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2021.01.27 15:55

Lithuania delays e-residency rollout

LRT TV, LRT.lt2021.01.27 15:55

Lithuania was to roll out its e-residency system in January, but the online platform for foreign nationals will not be operational before at least February, the Migration Department has said.

The e-residency scheme, which will allow foreigners to open bank accounts, set up companies and declare taxes online, is facing delays due to technical issues, according to the Migration Department.

“State agencies must adapt their system, private businesses must prepare to service e-residents. Likewise, our main partners, the Centre of Registers and the Information Society Development Committee, must update their platforms,” Evelina Gudzinskaitė, head of the Migration Department, told LRT TV.

The department previously said that e-residency would be launched in January.

Once the system is operational, registering as an e-resident of Lithuania will cost 90 euros.

Read more: Lithuania to accept driving license as ID, easing process to open bank account

In July 2019, the Lithuanian parliament passed a law on establishing an e-residency scheme, similar to the one operating in Estonia since 2014.

The e-resident status provides a digital ID that can be used to access a range of administrative, public, and commercial services.

As of December 2020, the scheme in Estonia attracted some 75,000 people who opened almost 15,000 companies in six years, according to the country's public broadcaster ERR News.

Meanwhile Lithuania seeks to attract businesses looking to relocate from neighbouring countries like Belarus.

Twenty-one Belarusian firms, most of them working in information technologies, have already moved to Lithuania, although many prefer Ukraine or Poland due to more similar languages, according to Lithuania's Economy Minister Aušrinė Armonaitė.

“If we want to compete, we must simplify procedures [for issuing visas]. We've planned some changes and it is very important to communicate with business communities in that country [Belarus], convey that they are welcome here,” she told LRT TV.

Read more: Expats in Lithuania faced with Kafkaesque shuffles in Migration Department corridors