Legalisation of an e-resident status in Lithuania

Legalisation of an e-resident status in Lithuania

At present, there are no legal or technical possibilities for foreign nationals to make use of any administrative, public, or commercial services provided by the Republic of Lithuania electronically or online if they do not possess a document granting them the right to reside in Lithuania. It should be noted that some foreign nationals using services or having certain interests/liabilities in the Republic of Lithuania are entered in different Lithuanian public registers and information systems (such as the Real Estate Register, the Register of Legal Entities, the State Tax Authority, the National Social Security Fund, the National Health Insurance Fund) under different local identification numbers, which results in incomplete or excessive, inaccurate or faulty processing of their data. There being no single registration mechanism for foreign nationals, service providers encounter with challenges for their electronic/online identification.

To legalise the status of a Lithuanian electronic resident (henceforth – e-resident), an amended version of the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on the Legal Status of Aliens (No IX-2206) was approved on 16 July 2019 to take effect on 1 January 2021 (henceforth – Act). Such amendments are expected to enable, among other things, foreign nationals to have quick and easy access to administrative, public, and commercial services.

How is the e-resident status granted?

 

 For the purposes of legalising the e-resident status, a schedule of procedure for granting the Lithuanian e-resident status approved by the Minister of Interior under Order No 1V-1106 parallelly took effect on 1 January 2021 to describe in detail how to apply for e-residency and how such application will be considered,  also how the e-resident status will be granted or revoked, how the means of electronic identification and electronic signature will be issued or changed, and how selection of an external service provider has to be made.

Any foreign national, who is at least 18 years of age, wishing to apply for e-residency will have to fill out an application form through the Lithuanian Migration Information System for submitting it to the Migration Department. If the foreign national is abroad, the application is to be submitted through an external service provider Before such submission, a statutory fee charged for the acceptance of the application and for the issuance of the means of electronic identification and electronic signature are to be paid; if the application is submitted through the external service provider, then a service fee, if any, will be payable in addition. Having filled out the application form, the foreign national will be required to arrive at the Migration Department/the external service provider within 4 months to present biometric data (a facial image and two fingerprints) to confirm his/her identity. Such identity confirmation will allow the issuance of electronic authentication and qualified signature certificates (henceforth – means of e-identification) to the foreign national to make it possible for him/her to receive electronic/online services in the Republic of Lithuania and to sign documents electronically.

Once the biometric data has been presented, registers will be immediately and automatically checked for information as to whether the foreign national is not prohibited from entering the Republic of Lithuania and/or the Schengen Area. A decision will be taken automatically depending on the check-up results. No e-resident status will be granted if (i) an alert for the purposes of refusing entry to the person concerned has been issued by another Schengen state in the second-generation Central Schengen Information System; or (ii) the said person has been entered in the national list of aliens prohibited from entering the Republic of Lithuania.

The e-resident status will be granted for 3 years from the date of entering the foreign national in the Register of Aliens. The e-resident may collect the means of e-identification (an e-resident card, etc.) at the Migration Department or at the external service provider’s place (depending on where the application has been submitted). If the means of e-identification are lost or their validity expires, the foreign national should re-apply for e-residency if he/she wishes to retain the e-resident status, in which case the status will be granted, and the means of e-identification will be issued for another period of 3 years.

It is notable that the e-resident status may be revoked solely on the grounds established by the Act, for example, if such status has been obtained by fraud or by submission of false data or forged/illegally obtained documents of if the foreign national has been convicted of a serious/grave crime or a crime against peace/humanity, or a war crime, or if there are serious reasons to believe that he/she is involved in illegal financial transactions/corrupt activities/money laundering, or is in arrears on taxes owed to the Lithuanian/any other budget (and such amount owed exceeds the amount equal to one basic social benefit), or if he/she fails to discharge obligations to the customs office or to pay penalties if their amount exceeds the amount equal to one basic social benefit.

What are the benefits of the e-resident status?

 

Having acquired the e-resident status, foreign nationals will have access to various administrative, public, and commercial services, which may be expected to facilitate and accelerate new foreign investments and technologies and will allow for proper and qualified confirmation by any foreign national of his/her identity electronically without the necessity of arriving physically to Lithuania; on the other hand, this will equally encourage IT manufacturers to develop other advanced means of e-identification to be used for rapid, easy and safe data sharing.

It should also be noted that effective 1 January 2021, when respective amendments to the Law on Companies took effect, an accumulation account of a forthcoming company may be opened with any credit/electronic service institution. This will certainly contribute to the way, in which foreign nationals may set up businesses in Lithuania, making this process faster and more efficient as it will now be possible to take appropriate actions electronically/online and no physical presence to confirm identity in Lithuania will be necessary.

Quote: Legalisation of the e-resident status will undoubtedly help to create a far more favourable environment for foreign nationals to do business in Lithuania and will contribute to the development of online services.

By Simona Butkutė – a lawyer at Law Firm Glimstedt

Sign up for our newsletter

Glimstedt dokas

Verslo poreikiams pritaikyti, patyrusių advokatų parengti, aukštos kokybės dokumentai greitai ir už prieinamą kainą. Be įsipareigojimų ar registracijų.

Glimstedt Dokas