Ott Vatter is the Managing Director of the first ‘governmental start-up’, e-Residency. He took up the mantle of MD in 2019, having previously held the position of Deputy Director. He was responsible for the scale-up of the e-Residency project through strategic partnerships and product development from 2015 to the present day.
He has spoken at several high-profile events like the World Knowledge Forum in South Korea where he spoke alongside the President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, about how digital initiatives like e-Residency will pave the way for stronger economic and societal relations worldwide.
Back in 2014, Ott Vatter was hired by the Estonian Government to work on a special project, to figure out how to distribute national documents to non-citizens globally using Estonia’s e-government platform. He realized quickly that he needed more time and took on an additional 18 months. Today, 5 years later, he is still employed by the Estonian Government and is the Managing Director for the e-Residency program.
Let’s start out with the not so obvious. Most of you may be thinking, ooh, e-residency in Estonia, I can go and live there and reap all the benefits of residency. Well, it’s not exactly how it works. You can’t actually live in Estonia; however, the program is really forward-thinking and as a matter of fact, has attracted 70,000 e-residents and 11,000 businesses in the 5 years since it started.
Listen to this really interesting podcast to learn what the real benefits of an Estonian e-residency.
Mikkel Thorup and Ott Vatter discuss how, why and where you can apply for an e-residency.
What Can You Expect When You Apply For An Estonian e-Residence
- How long can you expect to take before the process is complete
- Who gets accepted
- Who doesn’t get accepted
- What is the cost to apply
- Do I have to come to Estonia? Or can I do it all online
- What documents do I need to provide
Is This Program For You?
Ott and Mikkel also talk in length about who this program is for. Do you think you qualify? Do you want to qualify?
What About Taxation?
You are a US citizen travelling around the world as a digital nomad. Is getting an Estonian e-residency for you? Every country taxes their citizens differently, how different is Estonia? And of course, it’s not just income tax, what about VAT? Estonia is part of the EU, so do they fall into the same category with VAT? Are you required to pay it? Or can you sidestep the process?
These are all really great questions that Ott Vatter and Mikkel Thorup discuss in this episode of The Expat Money Show.
A ton of research goes into each and every episode here on The Expat Money Show, especially for something like this e-residency program. What I found that was so fascinating was their sense of community. Who would have thought that Digital Nomads would want to reach out to other Digital Nomads inside or outside of Estonia and connect? Find out how and when they do exactly this and most importantly, why they do this.
What Are The Next Steps?
It’s been 5 years since this all began. The Estonian Government is now really good at what you do, considering 70,000 people have registered for this e-residency. They clearly have the citizen’s best interest at heart. What’s next?
The Future for Digital Nomads is ever-changing. The Estonian Government wants to be in the forefront of technology. Listen in to find out what they have in mind to launch next, you will be blown away. If fact, it was so interesting that Mikkel asked if Ott maybe had some ‘inside information’ lol.
How to Contact Ott Vatter
Ott Vatter can be reached at https://e-resident.gov.ee/
And you can find him on Twitter and Instagram.
Final Thoughts From Mikkel
I was really intrigued by this interview I did with Ott Vatter. I had never heard of a country doing e-residency’s like this and I just know that you will be amazed at how far this country, which was once part of the USSR, has come in the way of technology.
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