Estonia to start issuing identification to e-residents in South Korea

The Police and Border Guard (PPA) will start issuing digital identification to e-residents in South Korea in December this year. An agreement to the effect was signed with a visa application in Seoul today Friday.

E-residents in Asia will be able to receive their digital identification at a visa center located in the South Korean capital of Seoul. The aim of the pilot project is to make receiving the e-resident’s digital ID as comfortable as possible for people in Asia, PPA said - by Editor Dario Cavegn,

Previously the police haven’t permitted any foreign partner to hand out Estonian identity documents. E-residency ID cards have only been issued in service offices of the Police and Border Guard, or in Estonian foreign representations.

“E-residency offers foreign citizens secure access to Estonian e-services. We work to make the application process as easy as possible, but we also want to make the issuing of the e-resident’s digital ID cards more convenient,” Elmar Vaher, director general of the Police and Border Guard, said on Friday.

“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 the option to allow visa application centers to issue documents to Estonian citizens in the future, so that Estonians living around the world can comfortably receive their documents,” Vaher said.

Interior Minister Andres Anvelt (SDE) said that the pilot project is an important step for the e-residency program to become a global service. “We need to develop the service and make the Estonian legal system and economy attractive. Our South Korean partners were very interested in this cooperation. That gives us a chance to introduce the Estonian e-state through e-residency,” Anvelt said.

He added that next year’s development of an Automatic Biometric Identification System (ABIS) will also be an important step in helping e-residency 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,” the minister said.

The Police and Border Guard has so far issued 24,028 e-resident’s digital ID cards since December 2014. Most applications have come from citizens of Finland, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine. There are also e-residents from China, Japan, South Korea, and other Asian countries.

The Interior Ministry, the Police and Border Guard, and the VFS South Korea Visa Application Center signed an agreement on Oct. 20 that will permit the visa application center in Seoul to hand out e-resident’s digital ID cards.

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