Everything you need to know about eIDAS

This overview provides answers to frequently asked questions about the Regulation on electronic identification and trust services (eIDAS Regulation). This European regulation is the basis for allowing citizens to use a national login key (like DigiD) to access public services in other European Union (EU) member states. But first the European Commission needs to approve the use of that national electronic identification scheme. 

What is eIDAS?

Government organisations in EU member states usually identify people based on their passport. Which country issued the passport is not relevant; it is still a valid form of ID. In the Netherlands, for example, you can use an Italian passport as proof of identity. This is not the case for an electronic identification (eID), like DigiD. Many countries only accept an eID issued in that country as a valid form of electronic identification. Following the introduction of the eIDAS Regulation, this is changing.

This EU regulation provides the basis on which public-sector organisations in EU member states can accept each other’s electronic identification schemes. Once a national eID has been approved by the EU, you will also be able to use it in other EU member states. If you have an approved eID, you can use it to access Dutch public services online, such as pension funds.

National eIDs such as DigiD cannot automatically be used in other EU member states. First the EU needs to approve the eID. To find out when you will be able to use your national eID abroad, contact the relevant government organisation in the EU country that issued your eID.

What is a login key?

Using a login key, you can access public services online and view a personal online overview, for example of your tax information. Before giving you access to personal information, an organisation needs to be sure that you are who you say you are. To prove that, you use a login key.

The most common type of login key is a username combined with a password. However, this combination on its own does not meet the security requirements, because these details are easy for hackers to get hold of. Easily hackable login keys will not be approved by the EU for use in other EU member states.

When is a login key approved?

The EU will approve a login key issued by an EU member state if all other EU member states have agreed. Only then are users allowed to use the login key to access public services in other EU countries.

This approval process takes a total of 6 months. During that time, the other EU member states test the login key to see if its works and is secure. If there are no problems, the EU member states will issue a joint ‘statement of no objection’. The EU member state that issues the login key can then request the official approval of the European Commission. The European Commission will check if the notification process followed the rules. If that is the case, the Commission will give its official approval. 

Can I use my login key immediately after approval?

No, you will not be able to use your login key immediately. After approval, EU member states have 12 months to adapt their technical systems to enable the use of the login scheme. Some EU member states are faster than others in this respect.

How can I get an eIDAS login key?

There is no eIDAS login key; eIDAS is the name of an EU Regulation. That regulation itself does not issue login keys, so these credentials are not called ‘eIDAS login keys’. There are various national eID schemes. In the Netherlands the national eID is called DigiD. Once the EU approves a national eID, you will also be able to use it in other EU member states. This is set out in EU Regulation 910/2014 (eIDAS).

Each country has its own procedure for applying for a national eID. EU member states are free to decide who is allowed to use their national eID. A national eID can often only be used by citizens who were born in that country or who live and/or work there.

EU member states are also free to decide if they want their national eID to be valid in other EU countries.

If you have any questions, please contact the government organisation responsible for eIDAS in the EU country that issues the eID in question.

When will I encounter eIDAS?

As a European citizen, you will encounter eIDAS if you have a non-Dutch eID issued by a different EU member state, and you want to use it to access a public service in the Netherlands. This includes the services provides by the Tax and Customs Administration, the Social Insurance Bank (SVB) and the Central Judicial Collection Agency (CJIB). This would be the case, for example, if you live in Spain and you want to use your Spanish eID to log in to the website of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

Two conditions apply here:

  1. The government organisation must have the technical capability to allow people to log in digitally. If the EU member state’s own citizens cannot log in online, the government organisation does not have to offer this option to other EU citizens either.
  2. The EU approved your country’s eID more than 12 months ago. EU member states have 12 months to adapt their technical system to enable the use of a foreign eID.

Is there an overview of the government organisations where I can log in?

There is no overview for the Netherlands. If you want to log in and access a public service in the Netherlands, you will have to find out yourself if that organisation offers an online login option. For example, does it have a login page? If that is the case, then you should be able to use your EU-approved eID to access that public service. This is also indicated by a login button with the text ‘European login’ or ‘Login with an EU-approved login key’ (‘Inloggen met een Europees erkend inlogmiddel’). You can recognise the login button by the EU flag shown beside it. If you have any questions about logging in, please contact the organisation’s customer service department.

How can I access the online services offered by a Dutch government organisation?

The Dutch government advises organisations to include a login button with an EU flag beside it on their login page.

After clicking the login button, you can select the EU member state that issued your approved login key. You must then follow the steps of the login process to access your personal page with information from that organisation.

Please note:

Some government organisations can only allow you to access your personal information if you provide your citizen service number (burgerservicenummer; BSN). The first time you log in you will be asked to link your citizen service number to your login key. You will be taken through the necessary steps. If you do not have a citizen service number, there is no way to access those organisations’ services online.

Who can get a citizen service number?

The Dutch government assigns a unique citizen service number to every person who lives and/or works in the Netherlands. You can also get a citizen service number if you have property or assets that are taxable in the Netherlands.

I do not have a citizen service number. What should I do?

Some Dutch government organisations will let you log in without a citizen service number. If you have an EU-approved eID but no citizen service number, you can still log in to these organisations’ websites.

If you think you may be entitled to a citizen service number (BSN), register in the Non-residents Record Database (RNI)

I do not have a login key. What should I do?

The government of the country of which you are a citizen can provide information about requesting a login key. The Dutch government cannot help you with this. There is an overview of contact information for each EU member state.

I have several login keys. What should I do?

If you have more than one login key, you can choose which login key you want to use to access public services in the Netherlands. Some organisations require your login key to be linked to your citizen service number (BSN). In that case, you will need to link each of your login keys to your citizen service number. To do this, log in with each login key and enter your citizen service number when prompted. You only have to do this once for each login key. After that, your citizen service number is linked to that login key.