Frequently Asked Questions

Biometric identification allows you to register your full-access Smart-ID account (or to update your account).

Before you start, please check that you meet all the requirements for biometric registration and have everything you need at hand.

You do? Good!

Take your time reading the tips and recommendations on this page. Paying attention is especially important if biometric registration method is your only alternative. Multiple failed attempts will result in the document you are using being locked, meaning you won’t be able to use it for biometric Smart-ID registration ever again!


1.  Pay attention: only a limited number of tries

Your personal data needs to be protected and we need to be absolutely sure that no-one else is trying to create Smart-ID accounts in your name (‘identity theft’). This means that our system has to meet the strictest of security standards. As soon as there is any reason to suspect that your document is being used by someone else or that your smart device is at risk, biometric registration will be halted and the document used for the registration will be locked.

So what does our system view as a risky behaviour? It could be anything from you being unable to spell your name correctly to attempting to scan an invalid document. Most of these mistakes are just that, simple mistakes and accidental mishaps, but they still count. Do not try to see if you could ‘cheat’ the system or test what you can get away with!

As soon as there is reason to suspect that your data might be at risk, your document will be locked – this means that our system will permanently block it from being used for Smart-ID biometric registration.

Do not start the biometric identification process unless you…

  • have at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted time and privacy
  • have got all you need at hand
  • are able to complete the whole registration process (including scanning the document and taking a selfie) in one go.

Read more about the requirements for biometric identification and if you’ve already had a failed go at it, make sure you know what different error messages mean and how to fix them.


2.  Most common mistakes and how to avoid them


Rushing leads to errors

Most of the mistakes happen because of rushing: not enough time is taken to really read the instructions on the screen. For example, writing your first- or last name in the wrong field; multitasking while filling in the forms etc.

Our tip is to not start the registration process until you’re really ready and have the time for it. Make sure that your document is at hand (and out of its protective sleeve if you’re using one), you are in a well-lit room and have your privacy and that there is a stable flat surface like a desk, windowsill or a shelf for you to place your passport and/or phone on etc. If you’re worried about misunderstanding instructions or about taking a photo of yourself, ask a friend for help.


NFC scanner fails to read the document chip

NFC scanning may be interrupted by other apps on your phone – even those you might not be aware of. Our general recommendation is to close all apps when performing biometric registration (yes, all). The other tip is to place the document on something solid like a table instead of trying to scan it while holding it in your hand.

The NFC scanners are usually able to locate and read the biometric chip even if the document is the wrong way around or upside down. If the scanner on your phone has issues locating or reading the chip, try scanning the document from the other side or opening the passport up.

NB! If your document is a in a sleeve, protective case or a purse, take it out before scanning!

Do not rush, give your NFC scanner enough time to read the data.

If the scanning fails persistently, it’s most likely because of a software issue with the scanner on the phone. It is very rare for the actual biometric chip of your document to be damaged: if that’s the case, your only option is to apply for a new document.


Taking a photo of yourself fails

During the biometric registration process our system has to check that the person using the document matches the person on the photo of that document – much like a bank employee would if you went to the bank office. But there is one big difference: a human has a long interaction time to come to a conclusion while there is a lot less time and flexibility allowed for technical systems. Take the selfie-phase of the registration seriously!

  • For the camera to work properly, you need to be in a well-lit room, standing in front of a still background. Avoid taking your picture in a crowded place, with animated backgrounds or standing in front of lit screens like billboards, TV’s or computers.
  • Do not talk, laugh or chew your gum while using the camera and do not try to see if you could ‘trick’ or ‘confuse’ the facial recognition by changing expressions, using different props, trying out facial hair and hairstyles etc.
  • Make sure that your hand is steady. Lean your hand on a table or against a shelf or a wall for stability; check that the lens of the camera is clean etc.
  • Do not worry about ‘looking good’. This selfie taking phase is only needed to confirm your identity and the photos will not be used anywhere, ever. So do not worry about the wrinkles in your shirt, your makeup being perfect or your hair being slightly out of place, it really doesn’t matter.


Permanent and/or unsolvable problems during registration

On very rare occasions the issues you might run into during registration process could be more serious or of a more permanent nature. For example your biometric registration might fail because your document has been locked for security reasons; your previous Smart-ID account data doesn’t match your current data or your personal details do not match those in the national population register; the document has expired or is invalid for other reasons; the biometric chip has been damaged etc.

Please check the list of error messages during biometric registration and if necessary, contact our customer service for advice.


3.  What happens when my document gets “locked”?

If there have been too many mistakes during the registration (it doesn’t matter whether they were human errors, random mishaps or if you just wanted to test the system), your document will get locked. This means that while you can still use your document for its intended purpose (including as a travel document), it will be blocked from being used for biometric registration of Smart-ID accounts.

The first time it happens you’ll get a temporary time lock, for example 24h. If it happens on multiple occasions, your document will get permanently locked.

NB! Permanent locks really are permanent! Permanently locked documents can never be used again for biometric Smart-ID registration and the lock cannot be removed either by you or our customer service team. The document itself will remain unaffected so you can still use it in all other channels.

If your document has been permanently locked and you still need a Smart-ID account, you have to use a different registration method or a different applicable document to register biometrically. It is also worth knowing that if the document that got locked was your ID-card, you can still use the ID-card for electronic identification: the lock only applies to the biometric registration method.


So, how to make sure you’re successful when using biometric registration? 

Make sure you pay attention to the instructions and get set before you start. Have all the things you need at hand, make sure you’ve got enough uninterrupted time, close all other applications on your phone and choose an environment that is quiet, stable and well-lit for the camera to work.

Please be especially careful if this is the only registration method you could use, for example if you’re abroad and can’t authenticate your account electronically or by visiting a bank office!