WHAT IS ESTONIA’S E-RESIDENCY AND COULD IT BE HELPFUL FOR SOUTH AFRICAN STARTUP ENTREPRENEURS? 

In May 2021 Estonia opened a pick-up point for its e-Residency ID cards in Johannesburg in May this year.

It is possible for South Africans to apply online for e-Residency ID card, after which it is possible to establish and manage EU-based companies with e-Residency 100% online.

What is e-Residency?

E-Residency is a secure digital identity issued by the Government of Estonia to people from anywhere in the world that provides digital access to the country’s trusted, transparent e-governance services and business environment. 

 

Why become an e-resident? 

  • Receive a unique digital identity to enable secure digital authentication 
  • Securely access all tools needed to launch your global business online  
  • Register an EU-based company within a day from anywhere in the world. An EU-based entity will add additional level of trustworthiness and enables to expand EU-customer base.
  • Digitally sign and encrypt documents and contracts in line with EU standards 
  • Access a range of business banking and payment options whilst accepting payments to Euro bank accounts
  • Declare and pay taxes online 
  • Join a global community of like-minded remote entrepreneurs and startup founders

 

Join Estonia’s Digital Nation 

It’s a simple and quick process to become an e-resident and normally takes 6-8 weeks: 

  1. Gather the necessary documents for your application: government-issued photo ID, passport-style digital photo, motivation statement, Visa/Mastercard 
  2. Apply online in minutes at e-resident.gov.ee and pay the state fee (€100-€120) 
  3. After a review period, you’ll receive an email confirming your kit is ready for pick up
  4. Retrieve your kit from your chosen pickup location
  5. Follow the instructions to set up and use your digital identity
  6. Start taking advantage of all that Estonia’s e-services offer!

 

Does e-Residency allow to move to Europe?

  • E-Residency is not a passport or residence permit. It does not allow travel to Europe.
  • However, e-Resident company owners can apply for startup status for their Estonia-based company in case their company has a highly scalable, tech related business model and their company is less than 10 years old.
  • Founders and employees of Estonia-based startup companies are eligible to relocate to Estonia under Startup Visa programme (https://startupestonia.ee/visa).

Meet the e-residents! 

Vicky Brock is a Scottish entrepreneur, who became an e-resident in 2019. Brock’s business VistalWorks develops tools to protect consumers online from criminals attempting to rob them or to sell them fake and dangerous goods. With the help of e-Residency, Brock registered VistalWorks in Estonia in parallel to her existing UK company to focus on international business development and to expand and localize tools in EU markets and beyond.  

German remote entrepreneur, Christoph Huebner uses e-Residency to run his various businesses on the road. His Estonian company is the perfect vehicle to do so: it serves as a holding company to bill consultancy deals and supports long-term growth. E-Residency also allows Huebner to seamlessly implement remote management capabilities by using Estonia’s e-services and secure signature processes. 


Latest statistics 

  • 84,000 people from over 170 countries have applied since 2014 
  • 18,000 Estonian companies registered online by e-residents 

Find out more and apply for e-Residency at https://e-resident.gov.ee/