I am outraged. How did NOBODY involved in this see the possibility to make a tiny pun by calling it “e-stonian residency”? ;)
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They’ve said in recent newsletters that that feature (opening a bank account without needing to be in Estonia) is coming soon.
Has anyone here at Lobste.rs done this? If so, how was it? Can you discuss your experiences?
I did it. It was fun. Applied then got my confirmation a few weeks later. Went to the Estonian embassy in Brussels (I was in Brussels anyway, so I chose that embassy at my pick-up location), and picked up my E-resident card, and they give you a little USB e-card reader, too.
There’s a URL to verify that it worked: you go to some website, and without logging in, stick your ID card into the USB reader, which sends it through the browser - (I think, from memory, this was a year ago) - and it confirms your identity.
The USB ID-card-reader turns out to be very standard. I hadn’t used one before, but I was also a regular legal resident of Belgium, which had this ID chip on my resident card. So when it was time to pay my Belgium taxes, I was able to use Estonia’s ID-card-reader on my Belgium ID and it worked great.
I haven’t used it for anything practical yet. I suggested to a landlord in Brussels that I sign our agreement with my ID instead of me needing to print-sign-scan-mail the contract. He just looked at me weird. It was worth a try.
I see it as a fun geeky “why not?” that might have a practical use for you some day, or might not. I’ve never been to Estonia, but have warm-n-fuzzies about it now because of this. There’s something kinda fun about having a legal connection to a place. Expands your sense of self a bit.
P.S. News today - http://www.theverge.com/2016/6/30/12066886/eu-european-union-electronic-signature-laws-eidas - towards being able to use this anywhere in the EU.
I recently visited Estonia for the first time, it was really great. I had totally forgotten about this program!
This gives me an idea for an e-country, capable of granting e-passports, having its own e-money, with its own e-laws, its own e-mbassy.
This country would be way more legitimate than any other country in existence because membership is entirely voluntary. It does not lay claim to 30% of the labour of anybody who is ever born inside it’s earth-bound geological boundary.
This looks really nice. I wish more EU countries would explore paperless administration.
As I started reading their overview, and I could not help but smile:
Our government is developing e-Residency like a start-up.
Does that mean they will soon sell their database?
Or shut the entire thing down with only two weeks of warning… :-)
I think most if not all of them do. However implementations of them can be really unpleasant to use.
I can only speak for Slovenia where you can arrange most things online except few that actually require your physical signature because it is printed on the document in question (driver license, national ID and passport I think). However in general I wouldn’t want to do that as I find their security practices lacking and my engagement too sporadic to warrant perpetual vigilance of bits that can be used to impersonate me. On top of it platform limitations and obnoxious UX makes it often easier to just go and visit the office in question.
As it happens I did do just that this morning to renew my driver license and the whole thing took about 15 minutes. I spend way more time failing to find information I didn’t actually need at the end.
Of course I don’t think these systems have to be unpleasant.
I can predict where the next Panama-Papers-like leak will come from.