Most people in Estonia request a new document online

Around half a million identity documents were applied for in 2023. The highest number of applications were submitted for ID-cards, passports, and residence permit cards, with most people doing so in the PBGB self-service portal at

A total of 488,046 identity documents were applied for in 2023, of which 283,568 were ID-cards, 89,481 passports and 93,659 residence permit cards. Last year, the number of applications for ID-cards increased by 3% and applications for residence permit cards by 11.6%, while the number of applications for passports decreased by 18% over the year.

In 2023, Estonian citizens submitted a total of 313,493 document applications, 61% of which were submitted via the PBGB self-service portal. The residents of Tartu County (70%) and Harju County (68%) are still the most active users of the self-service portal. “While less than half of the citizens used self-service in 2021, we are now pleased to see that there are no counties in Estonia where the use of self-service is less than 50%,” said service owner Marit Abram of the Identity and Status Bureau of the PBGB.

It takes 5 minutes on average to apply for a document in the self-service portal. Last year, the average waiting time for applying at a service office was 38 minutes and the application process took 10 minutes on the spot. “It is cheaper to apply for a document in the self-service portal than in a service office, while the application process is quicker and can be done at a suitable time and place," added Abram.

In 2023, the youngest individuals on whose behalf a document was applied for were under one year of age, while in one case a document was requested for a child already a day after birth. The most elderly person who applied for a document in the self-service portal was 98 years old. The most popular age group for document applications in the self-service portal is children under the age of 5. As many as 86% of all documents issued to children under the age of 5 last year were applied for via the self-service portal.

“Year by year, we wish to make applying for and collecting documents more convenient for people. Since last year, it is possible to collect your document at Selver stores in addition to PBGB service offices. This approach added almost 50 document issuing points and the PBGB, in cooperation with Selver, was able to take the service one step closer to people,” said Abram.

A total of 20,572 documents were sent to Selver stores for pick-up last year, representing 6% of all documents issued since 18 April. The stores in Harju County, Viljandi County and Rapla County are the most favoured pick-up locations. In 2023, 12% of the documents requested in these counties were sent to Selver stores for pick-up. The three most popular stores set as a pick-up location were Kadaka, Järve and Kolde Selver in Harju County.

In 2023, an amendment came into force that no longer obliges people over 70 to provide fingerprints again when applying for an ID-card, provided they are available in the PBGB database. Among other things, the self-service portal now has a convenient solution, which allows you to authorise someone else to pick up your document. In addition, the PBGB self-service environment was adapted to make it easier to use for the visually impaired.

Using the self-service portal to apply for a document is faster and cheaper but also more environmentally friendly – self-service document applications are paperless from start to finish.