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Difference between e-mail and electronic mailbox

Dear users,

a form of electronic communication is mentioned everywhere around us because it is very simple. It saves a lot of time and you can handle a lot of things from comfort of your home. There is no exception for official communication with authorities, which is switched into virtual environment.

First of all, there is a common characteristic for both e-mail and electronic mailbox such as both need to be used only with Internet connection and they are designed for the electronic communication, through which it is possible to receive, send, store messages or documents. Visually, the e-mail is very similar to the electronic mailbox, which contributes to simple use in practice.

The differences between them are mainly in the way of establishment, use, purpose of the communication, access to the various tools, etc.

Illustrative image - E-mail and electronic mailbox comparison

Figure 1 - Graphic illustration of the e-mail and electronic mailbox comparison

The Purpose

The e-mail can be used for communication between two and more users, while the addressees and the content of messages are not limited in any way, you can virtually send anything to anyone.

In the case of the electronic mailbox, the purpose is the official online communication with the public administration (e.g. authorities, court, social insurance office, etc.) which is the full equivalent of an official communication. These may include official documents (decisions) sent by public authorities and, submissions (applications) sent to public authorities by natural and legal person.

Via the electronic mailbox the user may apply the "e-Procedure" of particular form, or a general form “electronic submission” in case the public authority do not provide its own electronic form. Through the slovensko.sk portal each public authority has registered the “General Agenda” form at least.


Establishing an e-mail is very easy, just register with one of the providers and choose your login details. To create an email account, the user must reach the age of 16.

The establishment of an electronic mailbox is regulated by the Act no.305/2013 Coll. on e-Government (only in Slovak), according to which the electronic mailbox is established for natural persons, natural persons – entrepreneurs, legal persons, public authorities and for entities of international law. The electronic mailbox is established to citizens of the Slovak Republic, i.e. natural persons automatically while turning the age of 18. In case of natural persons – entrepreneurs and legal persons – the electronic mailbox shall be set up automatically after the entry in the register.

Logging into the electronic mailbox is possible through the portal slovensko.sk. For more information, see the “Start Now” section. For logging from another EU state you can log in with "eIDAS Node".

Conditions for use

In addition to the internet connection, you need an electronic device such as mobile phone, a tablet, or a computer in case of e-mail.  

Several tools are needed to log in to an electronic mailbox, as sensitive data and documents with legal effects may be included. For access to electronic mailbox you need an eID card with electronic chip and a Personal Security code - BOK (from Slovak original - bezpečnostný osobný kód) that you use for signature online.

In addition, you should request to upload certificates for signatures so that you can sign the submissions with a qualified electronic signature - KEP (from Slovak original - kvalifikovaný elektronický podpis). You can also apply for certificates online, find more information in the related "User Guide". For the eID card you will also need a card reader (you get it for free when applying for an eID card) and the relevant software, which is available free of charge in one installation package on the portal slovensko.sk in the Download section.  

For more information about logging in to the electronic mailbox see "User Guide".

Receiving and sending messages

E-mail communication is very simple. You can write, send and receive a message or a document, it is also possible to see everything email message include. However, if you send an e-mail to the authority and handwritten signature is require, the filing must be completed in paper form.

In case of an electronic mailbox, it is possible to apply the electronic submission online with qualified electronic signature and the time stamp, which fully replace the filling in paper form. The mailbox does not need to be activated for delivery to send submissions. The mailbox needs to be activated for delivery to receive electronic official documents (decisions). If you activate an electronic mailbox, the official decisions will come directly to your mailbox.

Only public authorities can send an official decision to electronic mailbox. Please note that such delivery to an electronic mailbox has the same legal effects as a deed and it is necessary to pay attention to the legal effects and the running of time limits. It is recommended that notifications are set to e-mail or via SMS to notify a new message.

Natural persons and entrepreneurs can activate the electronic mailbox for delivery voluntarily. For more information, see the Instructions for activation of the electronic mailbox. Legal entities registered in the Commercial Register and public authorities have an electronic mailbox activated by law.


The email account (profile) can be cancelled/disabled at any time without giving a reason.

The electronic mailbox and its contents can be deleted in the event of the death of a natural person, declaration of death, extinction of a legal person without a legal successor after the expiration of 3 years from the date on which the founder of the mailboxes becomes aware of this fact from the relevant reference register. In the case of a public authority (its branch or organisation within its competence) it is possible to cancel the electronic mailbox upon request within the time limit specified in the request.

The electronic mailbox can be deactivated only in the case of natural persons and individuals – entrepreneurs who have requested its activation for delivery voluntarily.


In contrast to a regular e-mail, the electronic mailbox provides greater protection for sensitive data. You are not only logging in with your name and password, but with the eID card. Connection with the eID card takes place through an authentication system that is securely encrypted. EID card with electronic chip´ s data are protected by security mechanisms and personal security code (BOK). Only authorised entities with an appropriate access certificate can obtain data from the chip, the eID card is so effectively protected against security threats such as imitation, theft, data alteration or cloning.

At the same time, every user of an e-mail or electronic mailbox should ensure safe use. The first step of security for both tools is the password/BOK, which you can choose for yourself. We don't recommend that you use your birth number as a BOK code. Select random digits. It is also important that you do not share this data with others, so that no one else has access and cannot be misused. If you need to write down your data to remember, be sure to store it in a safe place (e.g. do not store the BOK code directly to your ID card). When you log in from the electronic device, do not forget to log out correctly and then turn off your browser so that no one else can access the data.


Last modified: 20. 9. 2021
Publication date: 19. 8. 2021