You’re back! Still reading? You must be bored. First, the news…
I got a lot of questions about this, so hopefully the added info helps: Starting May 1, you can apply for e-Residency online via Estonian Embassies and Consular Offices all over the world:
- Fill in the online form from home (in your pajamas – I LOVE THE INTERNET)
- Wait for the Embassy/Consulate to contact you (STILL in pajamas)
- Go into the Embassy/Consulate and pick up your e-Residency. (if you’re shameless like me, you can still wear pajamas)
To apply this way, see #2 here. Over 1200 people have signed up in Estonia so far, and I’m sure the numbers will climb now that people can apply from their home countries. So even if you don’t have your passport, and thus aren’t able to travel anywhere, you can apply for your e-Residency and conduct your European business totally from home.
Also, the word in the street is that MobileID will be available “soon” to e-Residents. My (wild) guess is this is in some months from now. MobileID let’s you use the same e-Services from your mobile device as your e-Residency card + card reader would allow. This is accomplished via a secure SIM card in your phone, and the same PIN security system. Estonians have already had this system for many years, and I’ve seen it work (very smooth). This way you can have the e-Residency services from your mobile, instead of needing to plug your card into a computer, which is useful while you’re on the go. You should read more about MobileID here. Again, for anyone as lazy as I am, it’s nice to hear things are progressing.
I almost forgot something! While in Estonia this past February, I applied for a LHV Bank account for personal use in Estonia. The process for applying for an account was simple: show up to the bank, show a passport, sign some documents, and … oh you’re from the United States of America? You’ll have to wait…and wait…and wait. This is due various compliance requirements when dealing with the US. I get that, though I caught myself wishing the US had a few less regulations in this space, and a few more regarding lending practices. Mis iganes. Anyway you’ll probably have a turnaround time of 1-5 business days.
Getting a Business Bank account using e-Residency is considerably easier than the process above. First, register a business here. Then you can contact a bank (such as LHV) on behalf of that business and initiate the process of creating a bank account for the business. I haven’t had a chance to try this part yet, but I hope to finally get the chance later this summer. First, I’ll need a viable business plan! So I need to give up a hobby or two. If anyone out there tries this before me, I would LOVE to hear how it went for you. In fact, you’re welcome to publish your blog post here (send me the text and images, I’ll get your post online with your name)!
For my fellow Americans reading this, I hope your taxes are done! Mine took ~6 hours of prep/file time total. In E-stonia, it’s three clicks – slightly jealous…