Estonian tax declarations online, and use Estonian online banking systems.

E-residents receive a smart ID-card (eID) which enables secure digital authentication and the digital signing of documents.

The digital signature and authentication are legally equal to handwritten signatures and face-to-face identification in Estonia between partners upon agreement anywhere around the world.

When the programme was first launched, e-Residency applications had to be made in person at Estonian embassy buildings.

But since May 2015, people have been able to apply for e-Residency only and attend one face-to-face meeting with Estonian officials afterwards to obtain their eID card.

So far, more than 7,900 people from 123 countries worldwide have applied for and 7,400 have received the eID.

As of this month, 290 e-residents have established a company and there are more than 640 companies connected to e-Residents.

The Estonian government says it launched e-Residency “to make Estonia bigger: to grow our digital economy and market with new customers, thereby sparking innovation and attracting new investments.”

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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