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An e-resident will be a physical person who has received the e-resident’s digital identity (smart ID-card) from the Republic of Estonia. This will not entail full legal residency or citizenship or right of entry to Estonia. Instead, e-residency gives secure access to Estonia’s digital services and an opportunity to give digital signatures in an electronic environment. Such digital identification and signing is legally fully equal to face-to-face identification and handwritten signatures in the European Union. The card is not a physical ID-card or even a travel document because it has no photo on it, but it does have a microchip with security certificates. These enable the card to be used with a small piece of software installed and a reader attached via USB to a computer. It works on two-factor authentication.

To get access to a service or sign digitally, you need to enter secure PINs which only you will know.

Foreigners, who are permanent residents in Estonia, together with Estonian citizens, can complete almost all public and private sector transactions digitally. E-residency gives now also the foreigners residing abroad similar opportunities as the people living in Estonia to interact in Estonian e-environment. At any place in the world, a person with an Estonian ID card can:

  • Sign documents within minutes
  • Establish a company within an hour
  • Make bank transfers within seconds
  • Participate actively in the management of a company registered in Estonia
  • Submit tax returns in Estonia with a few mouse clicks