E-Resident's digital ID
E-Residency for citizens of Russia and Belarus
First-time applicants from Russia and Belarus will no longer be able to join the e-residency program.
Order no 1.1-4.1/12 of 11.03.2022 of the Director General restricts the possibility for Russian and Belarusian citizens to apply for an Estonian e-resident’s digital identity card for the first time. This means that first-time applications for an e-resident’s digital identity card will not be accepted. First-time e-resident’s digital identity cards of citizens of the Russian Federation and Belarus awaiting issuance at the pick-up locations shall be revoked.
E-residents of Russian and Belarusian citizenship whose digital identity card is about to expire can reapply for a new digital identity card. Each applicant will be assessed on a case-by-case basis for potential new risks and for his/her past contribution to the Estonian economy and culture. Pursuant to the law, the time limit for processing an application for the issuance of an e-resident’s digital ID is 30 days, which can be extended to examine the facts.
The restrictions are the result of Russian and Belarusian aggression in Ukraine, and the Republic of Estonia is implementing them in line with international sanctions against Russia and Belarus. The aim of the restrictions is to avoid the risk of companies set up through the Estonian e-Residency program being used to finance a military offensive against Ukraine and to circumvent sanctions.
Why was the e-residency program suspended for those Russian and Belarusian citizens who apply for it for the first time?
As part of the financial sanctions imposed by the European Union in connection with the Russian and Belarusian military invasion of Ukraine, the Police and Border Guard Board has suspended the reception and granting the first-time applications for e-residency as well as the issue of e-residents’ digital identity cards to Russian and Belarusian citizens.
Subsection 205 (2) of the Identity Documents Act states that the objective of the issue of an e-resident’s digital identity card is to promote the development of the Estonian economy, science, education or culture by providing access to e-services with the Estonian digital document. Pursuant to clause 206 (3) 2) of the Identity Documents Act, the issue of e-resident’s digital identity card may be refused if the issue of it does not comply with the aforementioned objective. In the current security situation, granting e-residency to first-time applicants from Russia and Belarus is contrary to the objective of e-residency and may have a detrimental effect on the development of the Estonian economy and culture.
How many Russian and Belarusian citizens have e-residency today?
E-resident’s digital identity cards are valid for 5 years. During the period 01.12.2014–07.03.2022, an e-resident’s digital identity card was issued to 6,022 Russian and 1,611 Belarusian citizens. Among them, 4,421 Russian citizens and 902 Belarusian citizens hold a valid e-resident’s digital identity card as of 07.03.2022.
Will the digital identity cards of Russian and Belarusian citizens who already have a valid e-residency be revoked?
Holders of a valid e-resident’s digital identity card among Russian and Belarusian citizens will retain it, but will be subject to enhanced follow-up procedures. If there are doubts about the purpose of the use of e-residency, the Police and Border Guard Board has the right to suspend or revoke the e-residents' digital identity cards.
What happens if the e-resident’s digital identity card of a citizen of Russia or Belarus expires?
E-residents of Russian and Belarusian citizenship whose digital identity card is about to expire can reapply for a review of the issue of a new e-resident digital identity card. When submitting a reapplication, we need to make sure that the person's intentions and activities are fit for purpose.
What happens to those who have applied for an e-resident’s digital identity card and are currently waiting for a decision?
First-time applications for an e-resident’s digital identity card submitted by Russian and Belarusian citizens will not be accepted, which means that the issue of this document will be refused. Each applicant will be duly informed of the decision as established by law.
What will happen to first-time applicants whose e-resident’s digital identity card is ready, but has not yet been collected at the pick-up location?
First-time e-resident’s digital identity cards of citizens of the Russian Federation and Belarus awaiting issue at the pick-up locations shall be revoked. The Police and Border Guard Board will notify each applicant of the decision of revocation in accordance with the requirements established by law.
Can citizens of Russia and Belarus who have ordered their e-resident’s digital identity card to a foreign representation be able to change the pick-up location?
Only repeat applicants, i.e. e-residents who have already held a valid e-resident’s digital identity card, can change the pick-up location. You must pay the state fee, if you wish to change the pick-up location. Read more about the pick-up.
What restrictions does the suspension of e-residency program entail?
Citizens of Russia and Belarus who have not previously held an Estonian e-resident’s digital identity card will no longer be able to obtain it. This means that they will not be able to access the Estonian public and private sector e-services or to set up Estonian companies remotely, which would allow them to operate in the EU market.
How can the state ensure that foreigners who have already been granted e-residency will not take advantage of it?
Every applicant for an e-resident’s digital identity card will be subject to a thorough background check, involving, where appropriate, other state authorities (e.g. the Tax and Customs Board, the Financial Intelligence Unit, Estonian Internal Security Service). A detailed assessment of the purpose of the application is carried out to ensure that each e-resident is who he or she claims to be and that his or her activities are lawful and in the best interests of Estonia. If it becomes clear that an e-resident has taken advantage of the program, his or her e-residency will be revoked.