Until 31 December 2010 the residence permit data of an alien was entered to an identity document (ID-card) being issued to an alien and as a sticker to his/her travel document. Starting from 1 January 2011, residence card will be issued to the aliens residing in Estonia, who are not citizens of the European Union, instead of ID-card.
What is a residence card and to whom it will be issued?
Residence card is a mandatory identity document that will be issued to aliens applying for the Estonian residence permit, work permit or right of residence or who are residing in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit or a right of residence and who are not citizens of the European Union. Residence card contains its holder’s personal data, data related to residence and work permits, photo and fingerprint images.
What is the difference between the ID-card and residence card?
Functionality of ID cards and residence cards is the same by using electronic services. It is possible to identify the person and to sign digitally also by means of a residence card. The main difference is, that by means of an ID card being issued to the Estonian and EU citizens, it is possible to travel within the European Union, by means of the residence card it is not possible to travel outside Estonia. Another difference is that the residence card contains noncontact chip where holder’s fingerprint images and facial image are stored. The ID card has no noncontact chip.
What will be different by applying for residence and work permits?
By applying for residence and work permits and right of residence, from aliens residing in Estonia and who are not citizens of the EU, fingerprints will be captured and their images will be entered to noncontact chip of the residence permit card. In order to capture fingerprints, an applicant has to apply in person to a Service Office of the Citizenship and Migration Bureau or to a foreign mission of the Republic of Estonia.
What has to be taken into account by capturing fingerprints?
- By applying for residence and work permits and right of residence, from aliens residing in Estonia and who are not citizens of the EU, fingerprints will be captured and their images will be entered to noncontact chip of the residence permit card. In order to capture fingerprints, an applicant has to apply in person to a Service Office of the Citizenship and Migration Bureau or to a foreign mission of the Republic of Estonia.
- What has to be taken into account by capturing fingerprints?
- By applying for biometrical document (travel document or residence card) and residence permit or by applying for right of residence, fingerprints are captured from applicants as of 6 years of age. In order to capture fingerprints, an applicant has to apply in person to the Service Office of the Citizenship and Migration Bureau of a Prefecture or to a foreign mission of the Republic of Estonia. Fingerprints are not captured, if a person is less than 6 years of age, less than 2 years have passed from capturing fingerprints upon applying for a travel document, residence permit/right of residence or residence card, or if permanent incapability of a person to give fingerprints has been established in advance. Incapability of giving fingerprints has to be proved, if necessary.
- By applying for biometric document, fingerprints are captured from two fingers, as a rule from forefingers of both hands. If it is not possible to capture fingerprints of a forefinger (for example, forefinger is missing or bandaged, quality of an image does not meet the requirements), then trait is taken from another finger (except from a little finger as quality of an image taken from a little finger does not meet the requirements). If it is not possible to capture a fingerprint from one hand, then these are captured from two separate fingers of another hand.
- Customer service official will guide the applicant through the process of capturing fingerprints – when to lay a finger to a scanner, whether a finger is located correctly, etc.
Where are the fingerprints taken by applying for residence card stored? Is there a separate database to this end?
Files of fingerprints images are stored to noncontact chip of a residence card, to national register of residence and work permits and to database of identity documents like other data being entered to documents: photo, signature, etc. There is no separate database for fingerprints.
How will the fingerprints be used later? Whether my fingerprints will be compared to those of criminals?
Access to personal data and processing of fingerprint images, public disclosure and delivery to third persons is permitted only in cases and on conditions provided by law. Fingerprint images entered into identity documents may be used in case of need for verifying the document holder’s identity and for detecting counterfeiting of documents only by means of one-to-one comparison.
For how long period a residence card will be valid?
residence card will be valid for up to 5 years, but no longer than residence permit or right of residence granted to a person.
Is it possible to travel by a residence card?
It is not possible to travel outside Estonia with a residence card. In order to travel, a person will need, in addition to the residence card, also a travel document.
Whether my present ID-card will be declared void starting from the New Year?
No, issue of a residence card will not affect validity of the documents issued earlier – all ID cards issued to aliens and residence permit stickers entered to travel documents earlier will be valid until their date of expiry.
How can those persons, who are shut-in or handicapped in motion and cannot leave home, submit an application for extension of residence card and residence permit? They can give fingerprints, but they cannot come to a Service Office.
In case, if the state of health of a person does not enable permanently the person to address in person a Service Office for extension of a residence card or residence permit, then the Police and Border Guard Board can accept the application, verify the identity of the applicant and capture his/her fingerprint images at the place of residence or place of stay of the person in Estonia.
If an alien, who holds an Estonian right of residence, is in a foreign state, then how can he/she apply for a residence card?
As a rule, the application shall be submitted in person in a Service Office of the Citizenship and Migration Bureau, but, in exceptional cases, it is also possible to submit an application in a foreign mission of the Republic of Estonia.