E-Estonia

Estonia is an incredible success story grown out of a partnership between a forward-thinking government, a pro-active ICT sector and a switched-on, tech-savvy population. The success of Estonia stems from its role as an insightful and courageous implementer of new ideas and technologies.

Life in the digital society

E-Estonia means casting a ballot from the comfort of your own living room. It means filing your income tax return in just five minutes or signing a legally-binding contract over the Internet from anywhere in the world via your mobile phone. These are just a few of the services that Estonians take advantage of on a regular basis.

Entrepreneurs can register businesses in as little as 20 minutes, check vital company, property and legal records online, and even integrate their own secure services with the ones offered by the state. Interaction among government agencies, and between the government and citizens, has been completely transformed in e-Estonia, quickly making bureaucracy a thing of the past.

Facts about Estonia as an E-state

  • Estonia has by far the most highly-developed ID card system in the world, providing access to a range of online services
  • In 2005, Estonia became the first country in history to make internet voting available in a nationwide election
  • In 2013, Estonia was the first to use digital signature to conclude an international treaty with another country.
  • 99% of bank transfers are performed electronically
  • More than 50% of drivers in Tallinn pay for their parking via mobile phone.
  • 95% of tax returns are filed via the e-Tax Board
  • All schools and government organizations have computers
  • 97% of businesses use computers
  • ¾ of population have a computer at home
  • Entire country is covered with a broadband connection
  • Various 3G and 4G networks available anywhere across the country
  • Free public WiFi areas almost everywhere – Internet is a social right
  • In the 2011 Parliamentary elections, 24.3 % of votes were cast over the internet

Estonian ID Card is regularly used:

  • As a national ID card for legal travel within the EU and Schengen Area
  • As a national health insurance card
  • As proof of identification when logging into bank accounts from a home computer
  • As a customer loyalty card
  • For digital signatures
  • For e-voting
  • For accessing government databases to check one’s medical records, file taxes, see child`s grades/assignments in e-School etc.
  • For picking up e-Prescriptions

Interested in using the perks of Estonian ID card?

From the end of 2014, foreigners will be able to receive a secure Estonian e-identity. This creates a unique opportunity to create a new set of remotely usable global services.

The development of the appropriate infrastructure and the range of services require the coordination and stimulation of the public and private sectors. The aim is to make Estonia great: make sure that at least 10 million people around the world choose to associate with Estonia via e-identities.

Applicants will pay a small fee, probably around €30–50 ($41–68), and provide the same biometric data and documents as Estonian residents. If all is in order, a card will be issued, or its virtual equivalent on a smartphone (held on a special secure module in the SIM card).

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