FAQ

Using your e-Residency digi-ID

Updating my certificates

Only if your card was issued before 25 October 2017

All e-residents whose e-Residency digi-ID has been issued before 25 October 2017 must download new certificates to continue using their digital IDs. E-Residency digi-IDs issued from 25 October 2017 have new certificates that do not have to be renewed. This is because Estonia is upgrading the security of ID cards and digital IDs used by citizens, residents and e-residents.

When and how

The certificates can be renewed until 31 March 2018. The certificates can be renewed on your work or home computer with the ID-card software. Please make sure you update the software to the latest one. You can do it here: https://installer.id.ee/?lang=eng If you fail to renew the certificates on your computer contact, please try again later. If it still does not work, please contact the ID card technical support on abi@id.ee. Make sure you add your full name, personal code, document number and email address.

NB! All certificates that have not been renewed by 31 March 2018 will be revoked. If you need to use your e-Residency digi-ID after that, you will have to apply for a new document.

Before renewing my certificates

  • Check whether your document has to be renewed. You can do this here
  • If you have encrypted files, decrypt and save them. Instructions here
  • Make sure that you have your current pin codes, a piece of paper and a pen nearby because you will be issued new PIN codes during the renewal process, and the old PIN codes will become invalid.
  • Watch the tutorial on how to renew the certificates.
  • Download the newest version of the ID-software from the website https://installer.id.ee/?lang=eng and follow the instructions.

Renewal

  • To avoid errors, close all other programmes and windows on your computer and only pay attention to renewing the certificates.
  • Insert the card into the card reader, open the ID-card utility, click on the button “Update”, and follow the instructions.
  • You will be issued new PIN codes during the renewal. Make sure, you write them down as the renewal process can not be completed without them.
  • Keep your ID-card in the card reader throughout the renewal process. Do not remove the card while the process is ongoing because once you cancel the renewal process, you will no longer be able to renew the certificates from home.
  • Errors encountered while renewing the certificates from home may be a result of many people renewing them at the same time.
  • If you are displayed an error during the renewal process, you can try taking the card out of the card reader and inserting it again later. If you have been displayed an error during the renewal process on several occasions and you have not been able to renew your certificates, please contact the ID card technical support on abi@id.ee or by phone (+372) 677 3377.

Why is it necessary to renew the certificates?

On 30 August, an international team of researchers informed the Information System Authority (RIA) that they have discovered a security risk that affects the chips used in ID-cards, residence permits, and digital IDs issued in Estonia as of October 2014. The security risk is caused by the combination of the chip and the software. It is not possible to change the chip, but after renewing the certificates and updating the software of the chip, the chip can be used without the security risk occurring.

I have encrypted documents on my computer. Will I be able to decrypt them after renewing the certificates?

If you have encrypted files on your computer, decrypt them and save them before renewing the certificates. You can find the instructions here: http://www.id.ee/index.php?id=35653 After the certificates have been renewed, the old encrypted files will no longer open, as a new secret and public key will be generated when the new certificates are issued. It is also not possible to decrypt files encrypted with an earlier certificate with a new document (ID-card, residence permit, digital ID, e-resident’s card, diplomatic identity card).

Which operating systems can be used for renewing the certificates from home?

You can renew your certificates from home on the following operating systems:
Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10;
Linux: Ubuntu 14.04 (LTS), 16.04 (LTS); 17.04;
Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10 Intel), Mac OS X El Capitan (10.11 Intel), Mac OS X Sierra (10.12)

Can I renew my certificates on Windows XP?

No, Windows XP is expired and the ID-card software no longer supports this operating system.

I use a Mac computer, how can I renew the certificates from home?

E-residents can use Apple Macs to update their certificates, as well as continue using them for digitally signing documents in the ID card utility software. However, other uses of Estonian digital ID cards will only be possible on Apple Macs only with the current version of the Firefox browser (and not if you download Firefox’s update scheduled for 15 December).

This is far from ideal so Estonia is working on a solution with Apple to enable full functionality of an Estonian digital ID card in all browsers on an Apple Mac.

In the meantime, Apple Mac users are encouraged to download the Firefox browser and not update it from 15 December.

There are other solutions too. Banks that previously required the use of e-Residency digital ID cards to log into their services also offer a remote log-in method for e-residents called Smart ID. This is a mobile app that only requires you to authenticate yourself once so you can continue securely using Estonian banking services. Smart ID does not enable authentication and digital signing for other purposes, however.

I was issued new PIN1, PIN2, and PUK codes during the renewal process. Is displaying the codes on the computer screen safe?

The new codes were generated and shown only on your computer. This means that only you know them. If you wish, you can change the PIN codes in the ID-card management tool. See instructions here. http://id.ee/index.php?id=35629

I renewed my ID-card certificates and now I cannot use some e-services. What should I do?

If you are not able to enter any websites (including https://www.eesti.ee/en/ ), you can look for a solution here.

NB! If you use the operating system Mac OS X, you have to follow additional instructions after renewing the certificates: http://www.id.ee/?lang=en&id=34455. Instructions for Windows users are available here

If you are still not able to use the e-services, contact the ID card technical support abi@id.ee

How to determine that the certificates were successfully renewed?

If the homepage of the ID card utility no longer displays a notice on the renewal of certificates and the card owner is no longer referred to a service point of the Police and Border Guard Board, the certificates should be successfully renewed.

I was displayed an error that the renewal failed. What should I do?

If the renewal failed, try to re-start the renewal process. Close the ID-card utility and re-open it. If it is not possible to re-start the renewal process, please contact the ID card technical support on abi@id.ee or by phone (+372) 677 3377.

I am abroad, but the renewal of my certificates failed. What should I do?

If the renewal of the certificates failed and you cannot re-start the renewal process, write to the e-mail address abi@id.ee. The e-mail must include your name, personal identification code, document number, and your e-mail address. You will be contacted and further instructions will be sent to you.

I have not completed the previous renewal process of the certificates. Does this renewal process fix both problems and will I be able to continue using my ID-card on Google Chrome as well?

All e-Residency digi-IDs cards can be renewed until 31 March.

After the renewal, you will also be able to use the card on Google Chrome (except on Mac computers – Mac users have to wait until Chrome starts supporting elliptic curves. See also the question “I use a Mac computer, how can I renew the certificates from home?”).

I was not able to successfully complete the previous update. What can I do?

Please contact the e-Residency team on e-resident@gov.ee if the previous update was not successful and you are not able to update the certificates now.

Getting started

Everything you need to operate online as an e-resident is provided in the e-Residency kit – your digital ID card, a card reader and your PIN codes.

There are 3 simple steps:

  • Make sure your digital ID card is active by inserting your digital ID card’s document number here.
  • Install the software here: https://installer.id.ee/?lang=eng
  • Insert your digital ID card into card reader and test how it works in the State Portal https://www.eesti.ee/en/

You are now ready to use your digital ID card to establish a company online and use e-services available

If you run into trouble or encounter any problems during the installation process or ID card usage, please contact the ID card technical support – they are the most knowledgable resource. You can contact them by email at abi@id.ee or by calling (+372) 677 3377.

In order to successfully use your card online, you will need to have your valid e-Residency digi-ID, smart card reader and PIN codes. Please make sure that you keep your document and PIN codes safe, as it is not possible to issue a replacement for either of them from abroad.

Places to Use the e-Residency Digi-ID

The electronic personal identification function of the e-Residency digi-ID allows all persons to securely identify their clients or service users over the internet. Just like how we show an identity document when completing a card transaction in a store, we can show our ID-card for verification over the internet. This allows service providers to be certain of the user’s true identity.

Note: The personal identification process will always ask for your PIN1. If you are asked for PIN2 it means that you are signing a document rather than verifying your identity.
You no longer have to remember long lists of usernames and passwords or bank code cards/PIN-calculators with the digi-ID. When using your ID card, the same PIN applies for all services and you need only remember your PIN codes.

To log in using your ID-card, you must have physical possession of the card and must know the PIN code. Security experts call this ‘two-factor identification’. If a criminal does not know your PIN, he or she cannot use the ID-card on your behalf. Likewise, a criminal will have no use of finding out your PIN if he or she is not in possession of your ID-card.

On the contrary, when personal identification only takes place with a password or code card, the criminal only needs to find out the respective data. He or she will not need to physically possess the password or code card. The described single-factor personal identification is therefore significantly less secure.

How to use the e-Residency digi-ID safely

Your E-Residency digi-ID is an online identification document, meaning that digital authentication is equivalent to physically identifying yourself. Digital signatures given with the e-Residency digi-ID are as valid and binding as handwritten signatures in Europe. You should always confirm the identity and authenticity of the second party before signing a document. Here are some tips to help make sure that you are using your e-Residency digi-ID safely:

  • Never give your e-Residency digi-ID to other people; it may be misused and you will remain responsible.
  • Keep your PIN codes safe. Never write your codes on your card or keep the PIN codes with the card. Keep the codes in a secure location that others will not have access to. That being said, make sure your codes are securely located so that you can review them should you forget them.
  • Keep your PIN1 and PIN2 codes different. If the two codes are very similar, it may be easy for someone to guess the other code if they gain access to one.
  • Web browsers can cache (temporarily remember) the PIN1 code used during an active browser session. Because of that, it may be possible to enter e-services without inserting PIN1-code repeatedly. Caching the PIN1 code can be avoided by following these three steps:
  • After using your e-Residency digi-ID in an e-service, log out from the service using the “Exit”, “Log out” or “Close” buttons.
  • After using your e-Residency digi-ID, remove it from the card reader.
  • Close all web browser windows (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, Safari) after you have finished using a service.
  • In case your e-Residency ID card or your codes get stolen, immediately notify the help line by calling +372 677 3377. They will suspend the certificates. You should only do so if they are stolen or lost for sure as they can not be reactivated remotely.

Some most common e-Services that e-Residents use, are:

State Portal Log in to see and manage your personal information
Service Providers Website’s Some service providers have integrated e-Residency digi-ID log-in on their websites
Company Registration Portal Register your company online
E-Business Register Manage your business information
E-Financials Web-based public accounting software
E-Tax/e-Customs Submit relevant documentation to the Estonian Tax and Customs Board
Banking Log in and use secure online banking
Payment service providers A list of service providers is brought out on our site

Most Common Problems

Certificates Not Active

If you have just received your e-Residency digi-ID, then you must first confirm on the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board’s site that your certificates have been activated. You can check the validity of your certificates on this website: https://www.politsei.ee/en/teenused/inquiries/

If the certificates are not yet active, we kindly ask you to wait. If the certificates are not active within 24 hours, we advise you to contact the issuing authority, The Estonian Police and Border Guard, at info@politsei.ee. When contacting the issuing authority, please provide them with your full name, date of birth and document number.

Installing the ID-software on Mac OSX

Step-by-step instructions can be found at http://id.ee/index.php?id=35619

Find a Solution Step-by-Step

If you encounter a technical probleem, you should first search for help on the ID card troubleshooting page. They should be able to help you identify your problem and find a solution instantly. You can find the page here: http://www.id.ee/index.php?id=30475

Cannot Log Into The Website

You must first ensure that your smart card reader is recongized by your computer and is reading data from your ID card chip. To do that, launch the ID-card utility included in the installation software. If the utility recongizes your card and can read data, then that means that the software installation was successful.

While the ID-card utility is opened, ensure that none of your PIN-codes have been blocked. If your PIN1 or PIN2 codes have been blocked, then you can unblock them using your PUK code.

The second step is to determine if the problem is only occurring for one service or for all of them. Try logging onto State Portal www.eesti.ee, Company Registration Portal https://ettevotjaportaal.rik.ee/index.py?chlang=eng or a different e-service (http://id.ee/index.php?id=31007).

If the issue is only occurring with certain websites, it is possible that Mac OS X has cached a broken sessioon and logging in via your ID card will not work. You can find a solution for that in this article here: http://www.id.ee/?lang=en&id=37637.

If you are not using Mac OS X and are still encountering a problem, you must contact the site’s webmaster and inquire.

If the problem occurs on many sites, please contact the ID-card technical help at abi@id.ee You can also use their Troubleshooting guide to try to find a quick solution. Troublesooting is available here: http://www.id.ee/index.php?id=30475

Digital Signing Problems On The Web

The most common reason for encountering problems with using your digital signature is that your browser’s digital signing plugins are out of date. Instructions for properly enabling digital signing plugins in your browser can be found here: http://id.ee/?lang=en&id=36639

Changing PIN Codes

Detailed instructions are available at http://id.ee/index.php?id=35629

Authenticating Online

Detailed instructions are available at http://www.id.ee/?id=35646

Signing Documents

Detailed instructions are available at http://www.id.ee/?id=35652

Verifying a Digital Signature

Detailed instructions are available at http://id.ee/index.php?id=35632

Setting up @eesti.ee Email Address

Detailed instructions are available at http://www.id.ee/?id=35639

Viewing your certificate and saving it on your computer

Detailed instructions are available at http://www.id.ee/?lang=en&id=34301

Lost Document

If you are certain that your e-Residency digi-ID has been lost or stolen and that it could be used by others (accessing e-services and/or providing digital signatures on your behalf), call the ID helpline (+372) 677 3377 immediately and request that your certificates be suspended. This can only be done by phone (Helpline works 24/7).

For verification, the helpline will ask the card holder for personal information: given name and surname, year of birth, and/or personal identification code. In order to suspend your certificates, you will need to confirm your identity by providing personal information.

You must reapply for e-Residency if you wish to receive a new document. The application process will be similar to when you first applied for the e-Residency digi-ID. The application is available at https://apply.gov.ee/

Lost Card Reader

Unfortunately we can not provide you with a new smart card reader. The one that was included in the e-Residency digi-ID package was either a +iD smart card reader, which you can order online from the official manufacturer’s page: http://www.pluss-id.com/ or ACS ACR38U USB card reader, which you can order here: (https://www.acs.com.hk/en/products/160/acr38u-pocketmate-smart-card-reader/)

Alternatively you can order or buy any other smart card reader. Please read the following article to make sure that the smart card reader you wish to purchase is compatible with the Estonian e-Residency digi-ID: http://id.ee/?lang=en&id=34282

Lost PIN Codes

Unfortunately it is not possible to issue new PIN codes to e-Residency digi-ID-s from abroad. If you are unable to visit Estonia, you would need to apply for a new document. The application process is the same and the application is available on our website: https://apply.gov.ee/

If you will be visiting Estonia, then you can renew the PIN codes and receive a new PIN code envelope at one of the offices of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. A list of the service offices is available here: https://www.politsei.ee/en/kontakt/kmb/index.dot

Blocked PIN Codes

If only your PIN1 or PIN2 codes have been blocked, you can unblock them using your PUK code. Please follow the instructions here if you wish to do so: http://id.ee/index.php?id=34303

It is not possible to unblock a PUK code by yourself or from abroad; you must visit Estonia. For that, a personal visit to an Estonian Police and Border Guard Board office is required. If you are not planning to visit Estonia, you need to apply for a new document. The application process is the same and the application is available on our website: https://apply.gov.ee/

If you will be visiting Estonia, then the list of the service offices is available here: https://www.politsei.ee/en/kontakt/kmb/index.dot

Validity of Your Document

The certificates of your document are valid for 3 years. After that period, if you wish to continue using e-services, you have to apply for a new document. The application process will be the same as when you first applied. The online application is available here https://apply.gov.ee/ We would advise applying for a new document 2 months prior to the expiration of your current one.

Renewing Your Document

Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to renew your document online. You will need to apply for a new document. Application is available here https://apply.gov.ee/ and the procedure is the same as it was when submitting the application for the first time. We would advise applying for a new document 2 months prior to the expiration of your current one.

The guidelines in this section are powered by SK ID Solutions.
If you have any technical problems or questions, to which you did not find an answer here, please contact SK ID Solutions support by email abi@id.ee or through their page http://www.id.ee/?lang=en On the bottom right corner you can find the section “Ask for help”.

Can’t find your answer?

We’re here to help. Get in touch and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. e-resident@gov.ee