How to use the eID Function

Here we explain step by step how to use the eID function successfully.

Blonde woman with cell phone, tablet and laptop

Source: Governikus GmbH & Co. KG

Blonde woman with cell phone, tablet and laptop

Step 1: Requirements

The following requirements must be met before you can use the eID function:

  • The eID function of your ID card or electronic residence permit must be activated. With the eID card, this is activated automatically.
  • You must know your self-selected, six-digit PIN or have your transport PIN at hand. You must change the transport PIN to a self-selected, six-digit PIN before using the eID function for the first time.
  • AusweisApp must be installed.
  • An NFC-enabled smartphone or USB card reader must be at hand.

Detailed information on these requirements can be found here.

Step 2: Preparation

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Using the eID function directly on your smartphone

If a website can be navigated easily via smartphone and no lengthy applications or forms need to be filled out, it is convenient to use the eID function directly on your smartphone. You can read out your ID card directly via the integrated NFC chip. All you need to do is install AusweisApp on your smartphone.

Using your smartphone as an external card reader

You can use AusweisApp on your laptop and connect a smartphone as a card reader to read out your ID card. This alternative is useful if a website has not been optimized for mobile use or if it is more convenient to complete your task on a larger screen.

To use your smartphone as a card reader with a laptop, install AusweisApp on both your laptop and your smartphone. Then set up your smartphone as a card reader. 

Using an USB card reader

To use an USB card reader with a laptop, install AusweisApp on the laptop. Then connect your USB card reader and open the settings in AusweisApp. Under the item USB card reader you can install missing drivers if necessary.

Notes on tablets

Of course, you can also use AusweisApp on your tablet. A few tablets are equipped with an NFC chip and can be used directly for reading the ID card. With most tablets, however, you have to use your smartphone as a card reader. We explain how this works here.

Step 3: Online Identification

  1. 1.

    If used on a laptop, first open AusweisApp. If used on your smartphone, you can go directly to step 2.

  2. 2.

    On the authority's or provider's website where you want to identify yourself, select login/registration with eID function.

  3. 3.

    The service will then redirect you from its website to AusweisApp. Follow the instructions given in AusweisApp to successfully identify yourself online.

  4. 4.

    When prompted by AusweisApp, place your ID card directly on the NFC interface of your smartphone or insert it into the USB card reader and enter your PIN.

Tips for Successful Readout with your Smartphone

  • Remove the case from your smartphone, because it may interfere with the NFC connection.
  • Charge the battery sufficiently or connect the charging cable
  • Try putting the ID card in different places to locate the position of the NFC interface
  • If there are any problems, restart the app or the smartphone

Try It Out

Check Device and ID Card

On your smartphone, AusweisApp offers you the feature "Check device and ID card". Using this, you can find out whether your smartphone meets all the technical requirements for reading out the ID card and whether the eID function of your ID card is activated. Give it a try straight away!

See my Personal Data

If the test of smartphone and ID card was successful, you can use the feature "See my personal data" to perform a test authentication. With this function, the data stored on your ID card, electronic residence permit or eID card is read out and displayed. You can thus perform a self-authentication.

The app manufacturer, Governikus GmbH & Co. KG, offers this service and therefore appears as the provider with whom you want to identify yourself. After entering your PIN and a successful data transfer, your personal data will be displayed in AusweisApp. This is purely a demonstration service, i.e. the data read out is only displayed and neither stored nor passed on.