The Austrian e-card as a Citizen Card (buergerkarte)

Published on: 11/06/2007

The Citizen Card function on the e-card is part of the e-government strategy in Austria and is contributing to the modernisation of administration. The e-card incorporates “sleeping“ signature functions in line with the Signature Law and the Administrative Signature Regulation and includes three signature applications - the digital signature with qualified certificates (for e-government applications, on equal terms by one's own hand signature), the customary signature (for standard applications) and the social insurance signature (replacement for the sickness certificate).

Policy Context

The A-trust (Association for Safety Systems at electronic data communicatione) is the Certification Service Provider. With a view to modern Goverment structures and procedures the goals of the Citizen Card are: • unique differentiation from other persons (identity). • unforgeability of information, i.e. the content claimed indeed matches the actual content (integrity). • authenticity of a declaration of intent or action; the originator claimed is also the actual originator (authenticity).

Description of target users and groups

Citizen Card services are also provided for different target groups: - Contractual partner e.g.: Electronic workflow for inclusion into reimbursement codex This online service allows companies with sales authorisation to perform fully electronic requests to include and change the reimbursement codex. - Contractors e.g.: Dg-net - access to employer-related data in the Internet The employer information system is a service for employer and tax advisers. This service grants read access to employer accounts. - Pharmaceutical industry e.g.: Electronic workflow for inclusion into reimbursement codex This online service allows companies with sales authorisation to perform fully electronic requests to include and change the reimbursement codex. The Austrian social insurance system also offers its own delivery service.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

Due to the project's size, various players were involved in the process of developing and providing the service of the Citizen Card function of which the most important ones were: The SVC (Sozialversicherungs Chipkarten Betriebs- und Errichtungsgesellschaft m. b. H) and the Main Association of Austrian Insurance Institutions. Multi-channel issues: 1. The digital signature on the e-card can be activated via the internet on the e-card. 2. Possession of a valid e-card.  3. Access to the Internet (a broadband connection is recommended). 4. An appropriate card reader must be installed. Ensure to use the most up-to-date drivers. Each card manufacturer provides a recommendation for card readers. 5. The Citizen Card environment must be installed, correctly configured and started. Follow the instructions and heed the information provided in user handbooks. The Citizen Card environment can be downloaded free-of-charge from

Main results, benefits and impacts

Impact: Enabling the Citizen Card function on the e-card is simple – either register with a Social Insurance Registration Office or via the web portal On registering, the card holder receives the secure data for his/her Citizen Card which is then stored on the e-card (certificate and identity link). The citizen him/herself can enable the electronic signature (the certificate). The activation code is available via registered post letter with return receipt (RP letter). In Austria there are different forms of the Citizen Card, such as the “a.sign premium“ signature card from the Certification Service Provider, the cash card with signature, the mobile phone signature and the e-card Citizen Card. All forms of the Citizen's card include a secure signature and the identity link. Optionally they can be provided by a mandate that empowers the owner to act on behalf of another legal entity or natural person. The following functions are provided by the e-card: • key and signature card.• storage for name, date of birth, gender, social insurance number and card sequence number .• European health insurance card (valid in all EU and EEA Member States) • components for electronic signatures. The key pair (private and public key) is already configured. Unambiguous identity is guaranteed with data comparison between the Austrian Health Insurance System and the central register of residents. If identification can not be established unambiguously on comparing data, a data correction procedure is to be initiated by the applicant. No additional costs are incurred by the e-card Citizen. Innovation: It is possible to use the Citizen Card for applications within the Austrian social insurance system. For instance (the range is continuously being enlarged):• Summary of insurance details: The summary of insurance details is a statement of all previously acquired social insurance details about a citizen. However, it does not show any monetary amounts. It provides information in terms of insurance over which citizen was insured. It also provides information on contribution bases (the contribution amount that the person was insured for) and the origin of the data contained in the summary of insurance details (e.g. employer). • Status of insured person: basic health insurance data. This service determines that an insurance number, contains up-to-date (up to the date of processing) health insurance claims from available insurance terms and dependant relationships in the central database at the Association of Austrian social insurance providers. The dependant relationships are provided, including the basic personal data of the dependant and the relationship of the typified attributes (e.g. dependant type, extension reason, etc.). • Application for childcare benefit: Childcare benefit was introduced in place of the previous maternity benefit. This online form allows the legal signing of the the Citizen Card's application. • Pension application: This online form allows a pension application to be submitted online. Strictly, a signature with the Citizen Card is required for the submission of this form, although it is possible to send applications unsigned (e.g. keeping the deadline). Applications must, however, be signed at a later date. • Service information: This online query allows the user to see, which health insurance services were used in the previous calendar year. • Contribution assessment notice: The self-employed have read access to all contribution assessment notices since 1Q2002.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

The following federal, state and local authority Citizen Card applications are provided: • Finanz Online: Finanz Online is the virtual Inland Revenue office in the Internet. • Registration confirmation: This service allows a citizen to request a registration confirmation online both for him/herself and for any person for whom he/she has the duty to register. • Criminal record check: Each citizen can  use a Citizen Card signature; request a criminal record certificate online and pay the prescribed fees electronically. • is an Internet platform, which spans across authorities and provides information on official channels in Austria. • Delivery service: It is possible to receive official documents electronically – also correspondence for delivery by hand (RP letters) - using the electronic delivery service. The benefit is that there is no need to visit the post office and the document is available in a digital format. The service is free-of-charge. On receipt, the Citizen Card is used to confirm the rightful recipient. • Telebanking.

The following Citizen Card applications are provided by Austrian universities: • Student ID: It is possible to store the Citizen Card function on many student IDs. • Application for study grant:  Applications for study grants can be signed using the Citizens Card.

Lessons learnt

Each citizen can use his/her e-card as a personal ID card and take advantage of e-government services. This way, official business can be performed electronically with the e-card from the comfort of the user’s home 24 hours a day. The above mentioned functions have already brought substantial benefits to a number of citizens and as the services are constantly being reviewed, improved and extended; the benefits for the customers will grow accordingly.

Scope: National