Obtaining a right for access to state secrets

It is possible to obtain a right for access to state secrets:

  • by virtue of office;
  • under the decision of a head of an agency;
  • under a Personnel Security Clearance;
  • in relation to the adoption of witness protection measures;
  • by the ruling of an investigation institution, prosecutor's office or court.

Right for access by virtue of office

Right for access to any level of state secret is by virtue of office to the following individuals:

  • President of the Republic;
  • member of the Parliament;
  • member of the Government of the Republic;
  • a judge;
  • Commander and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces;
  • Chancellor of Justice and Deputy Chancellor of Justice-Adviser;
  • Auditor General;
  • President of the Bank of Estonia, Chairman and member of the Executive Board of the Bank of Estonia;
  • Director General of the Data Protection Inspectorate.

President of the Republic, members of the Parliament and members of the Government of the Republic shall not pass security vetting prior to obtaining a right for access to state secrets. The officials listed under 4 - 9 pass security vetting at the time they are in the so-called candidate status.

Right for access to state secrets classified as RESTRICTED

Right for access to state secrets classified as restricted is granted to civil servants of state agencies and employees of the Bank of Estonia by the head of an agency, stipulating by the relevant directive the list of positions where the employees need a right for access to state secrets classified as restricted.

In other cases a right for access to state secrets classified as restricted is granted:

  • by the relevant minister (to employees of the agencies within the area of government of the ministry; to employees of private enterprises depending on which ministry the enterprise has contractual relations with that presuppose a right for access to state secrets);
  • in the Chancellery of the Parliament, the Office of the President of the Republic, the State Chancellery, the Office of the Chancellor of Justice, the Bank of Estonia, courts, the National Audit Office and in the security authorities by the head of the respective agency (as well as to employees of private enterprises with whom the respective institution or agency has contractual relations);
  • in the Financial Supervision Authority by the President of the Bank of Estonia.

Right for access to state secrets under a Personnel Security Clearance

A person who wishes to obtain a right for access to state secrets classified as 'confidential', 'secret' or 'top secret', has to pass security vetting and obtain a Personnel Security Clearance. A Personnel Security Clearance shall be issued for a specific term and to a specific level of state secrets. In order to access state secrets classified as 'confidential', a Personnel Security Clearance shall be issued to a person for up to seven years. The term of a Personnel Security Clearance for state secrets classified as 'secret' and 'top secret' is up to 5 years.