Estonia is known for its innovative technological solutions and often named ‘the most advanced digital society in the world’. What does Estonia’s high-tech digital society stand for in real life? Please see below, the numbers speak for themselves:
Digital State Services
Estonia is probably the only country where 99% of the public services are available online 24 hours a day. E-services are only impossible for marriages, divorces and real-estate transactions – you still have to get out of the house for those.
High-tech national ID system
Estonia has the world’s most advanced national identification card system. Physical ID cards are paired with digital signatures that Estonians use to pay taxes, vote, do online banking and access their health care records.
95% of local taxes are filed online and tax return forms are completed online in under 5 minutes. With e-taxation, user information is stored online in a pre-filled form. All an Estonian citizen has to do is review and click send, taking only three minutes on average!
The Internet voting system allows any citizen to vote at their convenience, no matter how far they are from a polling station. As an added benefit, making the process easy and accessible increases voter turnout. Estonia became the first nation to hold legally binding general elections over the Internet for the municipal elections in 2005.
E-health system uses only digital prescriptions – when Estonians get ill, they don’t have to get a paper prescription from their doctor– an electronic prescriptionis sent to a database, immediately accessible to every pharmacy.
National online platform to communicate digitally with your / your kids’ schools. Over one million grades are entered daily.
Another key feature of Estonia’s digital society is e-Residency, a first-of-its-kind initiative that allows individuals to start businesses in the country without living there. Put it simply, e-Residency provides a model for e-residents to conduct their business without borders. They can start an EU company from anywhere in the world completely online, digitally sign and encrypt documents, and run their business at low cost and hassle free. Of course, e-Residency does not provide any right of residency, citizenship, or travel to Estonia or the EU. The program serves as a launching pad for companies looking to do business in the European Union (EU) and benefit from the EU’s single market.
Startups and Digital Businesses
Estonia has one of the highest number of startups per capita in the world, and one reason is the ease of establishing a business. Since 2011, a new company can be registered online in less than 20 minutes. 98% of new companies are entered in the e-Business Register Estonia has one of the most liberal tax systems in the world with zero corporate income tax. The Estonian Startup Visa helps non-EU founders grow their startup in Estonia, one of the world’s best places to start and run a company. It also makes it easy for Estonian startups to hire non-EU talent. For more information, please see Startup Estonia.
Digital Nomad Visa
Estonia is now building on its success with e-Residency to launch a visa for digital nomads; employees who work remotely around the world. Digital nomads are people who work simultaneously in different countries while traveling around the world. This is a popular option in professions such as IT, finance or marketing.
Visit to E-Estonia Briefing centre for special interest groups
Get a full overview of Estonian e-solutions from the e-Estonia Briefing Center. Guests are given an inspirational introduction to what makes the digital society, from electronic ID to data privacy, cyber security, autonomous transport and much more. Learn how the nation of just 1.3 million people has attracted the attention of world leaders, academics and venture capitalists thanks to its high-tech digital society.