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    is it time to renew your digital id card?

    Recent changes to the e-⁠Residency application environment mean renewing your e-⁠resident digital ID card is easier than ever

    Renewal of e-Residency is a straightforward process but there are a few key things to know.
    Renewal of e-Residency is a straightforward process but there are a few key things to know. Photo: Getter Kuusmaa

    This year, e-⁠Residency celebrates 10 years of bringing digital access to Estonian e-services to the world. 110,000 e-⁠residents have joined our digital nation. That's a lot of digital ID cards printed and issued to global citizens and entrepreneurs! With more and more people reaching their 5th anniversary as e-⁠residents, the topic of renewing your e-⁠Residency digital ID card is a hot one. And recently, the Police and Border Guard Board, who manages the e-⁠Residency application process, have made some changes to the application environment to makes things easier for e-⁠residents renewing.

    In this blog post, you’ll learn about these changes. We'll also cover why you should renew your digital ID, how to apply for a new one, and where you can find more information and FAQs.

    How to know when it’s time to renew your digital ID card?

    In order to know whether you need to renew your digital ID, you’ll need to check its validity. The ‘Date of Expiry’ is indicated on your digital ID card. You can also check the validity of the certificates contained in the document chip using the ID software. The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board will also send you a friendly email reminding you that your document is expiring 3 months prior to the date of expiry.

    Since 1 May 2018, e-⁠Residency digital ID cards have had an expiration date 5 years after they are issued, which means they need to be renewed every 5 years. This is consistent with national digital ID cards issued to Estonian citizens and residents. 

    Please note: if you became an e-⁠resident prior to 1 May 2018, the validity of your digital ID card was originally only 3 years. In the period between November 2018 and April 2019, it was possible to extend the validity period by 2 years to a total of 5 years. If you extended your digital ID card, be sure to check its validity in the ID software or on the Estonian state information portal - as your digital ID card will likely state the old validity period and therefore be incorrect.

    Read more about the validity of your digital ID here, which includes FAQs on the renewal topic.

    Why renew my digital ID card?

    There are several reasons to renew your digital ID card, including:

    • so you can continue to log into Estonian government and private e-services and digitally sign documents.
    • so you can manage your Estonian company, submit annual reports, file taxes, and access your business bank account.
    • so you can remain an e-⁠resident and an important part of our growing digital community!

    What is the process for renewal of e-⁠Residency?

    There are two steps to renew your digital ID card, which are largely the same as your original e-⁠Residency application process. Although recent changes to the application environment makes things much easier and quicker for renewals.

    Firstly, apply for a new digital ID card online

    Apply for a renewal online at the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board website. Select “Renewal applicant” on the application home page. You'll be directed to a log in page.

    Here is the big change! 

    Now, from March 2024, e-⁠residents with a valid digital ID or SmartID can log into the application environment and renew their digital ID in a more streamlined way. Once you are logged in, you'll notice that some information in the renewal form is pre-filled according to your original application. This should shorten the time it takes for you to fill out the form, and thus lower the burden of renewal for e-⁠residents. If any of the pre-filled information is incorrect, you can still modify it during the application process.

    If you cannot use your existing digital ID for a renewal, and you don’t have an active SmartID account, you will need to create a new account in the application environment using your email and proceed with the renewal process in the regular way. The application process will thus be the same as if you are a first time applicant.

    The state fee to renew is the same as submitting a new application, that is 100-120 EUR (depending on pickup location). Read more about the costs in this Knowledge Base article.

    If you have any other questions regarding submitting your renewal application, please contact the Police and Border Guard Board directly at, as they manage the application environment.

    Secondly, collect your e-⁠Residency kit.

    Indicate in your application the pickup location where you will pick up your digital ID card. Choose from over 40 locations worldwide. Find your closest pickup location here.

    Collect your new card before your old card expires to keep accessing Estonian e-services in the meantime. Pro tip: before your e-Residency digital ID card expires, download and set up the SmartID app. SmartID allows you to continue using some Estonian e-services, including the e-Business Register, at least until you receive your new digital ID card. Since April 2023, it's also possible to submit your Annual Report using SmartID. Note that this service is external to e-Residency so direct any queries to SmartID.

    Read more in our previous blog post:

    How long will the renewal of e-⁠Residency process take?

    The renewal process officially takes about the same as a new application. According to law, the Estonian Police and Border Guard has 30 days to process an application for an e-⁠resident digital ID. However, they aim to speed this up for renewals. The Estonian Police and Border Guard are prioritising renewal applications and trying to process and issue them as quickly as possible, which they confirmed:

    “Since August 2021, we have prioritised the processing of renewal applications by people who have already been granted e-resident status. Therefore the average processing time for e-Residency re-applicants should be only about 10 days, as long as your obligations as an e-resident entrepreneur are fulfilled.” 

    That said, to be on the safe side we recommend submitting your renewal application at least 2-3 months prior to your current ID card expiring.

    Renew your digital ID now

    What else do I need to do before I renew?

    In order to make your re-application process more convenient, we recommend double checking a few things beforehand.

    If you have founded an Estonian company as an e-⁠resident entrepreneur, then make sure that before renewing your company has met all of its obligations.  According to the Estonian Police and Border Guard, these obligations are as follows: fulfilled tax liabilities, completed VAT declarations, and updated data and documents submitted in the Estonian Business Registry, including for example annual reports and the data of ultimate beneficial owners. 

    If your company is not up to date, for example, an annual report has not been submitted, your renewal application may be delayed until you submit these documents, or even rejected. The Estonian Police and Border Guard emphasises that “it’s important for us that an e-⁠resident complies with all regulatory processes and procedures for their Estonian company. During the renewal process, we will point out any outstanding responsibilities to an e-⁠resident entrepreneur, and will ask them to correct any deficiencies. If these are not fixed, we may not accept the application.” 

    Editor's Note: article rewritten and republished on 25 March 2024 to reflect the changes to the application environment.

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