The first Estonian ID cards produced by France's Idemia (formerly Oberthur Technologies), complete with a new design, security elements and chip, will be issued to those who applied for them on or after 3 December.
The first expedited-issue documents and digital IDs in the new format have already been in use since last week already, spokespeople for the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) told BNS on Tuesday.
Anyone who applied for an ID card, residence permit card, digital ID or expedited-issue ID on or after 3 December will be issued documents with the new design and functionality. Those who submitted applications prior to 3 December will be issued cards produced by the previous contract partner.
All issued documents will remain valid through their marked expiry dates and will not need to be replaced.
Kaija Kirch, adviser and expert at the PPA's Identity and Status Bureau, said that the two different types of cards will both remain in use through the expiry of the final documents issued in the old format in 2023.
"Application terms and issuance deadlines will not change with the issuance of the new card, and production of the first new cards has gone smoothly so far," Kirch said. "However, applicants must pay closer attention to the document's photo requirements, as we are [now] using a color photo on the ID card as a new security element. This is why we recommend taking your picture at a PPA service office or having a photographer take it."
As the new card's chip includes a number of new technical refinements, e-service and system owners have had to make significant changes to their systems.
"The current situation is much better compared to a few weeks ago," said Margus Arm, head of the e-ID domain at the Information System Authority (RIA). "The most used e-services will be ready to support the new card beginning this or next week, and the information systems of larger state institutions have also completed their developments."
The latest software is required for the electronic use of the new ID card, first and foremost for digital signatures. "An updated version of the DigiDoc4 client must be downloaded from the ID card website id.ee," Arm added.
Do you know your PINs?
Kirch, meanwhile, stressed that people should store the PIN codes necessary for digital identification in a secure place, and retain the PIN envelope issued together with their documents.
"Each month, early 4,000 people need new ID card PIN codes because they have either forgotten or lost them," she said. "Considering the fact that elections and the tax return submission period are coming up early next year, it is worth checking now whether or not you have the PINs needed to use e-services."
The PPA issues an average of over 20,000 ID cards, residence permit cards and digital IDs per month. Issued documents will be stored for pickup at the service office to which they are sent for up to six months, after which they will be destroyed. If an applicant has not picked up their documents in time, they will have to reapply as well as pay the relevant state fee again.
Editor: Aili Vahtla