E-residency background checks to become more thorough

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The e-residency programme turned six on December 1, 2020. Source: E-residency.

Future Estonian e-residents will need to provide additional information when applying for a digital ID, pursuant to an order by the minister of the interior stepping into effect from April.

Additional information will be sought from e-residents applying for the digital ID in order to render background checks more thorough and assess the purposefulness of the application.

A digital ID enables e-residents to reliably identify themselves online. The ID is not issued to a person who represents a threat to public order of national security.

"Estonian law enforcement authorities are already doing everything in their power on the basis of the data available to the state to exclude from the e-residency program those foreign nationals who do not abide by the law and may pose a threat to public order or security," Ruth Annus, head of the citizenship and migration policy department of the Ministry of the Interior, said. 

"Additional information is sought for the purpose of ensuring with even greater certainty that access to Estonia's e-services is only granted to those foreign nationals who meet the e-residency conditions provided by the law, who are reliable and whose conduct so far does not indicate that they might abuse this benefit in any way," she added.

In order to maintain user friendliness regardless of the increased amount of information requested from applicants, the Police and Border Guard Board in cooperation with the IT and development center of the Ministry of the Interior have created a new self-service environment for e-residents at https://eresident.politsei.ee.

The new environment enables users to create an account and fill in their application in several stages as well as monitor the status of their application, chief expert at the Identity and Status Bureau of the Police and Border Guard Board Eva-Helen Kangro said.

New data sought from applicants includes information about misdemeanor proceedings initiated against the applicant, prohibition on business as well as bank accounts owned by the applicant or their businesses, Kangro added.

Additional information is sought from all people applying for an e-resident's digital ID. The changes do not concern citizens of Estonia or people residing in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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