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Hundreds of thousands of national ID cards to expire in Estonia this year

Estonian ID card.
Estonian ID card. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

A bigger wave of ID card replacements is expected this year, as new ID cards were issued in 2012 with a validity period of five years. Nearly 200,000 Estonian citizen ID cards and 150,000 passports will expire in 2017.

Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) Identity and Status Bureau chief expert Marit Abram said that identity document renewals always peak in summer, between June and August, when more people are on vacation and traveling more than usual. Another noticeable surge is in the fall, when children are on fall break from school.

According to Abram, they must also take into account applicants who have lost their documents or changed their name after getting married as well as children whose parents are applying for documents for them for the first time.

ID card renewals can be applied for in person at PPA service points, by mail or via email. "We have photo booths at our service points where one can have their photo taken conveniently and for free, however they may also take along their own photo — in that case they don’t have to wait in line for the photo both," Abram explained. Photos may not be more than six months old.

In order to ensure smooth service and to skip lines, it is possible to schedule a time in advance for both applying for and picking up identity documents at PPA service points. Times can be booked up to three months in advance, however in the case of available time slots, they may be booked for as soon as the following day.

Applications sent in by mail and email will be processed in the order in which they are received; the deadline to process these applications is up to 30 days. The PPA recommends those applying for documents via mail or email to check the application requirements detailed on their website in order to avoid submitting an incomplete application, which would in turn extend its processing time and ultimately cause delays in receiving one’s identity documents.

The state fee for citizen’s ID cards for those age 15 or older is 25 euros. Children under 15, individuals with moderate, severe or profound disabilities and those of pension age are eligible for a discounted state fee of seven euros. The state fees for ID card applications at Estonia’s foreign representations are 50 and 10 euros, respectively.

This year’s expected spike in expected ID card renewals is due to the fact that the first ten-year ID cards expired and were renewed with five-year ID cards in 2012. Between these and the applications for and renewals of various other types of documents, the Ministry of the Interior expects around half a million applications to be processed this year.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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