Avalehe pilt
Fingerprints
04/19/2019

1. What is biometrics?
Biometrics is understood as being a method of establishing the identity of a person, which uses traits unique to a person such as fingerprints, voice, irises, handwriting, etc.

2. What is a biometric document?
A biometric travel document is a personal identification document, located on the back cover of which is a chip containing, in digital format, the personal data of the document holder (given and surname, date of birth, citizenship) and biometric data (facial characteristics, fingerprints).

3. Into which types of documents fingerprints are entered?
As of June 2009, fingerprints are entered in Republic of Estonia travel documents:

  • Estonian citizen's passport
  • diplomatic passport
  • alien's passport
  • seafarer's discharge book
  • certificate of record of service on Estonian ships
  • temporary travel document
  • travel document for refugee


The Estonian citizen' passport, alien's passport, seafarer's discharge book, certificate of record of service on Estonian ships, temporary travel document and travel document for refugee are issued by the KMA The diplomatic passport is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

4. Why are fingerprints being collected?
Fingerprints are used as one biometric characteristic in the identification of a person. Fingerprint biometrics is one of the most secure methods of personal identification, since two identical fingerprints do not exist. Fingerprints are unique, thus allowing for the placement of fingerprints into travel documents to create a secure relationship between the document and the user, reducing the criminal use of documents and the possibilities for counterfeiting, reducing identity theft, improving the quality of establishing identity upon the issuing of personal identification documents and when crossing borders.

As a European Union Member State, Estonia follows requirements established for member states regarding the issuing of personal identification documents - Council of the European Union regulation No 444/2009/EC and 308/208/EC, in accordance with which fingerprint biometrics shall be implemented in travel documents in addition to facial biometrics. The implementation of the regulation is mandatory for all EU Member States and the deadline for fulfilment is June 2009.

5. How are fingerprints collected?
When applying for travel documents two fingerprints will be collected from the applicant, generally the fingerprints of both index fingers. If it is not possible to collect prints of the index fingers, then the fingerprint will be taken from another finger, excluding the little fingers.

The client service representative shall direct the document applicant during the collection of fingerprints.

6. Has an age limit been established regarding collection?

  • upon applying for travel document fingerprints will be captured as of 12 years of age;
  • upon applying for residence card, residence permit or right of residence fingerprints will be captured as of 6 years of age.

7. If this is not possible to collect fingerprints?
If it is not possible to collect fingerprints:

  • temporarily due to the condition of the applicant's health, then a document without fingerprints, with a term of validity up to 12 months, shall be issued. A corresponding physician's certificate must be presented regarding the health condition.
  • permanently due to the condition of the applicant's health, then a document without fingerprints is issued for the maximum term of validity (5 years). If necessary, the permanent inability to provide fingerprints must be certified.


8. Will the application procedure for documents remain the same?
In regards to fingerprint collection, the application procedure for travel documents will change slightly.
In order to be able to provide fingerprints, the applicant must personally visit a service point or foreign mission of the Republic of Estonia.
If the person applies simultaneously for an ID card as well as a travel document, the applicant must also personally visit service point.

The application for a travel document via e-mail is possible only in the event that:

  • a recurrent travel document is being applied for a child under 12 years of age, if the Republic of Estonia has previously issued to such child or his/her legal representative an identity document;
  • a recurrent residence card is being applied for a child under 6 years of age, if the Republic of Estonia has previously issued to such child or his/her legal representative an identity document,
  • less than 5 years has passed since the collection of fingerprints for a travel document and no changes have taken place in the finger, the image of which was entered in the travel document;
  • during the application for the previous travel document, the permanent inability to provide fingerprints was established.

9. What happens if the document applicant is unable to come to a service point?
In the case of justified need, in exceptional cases a Citizenship and Migration Bureau of Prefecture client service representative or Republic of Estonia foreign mission employee will accept the application for the travel document at the place of residence of the applicant.
These exceptional cases are:

- the condition of health of the document applicant, which does not permit them from personally - submitting the application (submit a certificate regarding this);
the document applicant being held in a custodial institution.