How I became an Estonian e-Resident

My previous article on the topic summarizes what e-Residency is and what benefits convinced me to acquire it.

As mentioned, the first step to run a bureaucracy-free, location-independent company via the e-Residency programme is to become an e-resident yourself. This is an honest account of the process detailing how I became one, with both the positive and negative parts (if any).

Step 1: Submitting the online application

I needed a copy of my passport, a photo, a reason for applying and a credit card. Upon submission, you pay 100 EUR and have to choose a pick up location. Given that Estonia is a small country with embassies in only 32 countries, and that I reside in Bali, which is not a capital city nor anywhere close to Europe, my closest pick-up option was Singapore. I submitted my application online on Aug 23rd, and received a notification that my application had been received right away.

Total timeline so far: 1 day

Step 2: Background checks (done by the Estonian Police & Border Guard Board) 

On Aug 29th, I received a notification that my application had been accepted for processing and that I would be notified of the decision within 30 days. In my case, it was much faster—less than a week later, on Sept 6th I had been granted e-Resident status and was notified that my digital ID card and USB card reader would be sent from the diplomatic post to the pick-up location within 2-5 weeks.

Total timeline so far: 15 days

Step 3: Confirmation of delivery

On October 3rd, I received a notification that I was invited to pick up the digital identity card (e-resident card) in Singapore on either the 19th or 20th of November. Estonia doesn’t have an embassy in Singapore, but the consul from Beijing makes occasional visits to Singapore. I can imagine that in Europe, for example, things would go faster and have fewer layers of complexity.

Total timeline so far: 1 month and 9 days

Step 4: Picking up & activating the digital ID card

IMG 20191121 225621 973 1
My e-Residency starter kit

On November 20th, I picked up my ID card, USB card reader and had my fingerprints taken at the Honorary Consulate of Estonia in Singapore. This was done in a group of 5, while listening to a presentation that included a few statistics, resources and more.

As an interesting stat, every month, Estonia is saving a stack of paper equal in height with the Eiffel Tower (300m) by enabling its citizens to run most paperwork online! The only things Estonians can’t do online (yet) are: get married, get divorced and buy real estate. Everything else (voting, opening & running companies, paying taxes, etc) can be done digitally and paper-free.

We were told the fingerprints will take 24h to be registered in Estonia, and on Nov 21st I received a notification that my digital ID had been activated and the document was ready for digital use.

Total timeline so far: 2 months and 22 days

I am now ready to open an e-company, which theoretically takes 14 hours once you have decided on the incorporation details and have all the documents ready. We plan to do that some time in mid-December once my business partner picks up his e-Residency card, too.

I will report back in my next post.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment, or ping me at


Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the e-Residency program and will not be rewarded in any way if one of our blog readers becomes an e-Resident. What I am: a huge fan of location independence, sustainability & progressive governments, tired of bureaucracy and definitely curious to see what the future of business looks like. 🙂


Managing Partner at Livit, #futureofwork enthusiast
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