Foreign nationals residing in Estonia and their documents

From 2011, all foreign nationals who reside permanently in Estonia must hold an ID-card or residence permit card. Foreign nationals can use both of these in electronic channels in the same manner as an ordinary ID-card and all of the ID-card guidelines apply to them as well.

  • The residence permit card is an identify document that is mandatory for all foreign nationals residing in Estonia on the basis of an effective residence permit or right of residence. In addition to ordinary identification, a residence permit card can be used for personal identification in an electronic environment and for giving a digital signature.
  • An ID-card is issued to a European Union citizen residing in Estonia on the basis of the right of residence. NB! The ID-card of a European Union citizen is not a travel document!

Estonia also has the e-Resident's digital ID for residents who do not reside permanently in Estonia: it is a card that allows the holder to use all of the Estonian e-services that apply to them, e.g. open a bank account, register a company, declare taxes, gain access to their data. Being an e-resident does not grant any extra legal rights to the user, e.g. it does not make applying for a residence permit or citizenship easier. However, the digital ID of an e-resident guarantees access to the e-services the user is already entitled to use.

NB! The identity cards issued to foreign nationals previously will remain in force until their expiry dates. Further information is accessible on the website of the Police and Border Guard Board.