Estonia to become first country to offer e-residency

Estonia will soon become the first country to offer e-residency, inviting people from around the world to apply to become an “e-Estonian” and gain the opportunity to access government services with a click of a mouse.

Becoming an e-resident provides a person with a digital identity, granting “secure access to Estonia’s digital services.” With the use of a microchip enabled card that can be plugged into a USB reader, e-residents can use any computer to legally sign documents, as well as access services ranging from police, prescriptions, voting ballots, health records, education and more — all through the internet.

E-residency does not grant “legal residency, citizenship or right of entry to Estonia,” the website states, but instead is aimed towards those who have a prior business, student or tourist relationship with the country — though the program states it wishes to provide its services to anybody who wants to use them.

Applications must currently be submitted at a Police and Border Guard office within Estonia, but the country aims to expand that capability to Estonian embassies across the globe by last 2015.