Estonia is a Baltic state located in Northern Europe and it shares its border with Latvia and Russia. It is a home to some of the most renowned web companies in the world like Skype, TransferWise, and Hotmail. This is one of the best places in the world to start an IT business in Europe.
What is a digital nomad visa?
Estonia is the first country worldwide to issue an e-Residency visa. A digital nomad visa is a government-issued digital identity that allows the beneficiary or entrepreneurs to access the transparent digital business environment in the country and even start their own business in the country.
A typical digital nomad can live and work in up to 10 different countries in a year. The term “digital nomad” also referred to as “location-independent workers” uses technology and other smart gadgets to do work remotely from anywhere in the world.
Does the digital nomad need a work visa?
Yes. Digital nomads employed in foreign countries sometimes enjoy visa-free privileges but before you can legally work in a foreign country, you need a work visa.
Launched in early 2019, a digital nomad visa was estimated to bring over 1,400 people to Estonia annually. This visa would allow expat who wants to temporarily live in Estonia to reside in the country for up to 365 days and be entitled to a Schengen visa that is valid for up to 90 days.
E-residency program in Estonia
Estonian e-residency is a new program that issues transnational digital identity to foreigners interested in owning a location-independent business. It is not a visa, residence permit, physical ID or travel document. It also does not grant tax residency, residence, citizenship, or access to Estonia & the European Union.
Estonia is a member state of the Schengen Zone, this means that Estonia residents & citizens can travel with their National Identity Card or apply for a Schengen Visa to enjoy visa-free access to other countries in the Schengen region.
E-Residency only offers digital nomads cheap travel prices, fast internet access, and a safe working environment. E-Residency is a digital ID and cannot be used as a travel document. It does not give the beneficiary automatic access to visit Estonia or the EU.
A non-EU citizen that wants to travel to the EU or Estonia must possess a valid travel document. Estonia has 2 major types of visa:
- Short-term visa (Type C Visa);
- Long-stay visa (Type D visa).
Short-term visa (Type C Visa) allows you to visit any Schengen states of your choice and is valid for just 90 days within a period of 180 days.
Long-stay visa (Type D visa) can be used by students, study, workers or for a family reunion. It allows the beneficiary to gain multiple entries into Estonia and is valid for up to 12 months within a period of 365 days.
Estonia offers visa-free travel to citizens of Japan, Moldova, South Korea. Taiwan, and other countries. Nationals from these countries can visit Estonia without a visa.
Benefits of e-residency for digital nomads
Although e-residency card does not allow you to travel to Estonia without a work visa or proper travel documents, it comes with many benefits. With an e-residency card, you can:
- Start a paperless company with access to the EU market from home;
- You can access EU startup funding;
- You can get investors without excess paperwork or travel;
- Access customers from all over the world;
- Create an EU based company without appointing a local director;
- Start a business for a super low cost.
E-residency application documents
- A scanned copy of your National ID Card;
- A digital passport photograph;
- Business or motivation statement;
- Visa or Mastercard.
How to apply for e-residency
Once you’ve gathered the documents listed above, you will have to visit the e-residency application portal to begin your application. Once you fill all the required forms on the application page, you will need to pay a state fee of €100. Once you do that, you will be sent a confirmation email and your application will be processed.
It takes about 6-8 weeks to process the application. Once your application is approved, you will be invited to collect e-Residency kit [the e-Residency kit contains your digital ID card, pin codes & card reader] and your biometrics will be captured.
Once that is done, verify your ID card and ensure it is active. If you’ve followed the process step by step, you are all set to start your EU based business and receive government support.