Use your e-Residency digital ID
Setting up digital ID software
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. Note that it may take up to 24 hours.
- Install the software here.
- Insert your digital ID card into card reader and test how it works here.
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 knowledgeable resource. You can contact them by email at email@example.com or by calling (+372) 666 888.
In order to successfully use your card online, you will need to have your valid e-Residency digital ID, smart card reader and PIN codes.
How to use digital ID safely
Your E-Residency digital ID is an online identification document, meaning that digital authentication is equivalent to physically identifying yourself. Digital signatures given with the e-Residency digital ID are as valid and binding as handwritten signatures. 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 digital ID safely:
- Never give your e-Residency digital 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 digital ID in an e-service, log out from the service using the “Exit”, “Log out” or “Close” buttons.
- After using your e-Residency digital 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 digital ID or your codes get stolen, immediately notify the helpline 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 cannot be reactivated remotely.
Places to use the e-Residency digital ID
The electronic personal identification function of the e-Residency digital 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 digital 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.
Some most common e-Services that e-residents use are:
Most common problems
If you are certain that your e-Residency digital 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.
For verification, the helpline will ask the cardholder 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 digital ID. The application is available here.
Lost card reader
If you have lost your card reader, you can order or buy any other smart card reader online or from a local electronics store. Please read this article to make sure that the smart card reader you wish to purchase is compatible with the Estonian e-Residency digital ID.
Lost PIN codes
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.
If are not planning to visit Estonia, contact the e-Residency team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will advise on alternatives. Please also let us know, in which country you are based.
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 at 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 here.
Certificates are not active
If you have just received your e-Residency digital 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 here.
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 email@example.com. 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 here.
Find a solution Step-by-Step
If you encounter a technical problem, 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.
Cannot log into the website
You must first ensure that your smart card reader is recognized 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 recognizes 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 has 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, Company Registration Portal or any other e-service.
If the issue is only occurring with certain websites, it is possible that Mac OS X has cached a broken session and logging in via your ID card will not work. You can find a solution to that in this article here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also use their Troubleshooting guide to try to find a quick solution. Troubleshooting is available here.
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.
Changing PIN codes
Detailed instructions are available at http://id.ee/index.php?id=35629
Detailed instructions are available at http://www.id.ee/?id=35646
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 a @eesti.ee e-mail 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
Renew your expired digital ID card
You will need to apply for a new document before your current document expires in order to keep access to e-services. It is advised to submit an application for the new document at least 2-3 months prior to the expiration of the document.
As the type of application, choose “Expiry of the document”. The state fee for the application is 100 euros. The application is available here.
If your current document is still valid and originally has the validity period of 3 years, please see the next article about extending the validity of your e-Residency digital ID card.
Extend your digital ID card to 5 years
E-Residency cards issued before 1 May 2018 have a validity period of 3 years.
From 1 November 2018 at 00:00 UTC, holders of valid e-Residency digital ID cards can extend the validity period of their card for an additional two years (from three to five).
If you were granted an e-Residency digital ID card after 1 May 2018, your digital ID card already has a validity period of 5 years.
The extension process can be done entirely online using the latest DigiDoc4 software. You will need your card to be valid at the time and you will need to know your PIN codes.
The process itself should take no longer than 10-15 minutes. You will need a solid internet connection for it.
Before the extension process
- If you have any encrypted files on your computer (files with a .cdoc extension), you need to decrypt and save them. For more information, see https://www.id.ee/index.php?id=30584.
- Take a pen and paper next to you, as you will be issued new PIN codes during the process and they cannot be retrieved afterwards; you need to save them in the course of the extension process.
- Confirm that you @eesti.ee email address is redirected. For more information, see https://www.id.ee/?lang=en&id=30681
- Close all applications and browser windows interacting with the smart card.
To extend the validity
- Download the latest ID card software at installer.ee
- Connect your card with the computer and launch the DigiDoc4 application
- Click “Begin” at the yellow banner at the top
- Follow the instructions displayed on the screen
- Do not remove the card while the process is incomplete.
Validity extension FAQ
Full FAQ on this topic is at the ID card technical support website.
If you experience any problems with the extension process and you can not find a solution in the FAQ, contact the ID helpline (the ASK FOR HELP section in the lower right corner), or call +372 666 8888.
You can also read in our blog, how Estonia is extending the validity period of 32 000 digital ID cards.
Is my digital ID card eligible for the validity extension?
The following digital-IDs and eresident’s digital ID cards are eligible for validity extension:
- issued before 1 May 2018;
- originally valid for three years;
- still valid at least on 1 November 2018 (i.e. if a card expires before that date, e.g. on 31 October 2018, its validity cannot be extended).
If a card can be extended, the DigiDoc4 software displays a corresponding message in yellow at the top of the screen.
If a card was issued before 1 May 2018 but has been replaced under warranty after 1 May 2018, it already has the maximum validity and does not qualify for validity extension.
Do I have to extend the validity of my document?
The validity extension is not compulsory and cards that have not been extended can be used until their term of expiry. After that, you need to apply for a new document. As of 1 May 2018, the period of validity of newly issued digital IDs and eresidency digital ID cards is five years.
Can I extend the validity of an expired document?
Only valid cards are eligible for validity extension. Once a card has expired, you need to apply for a new document.
I have lost my PINs – can I still extend the validity of my card?
The validity extension can only be performed using PINs, which you need to enter several times during the process for authentication purposes. If you have lost your PINs and it is not possible for you to visit Estonia to retrieve new ones, please contact our support at email@example.com and we will advise on alternatives.
Can I extend the validity of my document if I did not update my certificates last winter?
Cards affected by the security risk announced in the autumn of 2017 whose certificates were not updated from 25 October 2017 to 31 March 2018 were revoked on 1 April 2018. Revoked documents are not eligible for validity extension, and you need to apply for a new document.
If the card and the certificates have different expiry dates, how do I know when my card expires?
You can check the validity of your card either using the DigiDoc4 software or by adding two years to the expiry date featured on your card.
Example: A card is valid until 12 March 2020. After performing the validity extension, the card will be valid until 12 March 2022. As an exception, cards that expire on 29 February 2020 have 28 February 2022 as the new expiry date after validity extension.
Why does the application display an @eesti.ee email address under my personal information, and can I change this?
The state provides everyone with an @eesti.ee email address when issuing an identity document for the purposes of providing essential information. In order to use your @eesti.ee email address, you need to redirect it to your personal email address in the https://www.eesti.ee/en/ state portal. For more information, see: https://www.id.ee/?lang=en&id=30681
The application does not allow changing the email address, and to be able to proceed with the process, you need to confirm the information using your @eesti.ee email address.
How can I tell whether the validity extension was successful?
You can check your document’s term of expiry using the latest DigiDoc4 software by clicking “My eID” and checking the term of expiry of certificates. If the term is two years longer than the date indicated on the physical card, the validity extension has been successful.
If I perform the validity extension on one computer, should I repeat the process on another device?
Once the validity of the document has been extended, you can use the card on all devices as before the extension. The validity extension is not devicespecific; you do not need to repeat the process. However, you need to make sure that all devices have the latest DigiDoc4 software, as previous versions will not support the new certificates.
I have lost my card reader. Could you send me a new one, so that I could perform the validity extension?
You can buy a new card reader from your nearest electronics store or a web store selling electronic devices. For information on supported and tested card readers, see: https://www.id.ee/?lang=en&id=34282.
I do not see the yellow banner, can I extend?
This is a bug an it currently happens to a small number of Windows users who have only recently updated from digidoc3 to digidoc4. The Republic of Estonia Information System Authority is working on solving this issue. For now, please remove the current digidoc4 software and reinstall it from this link (they have released a temporary patch for the bug).
To reinstall the newest version follow the instructions on the screen. Once the latest version is reinstalled, the “Extend” option will appear.
The software is not available in Apple App Store in my country, what do I do?
In some countries, the Apple App Store has not yet listed the latest digidoc4 software. As a quick solution, try changing your location in the Apple App Store or use a direct link to download the latest software.
I have already applied for a new card. Can I cancel the application and extend the validity of the existing card instead?
If you have already submitted an application for a new card, it cannot be cancelled. As of 1 May 2018, the period of validity of newly issued digital IDs and eresidency digital ID cards is five years.
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