e-Residency; Let’s all become Estonians

Estonia is the first country in the world to offer e-Residency. e-Residency is a transnational digital identity available to anyone in the world interested in administering a location-independent business online.

Some context. Estonia is a European country with a traditional population of 1,3 million people. It is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy with a GDP per capita of $18,100 and high living standards. Situated in the Baltic region it is located in a hotbed for digital rights and citizen freedom.


Estonia is the first country in the world to issue e-Residency. e-Residency is growing rapidly. The statistics below

  • 10,353 applicants
  • 88% are male and 12% female
  • 33% of applicants are between the ages of 31 and 40
  • 129 nationalities have Estonian e-Residency
  • Egypt has the highest number in Africa with 34
  • There are no Zambian e-Estonians
  • E-residents have established 485 companies
  • 1,000 companies are connected to e-residents
  • 37% of all e-Residents listed ‘the formation of a location dependent company‘ as their reason for applying
  • The most popular companies formed by e-Residents are
    • Business Consultation, 67 companies
    • Computer Programming, 62 companies
    • Non-specialised wholesale, 54 companies
  • 4 Zambians have applied in the last 30 days

Estonia are pushing e-residency in much the same way Dubai pushed itself as a transport hub. The goal of the program is for Estonia to be the digital business hub of the world. The world is now a digital village but much of what we do is hamstrung by laws enacted or influenced by events that occurred before IP invented (January 1, 1983). Estonia is being tremendously progressive, pushing e-citizenry as the solution to the archaic laws our governments foster on us. The diagram below highlights a Freelancers pain points:

Research by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (2015)
Research by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (2015)

The reasoning behind solution is summarised in the following 4 points:

  1. Establish a company online
  2. Open a bank account in Estonia
  3. Administer the company online
  4. Digitally sign documents and contracts

A quick look and some forward thinking highlighted the fact that only the person’s digital presence needed to be Estonian, and hence e-citizenry was created. According to the government

The Estonian government launched e-Residency to make Estonia bigger: to grow our digital economy and market with new customers, there-by sparking innovation and attracting new investments. In addition, e-Residency makes life and business easier and more efficient for everybody who already have a business or other relation to Estonia.Our government is developing e-Residency likea start-up. The way we launched it was fast and agile, and we are constantly working to improve and extend the offering. e-Residency is now in a public beta phase: everybody is invited to apply for it and help us cater it best to the needs of users by giving feedback.

The benefits of being an e-citizen of Estonia include:

  • Digitally sign documents and contracts
  • Verify the authenticity of signed documents
  • Encrypt and transmit documents securely
  • Establish an Estonian company online. A physical address in Estonia is required to establish an Estonian company. An Estonian address may be obtained via an external service provider.
  • Administer the company from anywhere in the world.
  • Conduct e-banking and remote money transfers. Establishing an Estonian bank account currently requires one in-person meeting at the bank. E-residents are not guaranteed bank accounts and may establish them at the sole discretion of our banking partners.
  • Access online payment service providers
  • Declare Estonian taxes online. e-Residency does not automatically establish tax residency. To learn about taxation and to avoid double taxation please consult a tax professional.

Once you become an e-Resident you receive a smart ID card that provides:

  • digital identification and authentication to secure services
  • digital signing of documents
  • digital verification of document authenticity
  • document encryption
e-res ID Card
e-res ID Card

The program is still in its beta phase but the benefits will be tremendous for developers struggling to monetise their ideas. It enables our Zambian developers to target a worldwide audience by removing the pay wall barriers that now exist. With Zambian residence requiring 10 years we will not hold out hope, and that residence not citizenship.

To apply click here.

To find out more click here.