Bureaucratic procedures in Estonia are rather simplified in comparison with most post-Soviet countries. In particular, it simplifies access to the Internet interface for identification — this allows you to reduce a huge number of bureaucracies to several transactions on the Internet. Now we will briefly tell you how this system is arranged.

Personal code

The entire population of Estonia, including foreigners residing in the country by type of residence, is registered in the so-called Population Register, which was established and administered by the Ministry of the Interior. Only state institutions and in some cases legal entities and individuals have access to these registries.

Each person in the register is assigned a personal code. This is a combination of numbers, which makes it possible to uniquely identify a person. The personal code consists of 11 digits, where the first part (3 for a man, 4 for a woman), the next six digits - the date of birth. Another three digits are the registration number in the system with a specific date of birth: in this way you can find out how many people in Estonia share their birthday with you. The last figure is the control figure, which is calculated by a special formula.

Usually, the personal code is received along with the residence permit and ID-card, but since you can use it without a card, you can first apply for a personal code, and then go with it for a residence permit. Procedures for obtaining personal code and forms to fill in are described on the page of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The data is automatically registered on the basis of changes made to the database by various state institutions. In addition to the basic information (name, date and place of birth, citizenship, right of residence, place of residence, contact details), the following data is stored in the register:

  • The marital status of a person;

  • Data of the mother, father, spouse and children;

  • Data on the limitation of legal capacity;

  • Voluntary data provided by a person and collected for statistical purposes (nationality, mother tongue, education, sphere of activity);

  • Data on issued documents (number, time and place of issue of identity cards, residence permit cards, passports, driver's licenses, documents confirming civil status, etc.).

View and cancel the data in the register you can do by yourself on the portal The main way of identification on the portal is an ID-card, but you can also use the appropriate mechanism of your bank. There, on the portal, the absolute majority of the Estonian bureaucracy is concentrated: from registration to licenses for hunting and fishing.

Before you receive an ID-card, the personal code can already be used, for example, to interact with family doctors or signing a contract for housing.


The main document of any resident of Estonia is ID-card (ID kaart). You will receive your first card simultaneously with your residence permit within a couple of weeks after you arrive in the country, and then the magic world of the Estonian e-bureaucracy will open in front of you. True, you will still have to buy a card reader - it costs ten to fifteen euros and is sold in any electronics store - and put on your computer card software.

In addition to the card itself, you will receive an envelope with the codes. One of them serves for general identification on the map in different kinds of services, and the second one is required for the electronic signature of documents. Any instance in Estonia has the option to "send a completed and signed form by e-mail", so the next time you will have to appear personally only to replace the card with a new one in two years.

Inside Estonia ID-card is your main personal document. Also, the card will be asked to present for entry and exit from the country and travel to the European Union, as well as a passport. In addition to the free travel in Tallinn (to activate this option you will have to present an ID-card so that the seller can verify that you are really registered in Tallinn), the card is linked to an electronic medical card and has such features as personal discounts in stores, registration in public and private services (for example, in the library), transactions and much more. You can read more about the ID-card on a special website.

In addition to card identification, many services also support other methods: Mobile identifier and identification through banking systems. In order to use the Mobile-ID, order a special SIM-card from the mobile operator with the software connection on the chip, and turn on the service for which you pay a small amount (about 1 euro) per month. Also, the phone must be able to work with GSM Phase 2+ - this protocol supports almost any device produced after 2000. Identification through banking systems will become available to you immediately upon the discovery of a bank account. Which option works best, you can determine when to start using these systems.


This article was updated in September 2021.

Last updated at: 30.09.2021