Lithuania introduces e-residency to boost foreign investment

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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VILNIUS, Lithuania (AFP) — Lithuania's parliament voted yesterday to offer e-residency which will allow entrepreneurs to run businesses in the Baltic state from abroad, in a bid to boost foreign investment.

The legislation will enable foreigners to set up companies in the EU and eurozone country of 2.8 million people starting in 2021, and run them remotely with the ability to declare taxes and sign documents digitally.

The programme does not provide citizenship, tax residency, physical residency or the right to travel to Lithuania.

“We must go along with technological progress, and take into account the ever increasing digitalisation of services,” Interior Minister Eimutis Misiunas told AFP.

He added that officials are assessing the programme's potential security challenges, including those relating to money laundering and terrorism financing.

Lithuania is following the trail blazed by neighbouring Estonia, which became the first country to offer e-residency identification cards to people worldwide in 2014.

Around 54,000 entrepreneurs from 136 countries have since become Estonian e-residents, according to its official e-residency website.

Businesses from Ukraine top the list, followed by ones from Germany, Russia, Turkey and France.

Some 6,000 e-residency driven companies have paid over 15 million euros (US$17 million) in taxes to Estonia.

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