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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 16.07.2019, 17:53

Estonia opens office in South Korea for issuing digital IDs to e-residents

BC, Tallinn, 07.02.2018.Print version
Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid and representatives of the Police and Border Guard Board on Wednesday ceremonially opened an office in South Korea's capital Seoul for issuing digital IDs to e-residents, informs LETA/BNS.


"South Korea and Estonia may be located on the other side of the earth from each other, but this distance does not count in the digital age. Our countries have developed a strong bond of friendship, which is based on common values, enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and love for technology," Kaljulaid said at the opening of the office, adding that the two countries in a changing world will benefit a lot from each other and the use of digital ID possibilities will help the entrepreneurs of both countries.


"When supporting entrepreneurs, the state must be prepared to support innovation and adopt an enterprising mindset itself. The pilot project of the Police and Border Guard Board for using a private enterprise for issuing digital IDs of e-residents is a great example here, which will once again make Estonia globally larger and serve the entrepreneurs of South Korea and the rest of the world in the digital age," the head of state said.


So far, e-residency ID cards have only been issued in service offices of the Police and Border Guard Board or in Estonian foreign services and the police has not previously permitted any foreign partner to hand out Estonian identity documents. The issuance office in Seoul is a branch of VFS Global, which is a global company mainly focused on issuing visas.


"We have been issuing the first digital IDs from the e-resident digital ID issuing office in Seoul already from the middle of December. As technically, this is an innovative and complex enterprise, we wanted to be certain that everything will function as needed before the official opening. Approximately 100 digital IDs of e-residents have been issued by now. The opening of the office in Seoul will help us take a small step closer to future e-residents and give them the opportunity to operate in the Estonian economic space. The number of applications for digital IDs of e-residents from South Korea as well as Japan and China has increased significantly already now," Krista Aas, deputy director general of the Police and Border Guard who also attended the opening, said.


Aas said that the opening of a visa center in South Korea is a good pilot project, in which the capability of a foreign partner to offer us a secure identification service can be assessed. "If the South Korean project is successful, the plan is to expand with similar issuance offices to other countries that do not have an Estonian foreign representation. In addition, we are still considering the option that in the future, the mentioned visa centers could also issue the documents of Estonian citizens," Aas said.


The Interior Ministry, Police and Border Guard Board and VFS South Korea Visa Application Center on October 20 signed an agreement, which permits the South Korean Visa Application Center in Seoul to hand out Estonian e-residency digital ID cards.

The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board has issued e-resident status to 30,492 people since December 2014. Most applications have come from the citizens of Finland, Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the United Kingdom. E-residency has been applied for from 151 countries, in terms of the number of applications, South Korea is in 27th place, Japan in 12th place and China in 10th place.

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