E-Residency Explained: “What,Why and How?” by the New York Times

Anyone can apply for e-Residency online, regardless of citizenship or location. Applicants undergo background checks by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board and, if approved, are invited to pick up an e-Residency starter kit containing a digital ID card and PIN codes used for online authentication and digital signatures.

The benefits?

Many expats and digital nomads like e-Residency because they can run their businesses entirely online in English, from anywhere they are. Others appreciate being able to run an E.U. company with lower costs and less hassle. This includes a significant number of entrepreneurs already living in E.U. countries where business costs and barriers can be much higher. Finally, many use e-Residency because it’s trusted and can make doing business globally easier. Thanks to Estonia’s digitized business environment, anyone can look up who owns a company established by an e-resident and how it has paid taxes, a transparency valued by location-independent entrepreneurs. They can access the E.U. market, connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and use e-services unavailable to companies registered locally, such as payment providers.

The success of the e-Residency program rests on its being a national initiative, in which state organizations work closely together to serve e-residents and ensure their compliance with the rules. The private sector, both inside and outside Estonia, adds more value by offering products and services to the growing e-resident market.

“I think being an e-Residency company made us more trustworthy internationally.”

Dante Isil Ozkan, founder of OktoPeople

RECENTLY, there’s been a sharp increase in applications from Asia, particularly India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey. One such entrepreneur is Dante Isil Ozkan, founder of OktoPeople, a user-experience design agency based in Istanbul with an international branch in Tallinn. “The first thing that caught my attention was ‘work from anywhere,’’’ says the 35-year-old, who became an e-resident in 2017. “It’s a location-free business.” As a result, she is now interacting with like-minded entrepreneurs from Estonia, Japan, the U.S. and Turkey, and exchanging ideas regarding future technologies such as AI, blockchain and SAAS business models with a bigger focus on e-commerce. “When I think of a new idea, different perspectives help me think globally,” Isil Ozkan adds.

Convenience and not being tied to a location are benefits that encouraged the Ukrainian Andrii Omelianenko to apply. The CEO of Corporate News Agency — an online database that allows users to quickly review, appraise and assess the risks of any company registered in Ukraine — wanted to expand his business to the E.U. after finding initial success in Ukraine. “I was one of the first Ukrainians who applied for an e-Residency card in Ukraine,” he says. “My expenses were reduced significantly, and I don’t need to fly to Tallinn every time I need to make changes in the register or sign contracts.”

by New York Times, November 2018

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