EUROPE: Estonia Imposes Additional Background Checks for e-Residency Programme Applicants.

As published on schengenvisainfo.com, Tuesday 6 April, 2021.

The Estonian Ministry of Interior has announced that all e-Residency applicants are now required to provide additional information when applying for a digital identity card. The new changes have been imposed through a new amendment to the regulation, which has been effective since April 1.

In a press release announcing the new changes, the Ministry explained that the purpose of requiring additional details is to carry out a more in-depth background check on the applicants and to evaluate the use of the digital identity card. However, the changes do not affect citizens of Estonia or persons living in the country through a residence permit.

According to the Head of the Citizenship and Migration Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior Ruth Annus, with the further development of the programme in a world that is constantly changing, it is needed to examine the risks and to plan relevant mitigation actions.

“Thus, it is increasingly important to check the background of future e-residents even more thoroughly in order to get certainty whether each e-resident is who he claims to be, whether his activities are legal and in accordance with the interests of the Estonian state,” Annus said.

The e-Resident digital ID provides a real-time identity check and enables institutions in charge to verify the holder’s personal data. Furthermore, the programme allows non-Estonians to access different services in the country, such as processing, payment, banking, taxation, and company formation.

A digital ID cannot be issued to persons who threaten public order or national security, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Additionally, the amendment on the regulation explains that the data of the digital ID holders need to be collected in order for the issuing procedures to get started and to provide the Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB) with further opportunities to verify the applicants.

“The environment has a new design and new functionalities. The main change is that the e-resident must create a user account, thanks to which the application can be completed in several stages. The applicant can also monitor the procedural status of the already submitted application,” Chief Expert of the Identity and Status Bureau of the Police and Border Guard Board Eva-Helen Kangro asserted.

The Government of Estonia had announced through a statement that the e-Residency programme that is being used in Estonia would be expanded in the near future in 20 different countries all over the world.

This decision came after the agreement reached between the Ministry of Interior of Estonia, the Police Border Guard Board, and the BLS International Services Limited.

Previously, the Estonian authorities stated that internationals that break the law or threaten public well-being would not be allowed to be part of Estonia’s e-Residency programme.

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