Validity of ID-card certificates

You can see whether your ID-card certificates are valid when you open DigiDoc4. The ID-card software immediately notifies you of expired certificates and tells you what you should do next. An ID-card cannot be used for electronic acts without valid certificates, e.g. you cannot log in to your bank or sign documents digitally!

By default, the certificates are valid for as long as the digital document to which they are connected. However, it may happen that, for security considerations, the certificates must be renewed more often than the card itself and DigiDoc4 will immediately notify you of this. In addition to DigiDoc4, the id.ee website and mass media also inform people of major security updates.

Don’t forget that you can continue using the ID-card as a travel document until its expiry even if the certificates of your ID-card have been suspended or blocked: certificates are not required for identification by the authorities or when crossing a border.

The validity of certificates is related to a digital document:

  • Mobile-ID certificates are connected to the SIM card and are initially valid for five years. If you change your SIM card – even if your phone number remains the same – you can no longer use the old certificates. Ask your mobile operator for further information.   
  • In the case of Smart-ID, the certificates are valid for as long as the Smart-ID account, i.e. for two years. The Smart-ID account is device-based and each device has its own certificates.  
  • In the case of the ID card, the validity of the certificates is connected to the validity of the ID-card: it is five years by default.  

What differentiates the validity of the ID-card from the validity of the certificates?

The expiry date printed on the physical ID-card shows the validity of the card as an identity document (e.g. when crossing a border, when identified by the authorities). Currently, the ID-cards issued in Estonia are valid for five years and the certificates that come with the card are valid for the same period of time.

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You can check the validity of the certificates connected to the card via DigiDoc4. Don’t worry if the term of validity of the certificates differs from that of the ID-card: it only means that your certificates have been renewed in the meantime. You need valid certificates to use your ID-card electronically (to log in to e-services, confirm bank transfers, sign documents, etc.). 

Sometimes, the certificates must be renewed even if they haven’t expired. Security considerations are the main reason for this, so always take it seriously when you’re asked to renew the certificates!

ID-cards issued as of 26 October 2017 have the updated software and don’t need to be updated by the holders.

Important information about the certificates:

Immediately inform the Police and Border Guard Board if you notice that your ID-card has been stolen.

You must suspend the ID-card certificates if your ID-card is stolen: this is the only way you can protect yourself against possible identity theft.

You will find further information on the use of certificates in the Terms of Use of ID-card Certificates.