I was already writing a post about how easy it was to set up our lives here, in Tallinn, and then my US friend from London sent over this article and commented how interesting she found it. The New Yorker writes how Estonia’s economy is bound to tech – its government is digital, and most services in the country either are or can be provided electronically. People vote online; the ID-card securely stores each Estonian’s personal information, including health, tax, and police records; one can even establish residency and begin paying taxes in the country digitally—effectively immigrating online.
I’m aware how efficient and effective e-Estonia is but to actually experience it was an honour and privilege. Like the article says, we pretty much immigrated online – we were able to fill out forms online, digitally sign them, not having to go into any office and saving valuable time and nerves. The only time we had to fill out any paperwork in person was to register our daughter as a resident here but with the recent COVID-19 lockdown registering births is now also done online to save people from unnecessary human contact.
Here’s what we were able to do online with my ID-card and digital signature:
- Kindergarten applications
- Child benefit application
- Registering with a GP
- Registering our cat on the national database – he’s now a resident too!
Thanks to all the e-solutions (i-Voting, e-Tax Board, e-Business, e-Banking, e-Ticket, e-School, University via internet) communication with the state is fast and convenient – we can access 99% of government services online. This could mean that the disruption to our everyday lives during this pandemic is perhaps less pronounced compared to other countries and there might be fewer opportunities for the disease to spread. Such efficiency is a luxury and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Here are a few more articles that I came across when reading about e-Estonia during Covid-19: