Most public services in Norway prefer to send digital letters to people instead of regular letters in the mail. This does not only save them a lot of money, but also reduces the chance that someone else will get access to your mail, reduces the ecological impact, and gets you the letters a lot faster.
Most people might think that any e-mail provider is good enough, but a digital mailbox is a bit different from an e-mail. The Norwegian digital mailbox is tied to your identity, and much more secure than an e-mail inbox is.
If you’re living in Norway, then you will want to get a digital mailbox to make your life a bit easier. Let’s take a closer look at how to get your digital mailbox set up!
Getting your digital mailbox from Digipost
To register for a digital mailbox from Digipost, go to their website, choose English in the top right corner, and click on “Register”. Verify your identity with BankID and fill in all the info. Choose a password, and your digital mailbox is ready to go!
It’s completely free of charge to get a digital mailbox, and all citizens who are living in Norway will be able to get one. You will need a BankID to register for a digital mailbox, so make sure to get BankID from your bank before you sign up for Digipost.
The entire sign-up process should only take a few minutes at most. If the government already knows your e-mail and phone number (these are needed to notify you when you get a new digital letter), they will already be filled in, and you pretty much only need to confirm your details.
Digipost is owned by Posten, the official postal system in Norway. It’s also possible to get a digital mailbox from E-boks (owned by Nets and PostNord), but I have not tried that one since I’m happy with Digipost. Digipost is by far the biggest digital mailbox provider in Norway.
However, both should meet the same standard requirements when it comes to safety and usability, so either option is fine.
Using the digital mailbox
Digipost works a lot like a read-only e-mail. You get an e-mail or SMS telling you that you have a new Digipost in your inbox, and then you simply log in with your username and password. If the content of the letter is considered sensitive, you will also have to verify your identity with BankID.
When you access the inbox, simply click on any of the letters to open them. These are typically read-only, and you usually won’t be able to respond to them. Think of them just like a real letter, only digital.
Signing digital contracts on Digipost
The digital mailbox can be used for more than just regular letters, and it can in fact be used for doing things like signing digital documents. So if you do things like apply for a loan or a credit card, or get another type of digital contract, this will be sent directly to your Digipost inbox. From there, read the contract, then use BankID to sign it.
These digital contracts are just as safe and legal as any regular contract, so it’s a nice way to save you from going down to the bank just to sign a document.
I have only used the digital contracts on Digipost a few times, and I would say that they are still pretty rare in 2022, but perhaps they will become increasingly common in a few years from now?
Who should get a Norwegian digital mailbox?
Anyone who is living in Norway for more than a few months will want to get a digital mailbox. It will make any interaction with government, county or municipality a lot faster and easier.
You will typically get letters from any healthcare system like doctors or the hospital, UDI (responsible for all immigration), Skatteetaten (the tax office), the police, NAV (social security system), or any other government official system like that.
There are also private organizations that cooperate with Digipost, allowing them to send you digital letters if you are a registered client. These are typically businesses such as banks, electrical companies etc. You will have to accept to get letters from private companies digitally.
You will need a Norwegian identity number, either a personnummer or a D number to get a digital mailbox. This again requires you to have an address in Norway and have a plan to stay here for longer than 3 months. In addition, you need to be at least 15 years old to get a digital mailbox.
Reasons why you will want to get a digital mailbox
If you’re living in Norway, then you will probably want to get a digital mailbox sooner rather than later. Some of the best reasons to get a digital mailbox are:
- It reduces the chance of identify fraud.
- You get your mail a lot faster.
- There is very little risk of postbox theft.
- You can easily save your letters, so you won’t have to save a big stack of papers at home from official government interactions.
- You can access it even when you are not at your home address.
- It reduces the environmental impact due to reduced paper production.
- You get longer deadlines for applications, complaints etc. that have deadlines. This is because the letter will arrive 2 – 5 days earlier in the digital inbox compared to in the physical mailbox.
- You get to keep getting official mail even if you move away from Norway again.
- You won’t lose any mail if you change addresses, or the postal service just loses your mail for some reason.
Both seasonal workers, international students, immigrants and anyone who is moving to Norway for more than a few months should get a digital mailbox. The downsides are virtually none since it’s completely free of charge.
It is not free for companies to send digital letters
You might think that the shift over to digital mailboxes in Norway would make it free for the government or municipalities to send letters to users, but it’s not.
For some reason the Norwegian government decided to outsource the creation of this digital mailbox to external parties, which is why Digipost is owned by Posten. This means that Digipost can charge for all digital letters, and it will cost the public some money every time they send a digital letter.
However, while not being free, sending these digital letters are typically cheaper then printing out and sending physical letters in the mail, so it’s an overall cost reduction. It also typically save the businesses a lot of money since it’s much faster than printing and shipping physical letters in the mail.