The Republic of Estonia, in conjunction with e-Residency, the internationally-renowned Estonian digital ID programme, has finally launched Estonia’s Digital Nomad Visa (DNV). Authorised by the Estonian parliament on June 3rd 2020, the visa will be available to citizens worldwide who want to take advantage of staying in Estonia for 12 months with the possibility to extend in order to support their working and living arrangements across the world.
Given that there are almost 5 million digital nomads in the world currently, with predictions suggesting one billion digital nomads globally by 2035, the digital nomad visa is hugely relevant for the current climate, with remote working and borderless working becoming the norm in light of COVID-19.
Siim Sikkut, the CIO of Estonian Government, said: “If the global pandemic has taught society anything about the nature of work, it is that people value their work-life balance and desire freedom and security above all else. Estonia is offering the first Digital Nomad Visa in the EU to cater for the evolving needs of workers and freelancers, who are increasingly opting to become location independent in this current economic environment. We hope to encourage more businesses to provide their employees the option of working remotely, and to have Estonia, the most digitally-advanced nation in Europe, on their radar.”
The digital nomad visa will enable individuals to stay in Estonia for up to a year, allowing them the freedom to work for their employer or relocated as a freelancer or a company founder without applying for a residence permit. Initially the visa will be available for digital nomads who can demonstrate a monthly income over £3000 (gross) for the last six months, and applying for one is very simple to do online. Individuals can get a digital nomad visa from Estonia for £72.85, for a Type C short stay visa, and £91.06 for a Type D long stay visa. “The main aim of Digital Nomad Visa programme is to promote Estonia as a digital society and attract innovative and creative people all around the world,” said Ruth Annus, the Head of Citizenship and Migration Policy Department in the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Estonia.
As long-standing supporters of borderless working, the Estonian government has generated hundreds of millions in revenue for the small Baltic nation by enabling businesses to be established virtually with e-Residency. Now, this latest development will take Estonia’s business model to the next level and acts as a channel for maintaining positive relations with the UK following its departure from the European Union.
Ott Vatter, the Managing Director of e-Residency, said: “E-Residency has already accumulated a total turnover exceeding ₤1.2 billion, and is still growing. Our expertise and experience in giving individuals and businesses an advantage by becoming Estonian digital residents and companies means we know what entrepreneurs, workers and businesspeople want. This knowledge was instrumental in the creation of the digital nomad visa, and we hope to give people greater freedom of choice in general by offering the visa."
The e-Residency programme was founded in 2014 and has, since then, reached over 70,000 digital entrepreneurs. The programme is built on Estonia’s 20+ years’ of experience to provide digital public services for Estonian citizens.
Everyone can apply for this transnational government-issued digital identity and benefit from the e-Residency platform, which is built on inclusion, legitimacy and transparency. E-Residency allows access to Estonia’s public e-services and a variety of e-services provided by international service providers, all part of Estonia’s X-Road, which links all public services together and enables each service to work in harmony. All outgoing data is digitally signed and encrypted, and all incoming data is authenticated and logged, meaning that e-Residents’ and other users of the X-Road’s data is completely secure.This provides the freedom to easily start and run a global EU company fully online from anywhere in the world.
E-residents can: open a company within a day and run the company remotely, apply for a business banking account and credit card, conduct e-banking, use international payment service providers, declare taxes, and sign documents digitally. E-Residency does not provide citizenship, tax residency, physical residency or the right to travel to Estonia or EU.