The tribe of digital nomads is growing fast and becoming big worldwide. If you are one of them, you probably would have heard of or traveled in Estonia. Digital nomads are loving this country like never before, and the feeling seems to be mutual. And it’s not just the charismatic, Gothic neighbourhoods of Tallinn, or the picturesque coast comprising stunning beaches along the Baltic.
It’s the recently launched E-residency program offered by the Republic of Estonia to the world, which is gaining more attention day by day.
In this post, we’ll let you know what this E-residency is all about, and what it means to you as a digital nomad.
First of all, Why Estonia?
Estonia, the little Baltic country bordering Latvia and Russia, is surprisingly not on the list of many travelers bound for Europe. If you are a digital nomad though, you might want to consider this beautiful country for reasons more than one.
To begin with, Estonia, with a small population of over 1.3 million, is one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world. The country is known for its exemplary digital infrastructure, where almost everything is online – people pay taxes online, there is a sophisticated e-governance model where people vote online during general elections and do banking without visiting the banks.
They have a blockchain-based system of medical records, which enables people to access their entire medical records online using their digital identities. Estonia also ranks first in the International Tax Competitiveness Index worldwide.
The little country of Estonia has transformed itself to become a Nordic powerhouse today and is Europe’s Silicon Valley – thanks to the enormous developments in the technology sectors and the growth of companies, especially the startup community, which is not short of success stories. The video calling giant corporation Skype, and Transferwise, a company that has made online financial transactions easier, were born here.
In fact, all these implementations are a result of E-Estonia, an initiative by the Estonian government that began 20 years ago to create a digital revolution in the country to inculcate e-solutions as a way of life, which has led Estonia towards becoming the first digital country in the world.
In case you need to know more about being a digital nomad in Estonia, these posts might help you figure out.
So, What is E-residency?
E-Residency is a befitting extension of all these developments, the next initiative to offer this new digital society to the entire world.
As stated on the official website, ‘e-Residency is a government-issued digital identity that empowers entrepreneurs around the world to set up and run a location-independent business.’
Estonia is the first country to launch E-Residency program in the world. It lets you set up a business within the EU union, which offers a great deal of flexibility, credibility, and recognition. You can digitally sign contracts and other documents, access business banking, and online payment providers to accept payments from customers and clients worldwide.
E-Residency offers the freedom to easily start and run a global business in a trusted EU environment. E-residents are provided by a digital id that can be used to run businesses end-to-end without any hassles.
At the time of publishing this article, the program has over 27,000 E-residents registered from about 143 countries, with the application rate per week exceeding the birth rate in Estonia! And its digital residency numbers are expected to grow tenfold by 2020, surpassing the population of Estonia.
How does it benefit me as a digital nomad?
So as a digital nomad, if you are wondering how you can leverage this program, probably these things will serve as some pointers for you.
Of the number of people that have signed up to be E-residents of Estonia so far, 40% of them are digital nomads, which speaks a lot for the location-independent individuals seeking to establish a hassle-free lifestyle.
The best examples of companies run by digital nomads for the digital nomad community are Jobbatical and Teleport, two recent tech startups. Both are based in Estonia and are part of exquisite online sites catering to digital nomads, who work remotely and move around different regions of the world every few months or years.
Further, to consider the case of an individual, imagine that you wish to start a business online or register a company with a few people. Or simply, you could use it for “presence” like opening a bank account for example.
What are the additional advantages of doing these through E-residency?
First of all, you don’t have to travel to Estonia to register or set up or deal with the bureaucracy for documents. Everything can be done within a day online.
Coming to the taxes – E-residency doesn’t entitle you to tax residency, nor will it let you avoid paying taxes. But, through this program, you’ll have better control over what you pay and how much you save in the process.
For example, if you are an entrepreneur running a registered business that makes a profit of 10,000 USD per year, you’ll pay 20% of this as a corporate tax, if you wish to withdraw the money. But if you wish to invest back or anywhere through your corporate investment account, you’ll get the entire sum through the E-residency, and the best part is, all of this can be done online in a few clicks and digital signatures.
If you wish to know from the horse’s mouth, Evelyn Liivamägi, Head of the Tax Department at the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB) and a part of the E-residency movement, explains how e-residents pay taxes, which you can read here.
Also, these articles elucidate the E-residency initiative in Estonia.
Be a part of this digital society and shape your life the way you dream! Go ahead and apply for E-Residency here.
Already an e-Resident of Estonia? Let us know how it benefits you in the comments. We would love to hear your story!