Estonia should learn from e-Residency to reconnect with its forgotten citizens

There are approximately 400,000 people globally with undocumented Estonian citizenship. Let’s reach out to them.

Inspired by e-Residency

After developing an advanced digital infrastructure, Estonia launched e-Residency five years ago as a way to reach out to citizens of other countries around the world.

What would an e-Residency for Estonians look like?

Estonian citizens aren’t supposed to apply for e-Residency because they are already entitled to all the benefits of having a digital ID card — although some of our undocumented citizens abroad do. I know because I previously worked at the e-Residency programme and occasionally had to explain to some of these people that they are actually already Estonian citizens (to their initial disbelief).

Wait.. there’s almost half a million more Estonians?

400,000 is a rough estimate, but I think a reasonable one. I don’t know anyone who has tried to calculate this before so I tried it myself. Admittedly, I’m no expert on statistics, but I would love to hear from anyone with a better estimate.

How does Estonia currently interact with them?

Estonian community organisations abroad and Estonian embassies have done an incredible job preserving Estonian culture among the diaspora and supporting exiled Estonians and their descendants around the world.



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Adam Rang

Saunapreneur at Previously Chief Evangelist at Estonia’s e-Residency programme.