How to apply + FAQ

  Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB)

The e-Residency application environment is administered by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. PBGB is also responsible for processing e-Residency applications and making decisions. 

If you need help submitting your e-Residency application, consult with the FAQ below or contact the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board at ppa@politsei.ee

In order to track your application status, please log in to the application environment. 

Please note that the e-Residency project team does not have access to the application environment. All inquiries related to application process, should be directed to the PBGB.

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Step 1: Gather documents

  • A copy of your identity document: You will need to submit a copy of your travel document issued by your country of citizenship. The identification documents accepted by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board are passports or European Union identity cards. Note, when you pick up your e-Residency digital ID card, you must bring the same travel document you used for the application. If the document you used on the application expires before picking up your e-Residency card, you must bring a renewed, valid copy of your travel document and, if possible, also the document used in your application.
  • Digital photo: The application requires you to provide a passport-style photo of your face in colour. A photo must be no older than six months. You can take the photo at home using a digital camera, but make sure you follow instructions and requirements for the document photo. Check also below how to take a passport-style photo at home.
  • Motivation statement: Write an explanation as to why you are applying for e-Residency.
  • CV: You will also need to provide information about your education and work experience.
  • Information about your previous business activity (in case it applies to you)
  • Credit card: You will need a credit card to pay the state fee for application processing. Accepted card types are VISA and MasterCard. For details please see Costs and fees article. 

Step 2: Submit application

Submit your application online.

In order to apply, you must first create an account using your e-mail. You will be sent a magic link on your e-mail that enables you to activate and log in to your account. Setting up a password is not required. The link will be valid for 60 minutes.

Please note that the e-mail address cannot be changed later so we advise you to register with an e-mail that will be valid for at least the next 12 months.

If you cannot complete the application in one go, you can later log in to this environment using the same e-mail. You have 2 months to submit your application. If you have not submitted your application in 2 months, your user account will expire.

In accordance with § 112 (2) of the Identity Documents Act, you must fill out and submit your application personally. Submitting the application through an intermediary (including legal bureaus and other service providers) is not allowed.

Please be thorough when completing the application and follow the instructions. If the application has deficiencies, the processing of your application will take more time and you will be asked to provide additional information.

In your application, you will need to select a pick up location. It's not easy to change this later, so choose wisely. See the next step for the estimated time of arrival.

Step 3: Application processing

The review process generally takes between 8 and 30 calendar days. The median processing time is 20 calendar days, but PBGB  reserves the right to extend it as they deem necessary in each case. During this time, PBGB may contact you by email for additional information during the course of their background check.

You can view and track the status of your application by logging in to the application environment.

In case of a positive decision, it will take an additional 2-5 weeks for your e-Residency kit to be printed and sent to your pick up location. For more information on this process, see our application status article. Make sure that you regularly check the email you provided in the application and do check the spam folder too.

Step 4: Pick up e-Residency kit

Once your e-Residency kit has arrived to your pick up location, you will receive an email with instructions or an invitation to schedule a time to pick it up. Note, you will need to bring your identity document (a copy of which you submitted with your application) and be prepared to be fingerprinted. You will need to collect your e-Residency kit within (6) months once it has arrived. After that document will be sent back to Estonia and will be destroyed. Read more in Pickup locations article.

PS: During the application process you will receive:

  • Application updates from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board;
  • Notification to collect your document from an Estonian embassy, external service provider or PBGB, depending, which one you chose as your pickup location;
  • Emails from the e-Residency project team (if you allow us to send you communications, personalised offers and information to assist you in starting and operating a business in Estonia).

Important notice regarding the coronavirus!

  • Due to the spread of the coronavirus and related travel restrictions, the usual 6 month period for collecting the e-Residency kit from Estonian Embassies may be extended upon the specific request of an applicant. In order to make this request, please directly contact the pickup location specified in your application.
  • In case you want to change your initial pickup location due to the coronavirus related travel restrictions, please directly contact the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at konsul@mfa.ee for further instructions.

Application process FAQ

I don't understand the process

More information about the application process can be found on the PBGB website. If you need help with your application, please contact the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board at ppa@politsei.ee

Can I submit an application without creating an account?
No, it is not possible to submit your application without creating a user account. By having a user account in the application environment, you will be able to fill out your application in several stages by saving it to continue later, if needed. Also, it allows you to track your application status.
For how long will my account stay active?
Your account’s lifespan depends on whether you have already submitted your application. You have 2 months from the initial login (account activation) to submit your application. If you have not completed the application process within that period, the account will be deleted. If the application has been successfully submitted (i.e. the state fee has also been paid), the account will be valid for 12 months (from the initial login), thereafter it will be deleted.

 

You can delete your account by yourself at any moment, using the “Delete account” functionality in the application environment. Please note that once an application has been submitted, deleting the account in the application environment will not delete the data from the Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB) information systems or suspend the processing of the application.
On what basis am I asked to provide information?
The data and evidence to be submitted when applying are listed in sections 6, 7, 12, 24 and 241 of the relevant Regulation of the Estonian Minister of the Interior. The aim of processing the data referred to above is to come to an informed decision on whether to issue an e resident’s digital ID and to identify the applicant. As stipulated in subsection 2012 (2) of the Identity Documents Act, for the prevention of improper use of a digital identity card and for the protection of the rights and interests of the holder of the document, the issuer of the document may require an e-resident to personally appear at the location of the issuer of the document or at an Estonian foreign mission for the submission of the application.
Alternative payment method to Visa or MasterCard
For the time being there are no alternative payment options available. The payment of the state fee can only be made with a Visa or a MasterCard credit or debit card. If you are using a debit card, please make sure that online payments are enabled. The card must also support 3D Secure payments. Please direct any questions regarding your bankcard to your bank. If you do not have an acceptable card, you may ask someone else to make the payment for you. 
Can I pay later?
No. The application is considered to be submitted and the processing starts only if the state fee has been paid. 
Payment fails

There are several reasons why your payment might fail:

  • your bank does not authorise the payment;
  • the card you are using for the payment does not support 3D Secure payments;
  • you have made several payment attempts from the same IP address at short intervals, and the payment service provider has temporarily blocked you;
  • your Internet connection is not sufficient and/or your browser settings are blocking the payment;
  • the service of the payment service provider is experiencing difficulties.

In the first two cases, please contact your bank. Alternatively, you may ask someone else to make the payment for you. In the rest of the cases, please wait a while and try again. You might also try deleting your browser’s search history and cookies.

If the payment still fails, please contact the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board at ppa@politsei.ee and be sure to provide at least the following information in your e mail:

  • the browser that you used
  • the operation system that you used
  • when and how many times in a row you attempted to make the payment.
Length of your name

Digital ID cards have two lines for the first name (15 + 15 characters) and one line for surname (28 characters). Please note that according to the Estonian Identity Documents Act § 91, section (2) if your first name is longer than 15 + 15 characters and your surname longer than 28 characters, the letters at the end of the name which cannot be supplied in the corresponding data fields shall not be written. The fields in the system do not allow for more characters.

  • Example of a first name
    FABRICE STÉPHANE PATRICE shall be written as FABRICE STÉPHANE PATRIC
  • Example of a surname
    MOHAMEDELBAGHIR ABDELMAHMOUD OSMAN shall be written as MOHAMEDELBAGHIR ABDELMAHMOUD
No surname
If you do not fill out any field, the name missing will be replaced by “-“. Please take this into consideration as later complaints will not be admitted and the state fee will not be returned based on such complaints.
Unknown characters in your name
The Police and Border Guard Board can use for the documents only the letters available at their database according to the ICAO letter conversion rules.

The letters that they do not have, are substituted with letters available.
Personal identification code

A national identification number, national identity number or national insurance number is used by the governments of many countries as a means of tracking their citizenspermanent residents, and temporary residents for the purposes of work, taxation, healthcare and other government-related functions. This personal identification code generally appears on government-issued identity documents.​

You can read more about identification numbers in different countries here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_identification_number

If your country does not have a personal identification code, please choose "Not applicable in my country of citizenship."

Identification document requirements

The identification documents accepted by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board are passports or European Union identity cards. The document needs to be issued by your country of citizenship. Other documents are not accepted when applying for e-Residency. For example, if you are a citizen of a country x, but a resident of a country z, you will need to provide a document issued by country x.

The copy of your identity document must be in colour. Black and white copies are not accepted.

If you upload a copy of your ID card (EU citizens only), please be sure to upload copies of both sides of the document (front and back).

My identification document does not expire
The application will require you to provide a date of issue and date of expiry for your identification document. If you cannot provide these, please choose another identification document that displays this information.
My country is not listed as a pickup location

For security reasons, we are only able to issue e-Residency digital IDs from the official locations listed on the application. For your pickup location, you can choose a location from the list most convenient to travel to from your location.

Please note that a pick up of your e-Residency digital ID within another country does not provide you with the legal right to enter that country. Before you select a pickup location and submit your application, please verify you have the ability to enter the country and obtain any necessary travel visa.

Note, once your e-Residency digital ID has arrived to a pickup location, you will need to collect it within 6 months.

Country is not listed on the application as citizenship/country of birth
E-Residency program is run by the Republic of Estonia and the application form is based on countries recognised as independent states by the Estonian government. You will attach a copy of your passport to the application, so please do not worry, issuing officer will see the detailed information about your citizenship.
Communication is by email

The processing of applications is electronic. If the official processing your application needs to clarify details or pass on important information, they will contact you via email.

Please make sure that the email address you provide in the application form is valid and check your emails regularly so that you do not miss communications from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board official.

Please note the emails might go to your spam folder, so it's advisable to check your spam folder during the application process.

I changed my name. How can I get a new e-Residency digital ID?
If your name changes, you will need to apply for a new e-Residency digital ID. This will require you to pay the state fee again. If you know your name will change in the near future we would advise to wait and apply once you have received a new identification document that displays your new name.
Can I change the information associated with my application?
It is not possible to modify the data in the application environment after submitting your application. Please contact the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board directly at ppa@politsei.ee and they will forward your request to the issuing officer. Please also provide your full name and date of birth or the application number.
Can I cancel my application?
An application can be withdrawn as long as the procedural decision is pending. In order to cancel your application, please contact the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board directly at ppa@politsei.ee as soon as possible. They will be able to cancel your application should you provide them with your full name and date of birth. Where possible, please provide the number of your application for an e resident’s digital ID (if you know the number). If you cancel before proceedings have commenced on your application, you can request a refund of the state fee. To request a refund, you will need to complete a form and send it to the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. You can find the form and contact information here.

How to take a passport-style photo at home

Watch the video tutorial or follow the instructions below:

Step 1: Set the background and lighting

  • The background must be plain and even-coloured (preferably light grey);
  • Avoid loud patterns or furniture on the background;
  • Avoid poor lighting, that causes heavy shadows on the face;
  • Use natural lighting, so your skin tone is not distorted;
  • Make sure the photos are not too bright or too dark.

Step 2: Ask a friend to take the photo

  • Look into the camera (a common mistake is the classical selfie-effect when a person is looking at the phone screen and not into the camera eye);
  • The photo must be taken in frontal view;
  • Keep your head straight, no angles;
  • Your face should take up 70-80% of the height of the photograph;
  • Keep a neutral facial expression. Sorry, no smiling on the passport-style photo, please :)

Step 3: Upload the photo

  • This photo will not be on your e-Residency digital ID card, so please, do not photoshop it (e.g. blurring the skin-tone, enhancing eyes etc. )
  • Use only .jpeg format
  • File size and resolution: a minimum of 1.0 MB and a maximum of 5.0 MB, a minimum of 1300 x 1600 pixels.

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The following are not suitable for a document photo:

  • a scanned photo
  • an edited/processed photo
  • a blurry photo
  • a black and white photo

When you submit a bad quality photo, processing of your application will take longer. Save your time and time of the processing officer by submitting a good photo from the start.

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