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Applicants for an e-resident’s digital ID have to pass more thorough background checks

8. April 2021 - 13:54

As of 1 April, an amendment to a regulation of the Minister of the Interior enters into force, pursuant to which future e-residents will be asked for additional data upon applying for a digital ID. The additional data will be requested for the purpose of performing an even more thorough background checks on the applicants for an e-resident’s digital ID and to assess the purposefulness of the application.

An e-resident’s digital ID allows a person to reliably prove their identity in an e-environment and allows other persons or institutions to ascertain that the person really is who he or she claims to be. An e-resident’s digital ID may not be issued to a person who is a threat to public order or national security. “As the e-residency programme grows and evolves, we need to take into account the ever increasingly rapidly changing world, consistently assess risks and plan appropriate diversification measures. Thus, it is ever more important to check the background of the future e-residents even more thoroughly in order to obtain the assurance that every e-resident really is who he or she claims to be, and that his or her activities are lawful and in accordance with the interests of the Estonian state,” Head of the Citizenship and Migration Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior Ruth Annus said. The aim of asking e-residents for additional data upon application for a digital ID is to run more thorough background checks on e-residents and assess the purposefulness of the application E. “The Estonian law enforcement institutions are already doing all they can on the basis of the data available to the state to exclude foreigners who are not law-abiding and may pose a threat to public order or security from the e-residency programme. The aim of asking for additional data is to ensure even more securely that access to Estonia’s e-services is only granted to foreigners who meet the legal requirements established for e-residents and are reliable and whose former behaviour does not give any indication that the person could abuse the benefit to be granted in any way,” Annus added.

The regulation amendment specifies the list of the data that needs to be gathered in the proceedings to issue an e-resident’s digital ID, in order to give the Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB) even more possibilities to ascertain the reliability of persons. “For the purpose of not losing user convenience due to increased data amounts, the PBGB in cooperation with the IT and Development Centre of the Ministry of the Interior have created a new self-service environment for e-residents, The environment has a new design and new functions and the main change is that e-residents have to create a user account which allows them to complete the application in several stages. Applicants can also monitor the processing status of a submitted application,” Chief Expert at the Identity and Status Bureau of the Police and Border Guard Board Eva-Helen Kangro explained.

The new application form allows applicants to better contemplate the plan of using the e-resident’s digital ID and gives the PBGB a better possibility to determine the intentions of foreigners, Kangro added. “For instance, additional information is asked about misdemeanour proceedings initiated against the applicant, prohibitions on business, and personal bank account and bank accounts held by businesses related to the applicant.”

Additional information will be sought from all the persons applying for an e-resident’s digital ID. The amendments do not concern Estonian citizens or people residing in Estonia under a residence permit.