Countdown to Lithuania’s e-residency scheme launch

Countdown to Lithuania’s e-residency scheme launch

Similar project operating in Estonia attracted 75 000 foreigners who set up 15 000 companies in six years

Lithuania is putting finishing touches to its first e-residency scheme which will help foreign nationals to do business in the Baltic nation without even setting foot there. The e-residency scheme is scheduled to start operating as early as this month, allowing foreigners to establish companies, open bank accounts, and submit tax declarations online, among other things.

Avoiding bureaucratic hurdles

“The e-residency [scheme] is in its final stage of completion, it will be tested on the Migration Department’s IT systems and will start operating after we make sure it functions properly,” Loreta Tumalavičienė, representative of Lithuania’s Migration Department, told public broadcaster LRT.

The Lithuanian parliament gave the go-ahead to the scheme, passing the respective law in July 2019. Since then, details of its practical implementation had to be sorted out and finalized but the Estonian example made things easier. As with Estonia's scheme, which has been in operation since 2014, when you obtain the status of e-resident of Lithuania you will receive a unique digital ID through which you can access many administrative, public and commercial services.

Estonia shows the way

In the six years since its launch, Estonia’s e-residency scheme has attracted approximately 75 000 foreign nationals who set up almost 15 000 Estonian companies, according to stats provided by ERR News. The Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing restrictions on travel gave the project a decisive boost.

Attractive as it may be, e-residency is not without its critics. Fears have surfaced that the technology can be abused for criminal purposes, as evidenced by the 2019 unmasking of money laundering schemes in the Estonian branches of Danske, Swedbank and SEB banks, points out the public broadcaster.

Among the proponents of the e-residency scheme is the former President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves who wished Lithuania good luck in its endeavour.

"Lithuania, from its government to its stance on human rights and Belarusian liberty to its Fintech sector, is exceptionally cool," tweeted Ilves.  

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