E-Resident's digital ID
Frequently asked questions
If you did not find an answer to your question, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also note that the PBGB deals with matters regarding the issuing of e resident’s digital IDs.
Crossing the border and opening a bank account in Estonia
Does having an e-resident’s digital ID make it easier to get a visa (including a digital nomad’s visa) and vice versa?
No, it does not. Applying for an e-resident’s digital ID and applying for a visa are not interrelated; rather, the two are separate processes with separate requirements and regulated by separate laws. Having an e-resident’s digital ID does not constitute a basis for being granted a visa, and vice versa.
Can I travel to the European Union and Estonia using an e resident’s digital ID?
No, you cannot. An e-resident’s digital ID is solely intended for electronic use.
Does having an e resident’s digital ID ensure that I can start a company and open a bank account?
No, it does not. While an e-resident’s digital ID makes it possible to start a company without travelling to Estonia and to manage the company, for the most part, remotely, starting a company is still a separate procedure, and merely having been granted an e-resident’s digital ID does not mean that a company has been automatically set up.
Opening a bank account is not related to being issued an e-resident’s digital ID either. To open a bank account, you need to submit a separate application to the bank, and before opening the account, the bank conducts its own checks regarding the applicant in conformity with the main principle and obligation of banking: know your client. The criteria and requirements that banks apply to opening bank accounts may be very different from the bases for granting an e-resident’s digital ID.
Application and processing
On what basis am I being asked to provide information?
The data and evidence to be submitted when applying are listed in sections 6, 7, 12, 24 and 241 of the relevant Regulation of the Estonian Minister of the Interior (in estonian).
The content of the above mentioned sections is translated as follows:
- § 6 (5): a copy of the personal data page of the applicant’s travel document, or in the absence of a travel document, a copy of the personal data page of another identity document issued by the applicant’s country of citizenship or residence
- § 7: a photo of your face meeting the requirements for a document photo
- § 12 (1): in accordance with subsection 207 (1) of the Identity Documents Act, a written explanation or other evidence regarding the intent to use the digital identity card and regarding the facts constituting the bases for its use
- § 24 (1) 1): personal data (first names, last name, Estonian personal identification code or date of birth, place of birth, gender)
- § 24 (1) 2): citizenship
- § 24 (1) 3): contact details (street, building, apartment, city or village, municipality, county, postal code, country, phone number, e-mail address)
- § 24 (1) 4): place of issue of document
- § 24 (1) 5): reason for applying
- § 24 (5): when applying for an identity document, a foreign national shall also provide the data of a travel document issued by a foreign state (type of travel document, number, issuing authority, date of issue and date of expiry)
- § 241 1): previous and other names, including father’s name
- § 241 2): previous citizenships
- § 241 3): social media accounts
- § 241 4): Estonian and foreign companies connected to the applicant
- § 241 5): curriculum vitae
- § 241 6): information on a criminal record
- § 241 7): information on prohibitions on business
The aim of processing the data referred to above is to come to an informed decision on whether to issue an e-resident’s digital ID and to identify the applicant. As stipulated in subsection 2012 (2) of the Identity Documents Act, for the prevention of improper use of a digital identity card and for the protection of the rights and interests of the holder of the document, the issuer of the document may require an e-resident to personally appear at the location of the issuer of the document or at an Estonian embassy for the submission of the application.
Why am I being asked to provide additional information and am I obligated to provide that information?
The data and evidence collected during processing applications for an e-resident’s digital ID are necessary for assessing the purposefulness of the application and the facts forming the basis for granting / refusing to issue the digital document (Identity Documents Act, § 205 (2) and § 206).
According to subsection 38 (1) of the Administrative Procedure Act, in administrative proceedings, an administrative authority has the right to require participants in proceedings and other persons to provide evidence and information which is known to them and on the basis of which the administrative authority establishes the facts relevant for the adjudication of the matter. According to subsection (3) of the same section, participants in proceedings are required to provide the information and evidence in question.
If you fail to provide the requested additional information, the PBGB has the right to dismiss your application and terminate the proceedings.
What are the principles that the PBGB relies on when processing my data and is it in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?
My payment failed in the online application environment. What should I do?
There are several reasons why your payment might fail:
- your bank does not authorise the payment
- the card you are using for the payment does not support 3D Secure payments
- you have made several payment attempts from the same IP address at short intervals, and the payment service provider has temporarily blocked you
- your Internet connection is not sufficient and/or your browser settings are blocking the payment
- the service of the payment service provider is experiencing difficulties.
In the first two cases, please contact your bank. Alternatively, you may ask someone else to make the payment for you. In the rest of the cases, please wait a while and try again. You might also try deleting your browser’s search history and cookies.
If the payment still fails, please contact email@example.com and be sure to provide at least the following information in your e mail:
- the browser that you used
- the operation system that you used
- when and how many times in a row you attempted to make the payment.
Which cards can I use for the payment?
The application environment accepts VISA and Mastercard credit cards and debit cards. If you are using a debit card, please make sure that online payments are enabled. The card must also support 3D Secure payments. Please direct any questions regarding your bankcard to your bank.
If you do not have an acceptable card, you may ask someone else to make the payment for you. In that case, the e-mail address provided when making the payment should be the applicant’s address in order to make it easier to identify the payment later.
Will I receive a payment confirmation?
If your payment has been successful and you have submitted your application in the online application environment, you will receive two notifications to the e-mail address provided in your application (from the sender firstname.lastname@example.org):
- a notification on having successfully submitted the application and on the next steps
- payment confirmation.
Therefore, please check your inbox (including the junk mail folder) to see whether you have received the notifications. If you are unable to find the payment confirmation or if you have deleted it by accident, please e mail email@example.com.
How long will it take to process my application and when can I collect my document?
The decision to grant or refuse to issue an e resident’s digital ID is made within 30 days from the submission of the application. If there is a need to clarify any facts, the processing term may also be extended. In order to avoid having to extend the processing term, please make sure that you have submitted, together with your application, all required information, all necessary documents and an appropriate document photograph. Please check your e-mail as well: while processing your application, we will be sending automatic notifications to the e-mail address provided in your application, and we will contact you if your application has any deficiencies or you need to provide additional information.
If the application is approved, it will take an average of 2–5 weeks for your document to reach the issuing location (depending on the specific location).
I wish to cancel the application that I have submitted. How can I do this?
An application can be withdrawn as long as the procedural decision is pending.
To cancel your application, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org containing at least the following information:
- first and last name (as indicated in your travel document)
- date of birth
Where possible, please provide the number of your application for an e-resident’s digital ID (if you know the number).
I was notified that my application has been approved. When can I collect my document?
It will take an average of 2–5 weeks (from approval) for your document to reach the issuing location, depending on the specific location. Once your document has reached the destination, our embassy will contact you. If your document is to be issued at a PBGB service office located in Estonia, you will receive an automatic notification when the document has arrived.
If you have not been contacted within 2–5 weeks, please contact the issuing location that you selected for collecting your document.
Where can I collect my e-resident’s digital ID?
You can collect your e-resident’s digital ID at Estonian embassies and the major PBGB service offices located in Estonia.
Please keep in mind that only the following service offices are issuing e-resident’s digital IDs:
- Tallinn Tammsaare
- Tallinn Pinna
- Tallinn Kolde
The online application environment features a list of all available issuing locations, and you need to select one when submitting your application.
Can I also collect my e resident’s digital ID from an honorary consul?
No, you cannot. Honorary consuls issue documents to Estonian nationals only. Exceptions are also excluded for technical reasons: honorary consuls do not have the technical capacity for fingerprinting, while fingerprinting is a compulsory part of issuing an e-resident’s digital ID.
How can I change the issuing location of my document?
If your document is ready to be issued, you need to contact your initial issuing location to be able to change the location.
If your application is still being processed, please e mail email@example.com to change the issuing location. Please be sure to provide the following information in your e mail: your first and last name (as indicated in your travel document), your date of birth and the issuing location where you wish to collect your document. Please also attach the state fee payment confirmation to your e-mail. When changing the issuing location from a service office to a an Estonian embassy, you need to pay a state fee of 30 euros. When changing the issuing location from an Estonian embassy to a service office, you need to pay a state fee of 10 euros (and the additional 20 euros paid previously when submitting your application will not be returned).
Can my document be kept at the issuing location for longer than 6 months?
If there is good reason, it is usually possible to agree on keeping the document at the issuing location for longer than 6 months. For this, please contact the issuing location that you selected for collecting your document. Please explain the need for an extension and arrange for collecting your document at a suitable time.
Can anyone else collect my document for me?
No, they cannot. According to section 2012 of the Identity Documents Act, an applicant for an e resident’s digital ID must always collect the document in person, including when renewing the document. You cannot have your document delivered to your home and you cannot authorise anyone to collect it. At the time of issuing, you will also be fingerprinted.
Using the document and relevant problems
For how long will my e resident’s digital ID be valid?
E-resident’s digital IDs issued from 1 May 2018 are valid for 5 years. Documents issued before that date are valid for 3 years. The term of validity of your document (including its certificates) is indicated on your document, and you can also check it using the ID software and in the official information portal of Estonia.
During the period from 1 November 2018 to 30 April 2019, it was possible to remotely extend the validity of documents initially valid for 3 years for another two years. If you extended the validity of your document, you need to check its validity using the ID software or in the official information portal of Estonia: in that case, the card features the former term of validity that no longer applies after the extension and does not match the term of validity of the document certificates.
My e-resident’s digital ID expires soon. Can its validity be extended?
It is not possible to extend the validity of a digital ID. If you wish to keep using an e resident’s digital ID, you need to apply for a new document, which you can do in the online application environment here: https://apply.gov.ee/. The application process is the same as when you initially applied for the document; this includes the requirement to re submit all documents.
How can I check whether my e-resident’s digital ID is valid?
The term of validity of your document is indicated on your document. You can check the validity of the certificates contained in the document chip (for authentication and signature purposes) using the ID software. Usually, the term of validity of certificates matches the term of validity indicated on the document, but there can be situations where the physical document remains valid, while its certificates have been suspended or revoked. If you used the opportunity to extend the validity of your document, the reverse situation may occur, where the validity indicated on the document has already expired, while the certificates are still valid.
I have lost my PINs. What should I do?
To be issued new PINs, please go to nearest Estonian embassy or a PBGB service office. If you want to collect the new PINs at an embassy, you need to set up an appointment with the embassy in question beforehand.
The state fee for replacing PINs at an Estonian service office is 5 euros and 20 euros if the PINs are replaced at an embassy, and the fee is to be paid on the spot.
I have received my document, but it is not valid. What has gone wrong?
An e-resident’s digital ID is activated on the day following its collection. If you received the document today, please wait until tomorrow and try again.
If it has been more than a day since you received the document and it remains invalid, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
My card is not working. Will I get a new one?
In case of technical issues, please contact the ID helpline first. They will help you identify the nature of the issue and advise you on the next steps. If the document turns out to be defective, the PBGB will replace it under warranty.
My card reader is not working. What should I do?
First, you should make sure whether the issue really stems from the card reader. To do that, try using the card with another reader if possible. You should also make sure that the use of the card is not restricted by your computer or browser. For further instructions, please contact the ID helpline , who will assist you in identifying the issue.
If you are certain that the issue stems from your card reader, the quickest solution would be to get a new card reader. For more information on supported card readers, see here. Card readers can also be replaced under warranty, but that is lengthy and time consuming. First, the reader must undergo expert examination and delivery of the new reader will also take time. If you wish to be given a new reader under warranty, please e mail email@example.com.
My card reader has damaged the card chip. What should I do?
If you are certain that a defective card reader is the reason why the chip of your digital ID is damaged and if your digital ID is not functioning, please send photos of both the damaged card and card reader to firstname.lastname@example.org. The PBGB will then contact you.
My card contains incorrect data (e.g. name or date of birth). Will I get a new one?
If you have already received your card and you discover the mistake afterwards, please e mail email@example.com. Please be sure to provide your first and last name (as indicated in your travel document) and your date of birth in the e-mail. Please also attach a copy of your e resident’s digital ID card. If we verify that incorrect data have been entered on the card by mistake, it will be replaced under warranty.
My data (e.g. name, citizenship) have changed. Should I apply for a new document?
According to subsection 14 (1) of the Identity Documents Act, the holder of a document is required to notify the government authority that issued the document of any change in the data entered in the document (including changes in the name) within one month after the change is effected. The document will be revoked and you need to apply for a new document. Using a document with outdated data is not in conformity with the law.
If there have been any changes to the data not entered in the document (e.g. citizenship, contact details, etc.), please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org. While it is not necessary to apply for a new document, the PBGB will record the changes in its databases. For example, updating contact details is necessary so that important notifications by the state (e.g. regarding the term of validity of your document) could reach you.
On what basis is my eligibility for e-residency assessed?
We welcome you as an e-resident if you respect the law, are reliable and have good intentions.
When processing your application for an e-resident’s digital ID, we will assess whether you have a clear understanding of the reason you are applying for the document and how you are planning to use it. The purpose of your e resident’s digital ID must be in conformity with the law, i.e. we expect you to use your e resident’s digital ID in a way that somehow contributes to the development of Estonian economy, education, science or culture.
If you have not explained the purpose of applying with sufficient detail in your application, PBGB case officers may ask you additional clarifying questions in the course of proceedings. The PBGB values greatly the fact applicants for e‑residency are willing to cooperate and prove their motives for using the e resident’s digital ID where necessary.
In addition to assessing the purpose of the applicant, we will also be conducting a background check and assessing the applicant’s compliance with the law, their prior and current criminal record and whether there are any circumstances giving rise to denying a visa or temporary residence permit or to imposing an entry ban.
Please note that if you are applying for an e-resident’s digital ID for an economic activity and there is a basis for prohibition on economic activities, you will not be eligible for an e-resident’s digital ID.
As an important prerequisite for granting an e-resident’s digital ID, the applicant needs to be clearly identified and the PBGB should have no reason to doubt their true identity. Where needed, the PBGB will conduct a video interview with you. If your application is approved, you need to appear in person at the issuing location of your e-resident’s digital ID, where your identity is also directly verified.
How can I give up e-residency?
If you have already received your document and you wish to give up e-residency, you need to submit to the PBGB a digitally signed request containing the reasons for giving up e residency as well as your personal data (first and last name and personal identification code).
If you have not collected your document yet, it would be advisable not to collect it if you wish to give up e residency. The document is stored for issuing purposes for 6 months and if you have not collected it by the end of that period, it will be destroyed. However, if you still wish that the approval of your application be revoked, you need to submit by post to the PBGB a signed request containing the reasons for giving up e residency as well as your personal data (first and last name and personal identification code or date of birth). Please use the following postal address: Police and Border Guard Board, 139 Pärnu Road, Tallinn 15060
If you have received your document but are unable to use it for whatever reason, you need to submit your request for giving up e residency also by post, as described above.