International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics
Saturday, 20.09.2014, 19:00
Estonia intends to issue millions ID cards to foreigners
The idea of the interior ministry to start issuing ID cards to foreigners is seven years old already. After the government approved of the e-residents concept at the end of April, the idea is becoming reality. If the Riigikogu manages to approve of the necessary law amendments by autumn, the ministry is ready to issue the first e-resident's ID cards before the end of this year.
Initially the persons have to submit the application in Estonia but next year most likely it will be possible to ID a person and issue the documents in Estonian embassies and consulates.
Economy and communications ministry communications and state information systems deputy chancellor Taavi Kotka together with interior ministry and State Chancellery officials submitted a position to the Development Fund economic ideas contest, according to which 10 million people could have connected themselves with Estonia's e-identity by the year 2025.
"10 million e-residents is an aim that shows the size of our ambition. Our idea is to create via services an infrastructure, which would enable companies, and not just Estonian companies, to use that infrastructure and thus make Estonia bigger. There are 80,000 companies in Estonia now, if we could double that number with the help of e-residence, it would be a great thing," he said.
The ID card would enable to identify oneself in electronic environment but it doesn’t mean Estonia's legal system would be valid on the person and the transactions conducted with the ID card, i.e. the legal state of an e-resident is similar to that of a foreigner in Estonia.
Kotka said that Estonia has potential to be attractive to entrepreneurs who need an investment account, who would add clients to Estonian companies and capital to the Estonian economy. Future e-residents could be attracted by the comfortable possibility of creating in one day a company and bank account in Estonia, i.e. in the European Union, it is also possible to use the fully digital tax system and highly developed e-banking.
Kotka stressed that the main role of the state regarding e-residency is to develop a platform for the business possibilities.
"In conclusion, the most important thing is to come up with why foreigners would want the e-identity at all. There will be no huge popularity of e-identity in the first years and the number of users will directly depend on whether we create value in cooperation with the private sector for them or not," he said, adding that they have already received good ideas from the private sector.