Estonia becomes the first country to offer remote identification for bank account applications from non-nationals

Hawksmoor Partners
Banking Financial services
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Successful e-residency programme opens a new era for remote banking and cross-border business

TALLINN. Estonia, 12 December: Estonia has become the first jurisdiction to be able to provide bank (checking/current) accounts via remote identification for non-citizens; the service is being made available to existing holders of its e-residency programme.

A real-time video bridge is employed to facilitate identification of applicants, as well as drawing on the information from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. Banks will be able to interview candidates in order to establish their Know Your Clients requirements. It means that the bank clients will no longer need to travel to Estonia to open an account, although the banks will still have the right to require them to do so if necessary.

Germany already provides remote identification bank account opening for its nationals, but Estonia now offers the facility for non-Estonians via its e-residency programme.

“We are already living in a global village, and the take-up of the e-residency programme has reflected this,” Taavi Kotka, the Chief Technology Officer for the Estonian government, said. “Bank accounts were the next natural step in this process, following the enthusiasm we have seen for our e-residency programme this year. Businesses and entrepreneurs are beginning to recognise the convenience of the e-residency platform and the ability to use it to open a bank account was always going to be an importance piece of the offering.”

Uptake of e-residency has been enthusiastic, with Finland, Russia and the United States among the leading domiciles for applicants. Estonia has received over 15,000 applications for e-residency since the programme was launched two years ago. Famous e-residents include the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. The e-residency programme does not entitle individuals to live and work in Estonia or elsewhere in the European Union.



Vahur Orrin – Business Consultant (Nordic and Baltic regions), Hawksmoor Partners T: +44 (0)20 7377 1489 E:

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Press release distributed by PressHalo on behalf of Hawksmoor Partners, on 12th December, 2016.