10 Facts About The Estonian e-Residency Programme

10 Facts About The Estonian e-Residency Programme

16 October 2022

Estonia was the first country to offer e-Residency to people outside its borders. The idea was simple: open up digital access to Estonia’s advanced e-services and trusted business environment. In this way, the programme supports economic growth and innovation potential in Estonia and shares the digital nation’s capabilities with the world. 

Here are 10 facts about the programme that leads the way in promoting the state as a service and might be just the tool you need in your further business aspirations.

Seven years of e-Residency Programme

The Estonian e-Residency programme was founded in 2014. The programme, a governmental start-up, was established in the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication. Other governmental stakeholders include the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, Estonian Tax and Customs Board, Estonian Ministry of Interior, Statistics Estonia. However, the e-Residency ecosystem spans further than just the public sector. The private sector has a large part to play, as well as the global e-residents community and many other stakeholders. The programme is built on Estonia’s 25+ years of experience to provide digital public services for Estonian citizens.

More than 2700 digital government services

E-residents have over 2700 digital government services at their disposal. A country with a population of only 1.3 million, Estonia is the only European Union member state that is 99% digital society with nearly all government services being available online and with high-level data security and public trust in digital services. Therefore, the range of digital business services also available for foreign entrepreneurs such as e-tax system, e-Notary, digital company creation, digital invoicing and more has proven to be attractive as it helps the founders to run their borderless business from anywhere in the world. The same goes for digital services provided by the private sector.

Running a global EU company fully online

Everyone can apply for this transnational government-issued digital identity and benefit from the e-Residency platform, which is built on inclusion, legitimacy and transparency.  E-Residency allows access to Estonia’s public e-services and a variety of e-services provided by international service providers, all part of Estonia’s X-Road, which links all public services together and enables each service to work in harmony. All outgoing data is digitally signed and encrypted, and all incoming data is authenticated and logged, meaning that e-residents and other users of the X-Road’s data are completely secure. This provides the freedom to easily start and run a global EU company fully online from anywhere in the world.

Company within a day

e-Residents can open a company within a day and run the company remotely, apply for a business banking account, conduct e-banking, use international payment service providers, declare taxes, and sign documents digitally. E-Residency does not provide citizenship, tax residency, physical residency or the right to travel to Estonia or the EU.

80 000 e-residents

Estonia currently has nearly 80 000 e-residents and the number is growing steadily each day.

170 countries

Estonia has e-residents from over 170 countries, the top 10 countries being Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, China, UK, USA, India, France and Japan.

Location-independent business

The main motivation to apply for e-residency is the ability to run a location-independent business (40% of applicants), which perfectly suits remote entrepreneurs, digital nomads, freelancers, and mobile start-up founders. The other key motivations include: bringing business to Estonia, using secure digital authentication and signatures, being a fan of e-Residency, and promoting Estonian culture.

16 000 Estonian companies

Estonian e-residents have established over 16 000 Estonian companies that are run remotely from locations all over the world. 

20% of new Estonian companies

20% of new companies in Estonia are established by e-residents using the e-Residency program. 

Three main sectors

The businesses created by e-residents operate mainly in three sectors. At the time of registration (a company founder must state the field of activity), 39% were active in the field of information and communication, 24% in professional, scientific and technical activities and 17% in wholesale and retail trade. The top three economic activities have remained the same over the years.  Whereas in 2015, 70% of all new businesses were registered in these three economic activities, in 2020 those three make up 82% of new businesses. Nearly two-thirds of enterprises registered in information and communication offer computer programming, consultancy and related activities. The vibrant e-resident community consists of inspiring professionals from all over the world.

Additional info on the e-Residency program is available on our homepage and by contacting our team of experts. You can step further into the world of e-residents by reading and subscribing to the e-Residency blog.