Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church and the sovereign of the Vatican city state, became an e-resident of Estonia during his visit to the country.
Francis was presented with his own digital ID card by the Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, during pope’s visit to Tallinn on 25 September.
Pope Francis is not the first high-profile world leader to become an e-resident. Previously, the Japanese prime minister, Shinzō Abe, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, have been given the Estonian e-residency.
Estonia opened the e-residency programme for everyone in December 2014. E-residents get a state-issued, secure digital identify that allows digital authentication and the digital signing of documents. There are now almost 38,000 e-residents from 157 countries around the world.
E-residency gives access to Estonia’s digital infrastructure and public e-services so that the approved e-residents can establish and manage an EU company and enjoy the same rights in business as Estonians. It does not provide citizenship, physical residency or tax residency.
Pope Francis is the second pope to ever visit Estonia, the first being John Paul II, who visited Estonia in 1993. The Vatican recognised the Republic of Estonia in 1921 and it never recognised the Soviet occupation of the country.
Cover: Pope Francis presented with his own digital e-residency ID card by Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, in Tallinn (photo by Mattias Tammet/Office of the President). Read also: Ten facts about pope Francis who is visiting Estonia.