Estonian parlt passes law enabling creation of e-resident's digital ID

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The Estonian parliament on Tuesday passed a bill of amendments to the Identity Documents Act and the State Fees Act to set out the legal basis for the issuance of a digital identity to persons who are not Estonian citizens or residents of Estonia.

The covering letter accompanying the government-initiated bill says the creation of digital identity for e-residents will be conducive to the involvement of foreigners living abroad in the development of the Estonian economy, science, education and IT environment, making Estonia as provider of this unique solution an attractive economic, science and educational environment.

Kalev Kallemets, member of the Riigikogu economic affairs committee, has said that where residents of Estonia can handle almost all their business digitally, foreigners living permanently in another country do not have such possibility now.

When the e-residency bill takes effect, people living abroad will be able to get a virtual identity enabling access to Estonian e-services.

The MP said digital ID will provide foreign investors who are nor citizens or residents of Estonia with a feeling of security to become rooted on the Estonian business landscape. «The possibility created with e-residency to easily check out each activity in the register makes the life of fraudsters very difficult and enables owners to themselves replace the management board in the register or to successfully act as board members themselves via e-services. Of the 112,000 companies active in Estonia today almost one in ten have foreigners among their owners,» Kallemets said.

He called on the ministries of interior and foreign affairs to take steps so that by the end of next year e-residents would be able to apply for a digital ID at Estonia's foreign representations rather than at offices in Estonia alone.