Estonia has long been touted as a digital leader and for a relatively small country, they are certainly making a big impression on the digital global stage.
In January, we published a blog about the Estonian government supporting a bill to establish an innovative digital nomad visa.
This week, the bill allowing for a digital nomad visa to be created was passed in the parliament as well. The bill enables foreign nationals who work in location-independent ways to live in Estonia. Here’s what we know about the bill at the moment.
- The digital nomad visa can be both short-term and long-term.
- Visa applications are subject to general visa conditions.
- Digital nomads can only come to work from Estonia through a mediator who assumes responsibility for their stay. However, this demand has been put on hold till autumn at earliest.
- Digital nomads who come to Estonia on the new visa system must have sufficient funds for staying in the country.
- There are obligations for the employer as the ‘inviting party’ who must register the employment.
Some details about the innovative visa still remain to be specified but we’ll make sure to publish updates as they become available.
Why is Estonia welcoming digital nomads?
It is widely thought that by welcoming digital nomads, freelancers and entrepreneurs, Estonia has positioned itself as one of the digital front-runners in the world. In 2016, Wired magazine said that Estonia was ‘the world’s most digitally advanced society’. The country is known for innovation and it has a vibrant start-up scene. Skype was even invented here, with the software created by Estonians Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, and Jaan Tallinn.
In regard to the digital nomad visa, Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme has said: "Digital nomads bring significant added value to the state by consuming goods and services and thereby having a positive impact on local entrepreneurship".
Killu Vantsi, a legal migration adviser at the Estonian Ministry of the Interior, in an interview with CNBC, said: “What we are doing with the digital nomad visa really reflects what our whole immigration policy is about. We want to attract talented people, entrepreneurs that are beneficial to our society and to our economy.”
e-Residency and digital nomads
In 2014, Estonia took its digital revolution one step further and introduced its innovative e-Residency Program. Once people are accepted onto the program, they are provided with ID cards with a special chip that are issued by the Estonian government. These cards allow them to register and manage their digital business under EU laws.
Becoming an e-resident in Estonia has many benefits. Once they are registered, entrepreneurs can access online services such as company registration and securely sign documents digitally. Since the launch of the program, there has been a steady number of applications and the number of e-residents has reached almost 70,000.
Many people use Xolo’s support to help them through the process of company formation and get their location independent businesses started in a few days.
Here at Xolo we are excited about what the future holds and will be here to support the visa and all the digital nomads that decide to pay us a visit.Freelance