Lithuania launches own national e-residency scheme

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Lithuanian and Estonian flags. Source: Estonian Ministry of Education and Research

Lithuania is to launch an e-residency scheme in January, joining Estonia in providing a service which allows, among other things, foreign nationals to set up companies registered in that country, to open bank accounts, and to declare taxes online.

Loreta Tumalavičienė, of Lithuania's migration department, told Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT's English-language page that: "We hope that the e-residency will start operating in January as scheduled."

"The e-residency [scheme] is in its final stage of completion, it will be tested on the migration department's IT systems and will start operating after we make sure it functions properly," Tumalavičienė added.

As with Estonia's scheme, which recently celebrated its sixth anniversary, Lithuanian e-residency will provide a digital ID which can be used to access a range of administrative, public, and commercial services, LRT reports.

Former President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves wished Lithuania well in its endeavor.

"Lithuania, from its government to its stance of human rights and Belarusian liberty to its Fintech sector, is exceptionally cool," Ilves quote-tweeted early on Saturday.

Estonia's scheme has attracted tens of thousands of e-residents since it launched in December 2014.

In total, e-residents have created almost 15,000 Estonian companies in six years, with the coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying restrictions both acting as a boost for the project, and necessitating ways to offer cardless and contactless e-Residency, the latter currently being worked on.

The Seimas, the Lithuanian parliament, passed the legislative preconditions necessary for a national e-residency scheme in 2019.

The United Arab Emirates also operates an e-residency scheme.

Criticism of e-residency mostly revolves around fears the technology can be misused for criminal purposes, concerns heightened by the 2019 money laundering allegations connected with Estonian branches of Danske, Swedbank and SEB banks, as well as related concerns about the use of crypto currencies for nefarious purposes.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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