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Estonians abroad can apply for new ID card via email

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The detected security risk affects 750,000 Estonian ID cards issued beginning October 2014.
The detected security risk affects 750,000 Estonian ID cards issued beginning October 2014. Source: (Erik Prozes/Postimees/Scanpix)

Estonians living abroad who are unable to remotely renew their ID card's certificates on their own do not need to visit an Estonian embassy in person to apply for a new card; they can submit an application for a replacement card via email.

Margit Ratnik, head of the Development Department of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), recommends Estonians abroad to first continue trying to renew their ID card certificates remotely.

"The first attempt may not work, but it may work after the second attempt," Ratnik said. "Definitely give it a few tries."

Those who are still unable to renew their certificates, however, can apply for a replacement ID card on the basis of a guarantee procedure via email by sending a letter to [email protected] including their name, peronal identification code (isikukood), the document number of the ID being replaced, and email address.

The new ID card will still have to be picked up in person, however; those applying for a replacement card must indicate in their email where they wish to pick up their new ID card — whether at an embassy, consulate or an honorary consulate.

ID cards cannot currently be delivered by mail, as the envelope also contains the card's associated PINs. The PPA is, however, working on a solution which would allow for them to begin issuing ID cards by mail.

Due to current high volumes, it may take up to three weeks to receive a new ID card abroad. Those applying for for a new ID card will be able to hang onto their current card, however, which will remain valid as a photo ID for travel purposes, for example, but cannot be used electronically.

ID cards issued by the PPA beginning on Oct. 25 include new chips not affected by the detected security risk.

Ratnik admitted that the network of Estonian embassies worldwide is sparse, and that Estonians living in Asia and the U.S. will likely have to travel the farthest to visit their local Estonian embassy.

"If the ID card is close to expiring, an application can be submitted through the e-application system, and that application will be sent directly to Estonia," the PPA official advised. "You don't need an ID card for this; you can use banking passwords for authentication; Mobile ID works for this as well."

The Estonian government decided at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday night to suspend the certificates of Estonian ID cards vulnerable to a detected security risk on Friday night at midnight.

Over 750,000 ID cards, including e-Residency cards, will be affected by the decision.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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