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E-residency digital ID-cards to be issued in South Korea

From December 2017 e-residents from Asia can pick up their digital ID cards from Visa Application Center in Seoul, South Korea. Purpose of the pilot project is to make pickup of the digital ID cards more convenient for e-residents.

Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB) has issued 24 028 e-residents digital ID cards since December 2017. Most applications have come from the citizens of Finland, Russian Federation and Ukraine. There are also e-residents from China, Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries.

“E-residency offers foreign citizens a secure access to Estonian e-services. We work towards making the application process as easy as possible, but we also want to make the issuing of the e-residents digital ID cards more convenient,” said Elmar Vaher, Director General of the PBGB.

PBGB has not previously permitted any foreign partner to hand out Estonian identity documents. E-residency ID cards have only been issued in PBGB service offices or in Estonian foreign services.

“This will be a pilot project, but if e-residents start using our update, then it may be possible that other visa application centers in the world can also hand out our digital ID cards. We are weighing an option that visa application centers can issue documents to the Estonian citizens in the future so that Estonians living around the world can comfortably receive their documents,” said Vaher.

Andres Anvelt, Minister of the Interior said that the pilot project is an important step for e-residency to become a global service. “We must develop the service and make Estonian legal system and economy attractive. South Korean partners were very interested of the co-operation. That gives us a chance to introduce Estonian e-state through e-residency,” said Anvelt.

He added that next year’s development of Automatic Biometric Identification System (ABIS) will be a very important step in helping e-residency to become a global service. “Our identification systems are already secure, but work in that area will never end. We need to be proactive, not reactive, because it might be too late,” said Anvelt.

Ministry of the Interior, Police and Border Guard Board and VFS South Korea Visa Application Center signed an agreement on October 20 which permits South Korean Visa Application Center in Seoul to hand out Estonian e-residency digital ID cards.

Olja Kivistik
Police and Border Guard Board
+372 530 883 44