Getting an Estonian Personal ID Code

Before I got to Estonia, I didn’t realise an ID code was a thing. You see, we don’t have these in Australia – we have a number on our driver’s license and another on our passport, but no single code that signifies our personhood.

I wasn’t surprised that Estonia had this type of a system, as they seem to be fairly common, but I assumed that the number would be tied into my residence permit.

Not so. It turns out, the personal ID code is a separate number that you need to organise before you can book your residence permit application appointment. You also need it before you open a bank account, which was what prompted me to get organised.

Fortunately there was a fairly simple form to fill out (the only stumbling point was when I had to add my Australian personal ID code. When I told Helena in HR that we don’t have ID codes back home, she said ‘Then maybe just leave it blank now.’ Not very confidence inspiring), after which I needed to head to the Population Register service hall with the following documents:

    1. The completed form
    1. My passport
  1. A copy of my short-term registration document (a document my company provided to state that I’ll be working with them, and will be getting a residence permit once in Estonia)

All set, I left the office at lunch time and took the 10 minute walk to the registry office. Which was closed.

How did I know it was closed?

The door was locked. And, on the locked door, there was an A4 sheet of paper listing the addresses of other registry offices. (I later went online to see if there’s any way I could have found out the office was closed before I physically walked there, and there wasn’t. There was also no record of the other offices – I’m chalking this up as a digital Estonia fail.)

I walked another 15 minutes to another office, which was open (!), dropped off my form and was pleasantly surprised to find out I’d have my code the next day.

Lo and behold, today I went back at lunch time, and a piece of paper with my code was ready to be collected.

(Future Jacqui comment: This was by far the easiest administrative process I encountered in Estonia.)

Next step – bank account!



  1. Drew

    2018-11-05 at 16:49

    They gave me my code in the same visit… I was there for about 15 minutes and left with my fabled code! 🙂

    1. Jacqui

      2018-11-06 at 08:25

      Go go consistent processes!

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