TECH

Estonia Is First Country In The World To Offer E-Residency

02/12/2014 16:30 GMT | Updated 02/12/2014 16:59 GMT

Estonia has become the first country in the world to offer E-Residency, a way of legitimising your online identity throughout the global internet.

The digital identity card would allow successful applicants to:

  • Start your own business online
  • Join an Estonian bank
  • Sign documents with an EU-approved digital signature
  • Authenticate documents and your own identity online

eresident

Much in the same way that companies like Google and Apple are offering more advanced methods of security for logging into their services, Estonia's government are offering a highly-advanced way of protecting and authenticating your digital identity online.

So what would you get? Well you'd get a Smart-ID card with a microchip that'll contain the certificates needed for either signing documents of authenticating your identity.

Using a card-reader you could then sign emails, log in to your Estonian bank account and even set up your own business all online and all just by using the Smart-ID card.

Estonian residents already have access to these services through their digital identity cards. The cards let them securely access everything from their own medical records to then voting in government elections.

While you won't have those privileges -- or indeed be considered a physical resident of Estonia -- the idea is that by becoming an E-Resident you'll be able to securely control your identity online.

There's a cost however which is firstly it'll cost you €50 to apply, you'll then need to actually visit Estonia to apply. Finally you'll need to revisit in two weeks to pick up your card.

Estonia already has over 10,000 people signed up to the program and is hoping to have millions within a matter of years.