With crowds of new e-citizens and hundreds of new companies, Estonia's e-residency project has exceeded expectations in its first year.
An Estonian smart ID card.
One year into its e-residency plan to offer people who are not Estonian citizens or residents a digital identity, the project's head, Kaspar Korjus, is quietly satisfied with the results.
"Already by May, we had attained the objective we had set for the whole year [of 2,000 e-residents]. In July, the government set a new, higher goal: to have 5,000 e-residency applications by the end of the year. As of today, 7,600 people from 121 countries have applied for e-residency and are using Estonian e-services, mostly for entrepreneurial purposes," he says.
E-residents have created 240 new companies and 530 entrepreneurs use e-residency to administer their companies.
"This means that we've outperformed our initial goals almost fourfold," he added.
Estonian e-residency is a transnational digital identity, available to anyone in the world interested in administering a location-independent business online.
E-residency is based on Estonian X-Road middleware and enables access to many of the secure digital services that the citizens of Estonia have been using daily for almost a decade.
It is possible to apply for e-residency online. If, after a careful background check, it is granted, a special smart ID card can be collected at one of the 38 Estonian foreign representations or the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board service points.
Future e-residents just have to present a valid passport and provide officials with some biometric data, such as fingerprints.