The national digital identity mobile application mRiik is currently undergoing testing and will become available to download this summer. However, it remains unclear whether it can be used in place of physical IDs.
Estonia's mRiik mobile application will make it possible to have identity documents (passport, ID-card, driver's license) in the user's phone, which could theoretically do away with the need to carry around these IDs in physical form.
But while the application will be functional out of the gate, it will initially just display the person's ID information, Greta Preast, product lead for the app at the State Information System's Authority (RIA), told ERR.
The problem is that amendments may be in order before digital versions of documents can be used in a legal capacity.
"Talks are underway with the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to discuss whether and how documents can be used as presented in the app," Preast said.
Elen Kraavik, adviser at the ministry's border guard and migration policy department, confirmed that there have been meetings and that work is being done to allow the use of digital IDs in the near future.
She said it remains unclear whether laws need to be changed for this to become possible.
"There are no amendments in the works yet, and we're analyzing whether something needs to change and how to render IDs usable as they appear in the mRiik application."
Until there is more clarity, mRiik will rather display document details for information purposes, Nikolai Kornõšev, project lead at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications' digital state department, said.
"We are displaying documents more as an information service, while the integration has been done using the correct PPA registers via the X-road. In beta mode, the document "check" using a QR code also works, where one citizen can check another citizen's document – full information or only selected fields – but there is no legal basis for this activity," Kornõšev said.
The mRiik digital ID app can only be used in Estonia.
"The European Commission is developing its EU Wallet project, which should be ready by 2027 and introduce a pan-European digital identification document. That is why mRiik does not want to develop that functionality just for four years, while we do want to have Estonia-wide coverage as soon as possible," the project lead explained.
The mRiik app shows IDs (passport, ID-card, driver's license) and services that can also be found in the eesti.ee portal (my children, prescriptions, sick leave certificates, dental benefits information, my vehicles, motor insurance history). Three external services are also supported: the AI Bürokratt, public maintenance environment Anna Teada and the Land Board's map.
Once it is launched, it will be possible to download the app from the App Store (iOS) and the Play Store (Android). Users will be able to log in using the Mobile-ID and Smart-ID systems.
Editor: Marcus Turovski