The tender for producing Estonian passports from 2021 has been awarded to U.K. company ID Global solutions, in a deal signed Friday, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
The agreement, between the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and ID Global Solutions, lasts for an eight-year term, with the company providing related services as well, starting to produce passports no later than Jan. 1 2021, a PPA spokesperson said Tuesday.
ID Global Solutions Limited will produce passport forms, document personalization systems and the necessary materials. The PPA itself will record the personal data.
An estimated 800,000 passports will be ordered from the new supplier over the course of the contract, costing around €11 million.
PPA adviser and expert Karoline Paide said that, with passports being the second most important identity document after the Estonian ID card, the deal was strategically important.
"A passport is not a mandatory document, but it is important for the state that Estonian citizens and foreigners living here alike can travel comfortably, using a safe and state-of-the-art document," she said.
ID Global Solutions replaces current provider Gemalto. Gemalto provided Estonian ID cards from 2001, but lost the contract after it expired at the end of 2018 and had a legal challenge to renew its contract overruled at the Supreme Court.
A total of seven travel documents are issued by the Estonian state: In addition to a full passport, the so-called "grey passport" for non-citizens is issued, as well as a temporary travel document, displaced person's travel document, and two documents related specifically to seamen.
The Estonian ID card also acts as a travel document to many countries, in the case of citizens (non-citizens with an ID card on either temporary or permanent residence should always take their passport when travelling outside Estonia).
Editor: Andrew Whyte