New changes make the e-Residency program more effective in Estonia

Estonia imposes additional checks for e-Residency programme applicants

The Ministry of Interior in Estonia has made an announcement. All e-Residency applicants will now need to provide more information when applying for a digital identity card. A new amendment to the regulation will be used to impose the new changes. The new changes have been effective from April 1, 2021.

The ministry gave explanations in this regard in a press release to announce the new changes. The ministry said that the purpose of seeking additional information was to do a deeper check into the backgrounds of the applicants. It will also enable the ministry to evaluate the use of the digital identity card. But the changes don’t affect citizens of Estonia, or individuals living in the country with a residence permit.

Ruth Annus, the head of the Citizenship & Migration Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior gave her statement in this regard. She said that considering the further development of the program in a constantly changing world it’s necessary to examine the risks and plan the actions related to migration overseas.

She said that there is mounting importance for checking the background of e-residents in the future in a more thorough manner. This will be necessary to achieve certainty on whether every e-resident is indeed true to what he/she claims to be. It’s necessary to ensure that the e-resident’s activities are legal and in accordance with the Estonian state’s interests.

The digital ID of an e-resident gives an identity check in real-time. It gives institutions in charge the ability to verify the personal data of the ID holder. The program also lets non-Estonians access various services in the country. This includes payment, processing, taxation, banking, and the formation of a company.

No digital ID will be issued to individuals who pose a threat to the public order or national security.

Also, the changes in the regulation make it mandatory to collect the data of the digital ID holder. This is necessary for the procedures of issuance to be initiated. It also gives the PBGB (Police & Border Guard Board) the opportunities to conduct the verification of the applicants.

Eva-Helen Kangro, the Chief Expert of the Identity & Status Bureau of the PBGB made a statement in this regard. She said that the main change in the new design and environment is that the e-resident must create a user account. This can be done through the application itself. The applicant will have the ability to monitor the procedural status of the application already submitted.

Estonia’s government had made an announcement via a statement that the country’s e-Residency program would be expanded soon in 20 world countries. The decision was announced after an agreement was reached between the BLS International Ltd., the PBGB, and the Ministry of Interior of Estonia.

Before that, the authorities in Estonia had stated that international individuals who break the law or threaten public well-being will be disallowed to be a part of Estonia’s e-Residency program.

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