Dallas Karrasch Team : Web Operations

Estonians embrace the digital world

Dallas Karrasch Team : Web Operations

Looking back on the few blogs I have written since joining Wiliam late last year, my interest was once gain piqued by Estonia or (‘E-stonia’ as it’s becoming known!).

To recap, the people of Estonia have fully embraced the digital world. At the age of 15, every citizen is issued an ID card which gives them access to about 4,000 online services – allowing them to manage their banking, register businesses, apply for child benefits, pay for parking tickets and even check their medical records on their smart phones. The ID card is used by 90% of the country’s residents to access everyday services.

For safety & privacy, each card has a personal ID number that must be correctly entered before access is provided to the services and all personal information is kept on separate servers behind security walls of government agencies.

As mentioned in my first blog, Estonia has recently opened its doors to non-residents by offering e-residency with the aim of making life and business easier for the country’s international partners and non-resident foreigners who have a relationship with Estonia – those who invest, work or study there and/or do trade with them.

Digital identity for non-residents has nothing to do with constitutional rights or actual citizenship but everything to do with everyday matters - banking, government dealings, company management, and the ability to digitally sign in a legally binding manner. In fact, providing people anywhere in the world access to all of Estonia’s public & private online services.

So, who will benefit from an e-residency?

  • People who are a citizen of one country but living in another? In this case, you have a company registered in Europe and the ability to live anywhere in the world. Nice..
  • People tired of their own countries bureaucracy (read Russia…?)
  • Small and medium enterprises who are looking to reduce support service costs (and red tape, see above!)


Only one small one at the moment…..you have to visit the police or border guards in Estonia, undergo a background check and then wait for two weeks before collecting your ID card. Mmmmm. This is being addressed however, with Estonia currently developing a system whereby you can apply (& go through the checking process) in embassies in the future. E-residents would not need to even set foot in the country!

Estonia hopes to attract 10 million “digital citizens” by 2025 and with authorities claiming they can process online applications in as little as 18 minutes, they may actually achieve this. Remember, this is the country that created Skype!