You are here

Personal Identification Documents and Identity Management

Reliable and secure personal identification as well as physical and digital identity management are the basis for a credible process of issuing identity documents. Estonia has long-term experience in the field and is a global leader in the context of e-government.

The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for the development of policies of identity management and for policies in connection with issuing identity documents to Estonian citizens and aliens, as well as for coordinating relevant activities of governmental agencies. The issuing of identity documents is regulated by the Identity Documents Act.



General principles of the policy for identity management and personal identification documents:

  • the state determines the person’s identity;
  • one person has one identity;
  • use of another person’s identity or identity document is forbidden;
  • identity management is performed by the state and in a centralised manner;
  • both physical and digital personal identification documents are inextricably and uniquely linked to the document user’s identity;
  • certificates that enable digital identification and digital signature for digital identity of a document are uniquely associated with the user’s personal data;
  • data of both physical and digital documents, including digital authentication and certificates enabling digital signing are publicly controllable.


Identity management

Identity management policy involves identification and verification of identity in both physical and electronic environments. Identity management policy primarily deals with the following matters:

  • How to ensure reliable authentication, i.e. infallible and beyond reasonable doubt?

  • How to prevent the use of another person's identity?

  • How to prevent the emergence and use of several identities for a single person?

Identity management policy is related to personal identification documents policy that primarily addresses the following issues:

  • What documents are recognised as personal identification documents by the state?

  • Which personal identification documents are issued to what categories of people?

  • How is the lifecycle management of documents performed?

  • To which security requirements do personal identification documents conform?

The Police and Border Guard Board is responsible for issuing personal identification documents.


Did you know?

  • Since 2002, over 3.2 million personal identification documents and residence permit cards have been issued along with over 494,000 digital identification documents (including digital identification documents in the form of Mobile IDs and e-residency).
  • Digital functions of personal identification documents (personal identification in digital environment and digital signatures) are currently used by ca 500 thousand people. A total of 562 million digital signatures have been given and digital identity has been established over 727 million times.
  • The average waiting time to submit a document-related application in the service points of the Police and Border Guard Board is up to 15 minutes.


Last updated: 5 October 2018