Estonian ID card
The Estonian identity card (Estonian: Isikutunnistus) is a chipped picture ID issued in the Republic of Estonia by the Citizenship and Migration Board of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It is officially a primary-picture ID in Estonia, and is therefore recognised by all member states of the European Union or the Schengen Area and some other European countries as an official travel document. For travel outside the EU, Estonian citizens require an Estonian passport instead. All Estonian citizens and permanent residents are legally obliged to possess such a card from the age of 15.
Categories of Estonian identity cards
|EU/EEA family permit holder|
|long-term residence permit holder|
|temporary residence permit holder|
The card's chip stores a key pair, allowing users to cryptographically sign digital documents based on principles of public key cryptography using DigiDoc. While it is possible also to encrypt documents using the card-holder's public key, this is used only infrequently, as such documents would become unreadable if the card were lost or destroyed.
Uses for identification
The card's compatibility with standard X.509 infrastructure has made it a convenient means of identification for use of web-based government services in Estonia (see e-Government). All major banks, many financial and other web services support ID-card based authentication.
Web discussion forums
Web commentary columns of some Estonian newspapers, most notably Eesti Päevaleht, used to support ID-card based authentication for comments. This approach caused some controversy in the internet community.
Period tickets can be bought online via electronic bank transfer, by SMS, or at public kiosks. This process usually takes less than a few minutes and the ticket is instantly active from the moment of purchase.
Customers also have the option of requesting e-mail or SMS notification alerting them when the ticket is about to expire, or of setting up automatic renewal through internet banking services.
To use the virtual ticket, customers must carry their ID card with them whenever they use public transport. During a routine ticket check, users are asked to present their ID card, which is then inserted into a special device. This device then confirms that the user holds a valid ticket, and also warns if the ticket is about to expire. The ticket check usually takes less than a second.
Ticket information is stored in a central database, not on the ID card itself. Thus, to order a ticket, it is not necessary to have an ID-card reader. Ticket controllers have access to a local archive of the master database. If the ticket was purchased after the local archive was updated, the ticket device is able to confirm the ticket from the master database over GSM data link.
The Estonian ID card is also used for authentication in Estonia's ambitious Internet-based voting programme.
In February 2007, Estonia was the first country in the world to institute electronic voting for parliamentary elections. Over 30 000 voters participated in the country's e-election.
Use as a travel document
Since Estonia's accession to the European Union (EU) in 2004, Estonian citizens who possess an Estonian identity card have been able to use it as an international travel document, in lieu of a passport, for travel within the EU countries and also to Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Vatican City.
However, non-Estonian citizens resident in Estonia are unable to use their Estonian identity cards as an international travel document, except that EU/EEA citizens can use cards issued since 3 September 2007 for traveling inside the Schengen area.
- Issuing authority's official website in English
- ID Ticket website
- ID card official information page
- Official ID client card page