Skip to Content

Population registers of Finland and Estonia use Data Exchange Layer to exchange information

Publication date 21.9.2020 13.00
Press release

As from 21 September 2020, the Finnish Digital Agency and the Ministry of the Interior of Estonia will launch automatic exchange of information between the countries’ population registers. The data transfer will be implemented using the Data Exchange Layer and the corresponding Estonian solution, X-tee.

The automatic exchange of information is based on the collaboration agreement concluded in 2005 by the population register authorities of Finland and Estonia on updating the data of their citizens living in the other country. Until now, the data has been requested and provided on average once a year. Thanks to a new technical solution, it will be possible to retrieve data from the other country’s population register whenever necessary.

The use of the interface in the Data Exchange Layer will be started by the Ministry of the Interior of Estonia, which will now be able to retrieve up-to-date information on Estonian citizens living in Finland from Finland’s Population Information System. Correspondingly, the same is possible for Finland.

The information to be exchanged includes the details of the deaths, name changes and changes of address of the citizens living in the other country and the details of their born dependent children.

“Estonia and Finland have been exchanging information on their citizens’ place of residence regularly since 2005. The new automatic data transfer will remove manual work stages from the processing of this data and save time. The data will also be more correct and up-to-date than before,” says Riina Solman, Minister of Population of Estonia.

Enel Pungas, Head of the Population Facts Department at the Ministry of the Interior of Estonia, points out that there are almost 53,000 Estonian citizens living in Finland. “Thanks to the new technical solution, their information can be kept up to date and they do not need to notify the changes in their details in Finland themselves,” Pungas says.

Data transfer is based on jointly maintained technology

The data is transferred from one population register to the other using the Data Exchange Layer and Estonia’s X-tee data exchange layer. Both solutions are based on a technology originally developed in Estonia and currently developed and maintained by the countries together.

The data exchange layers provide a standardised, reliable and secure means of transferring data between different organisations and, in this case, also between two countries.

“The Data Exchange Layer enables better use of official data also in cross-border services, which is the future development trend,” says Deputy Director General Timo Salovaara, head of the Services Division at the Finnish Digital Agency. “The Nordic countries and the Baltic States are pioneers in the digitalisation of public administration and the collaboration related to it. By continuing and deepening this collaboration, we can provide the people moving between our countries with electronic public services that function even better and are suitable for different life situations.”

Data transfer may be extended in the future

The automatic exchange of population register data that will now be launched is already the second solution using a data exchange layer in the transfer of official data between Finland and Estonia. Automatic transfer of data between the countries’ business registers was launched earlier this year.

Finland and Estonia have discussed the possibility to extend the automatic information exchange based on a data exchange layer in the future. This may open up new opportunities in the development of digital public services related to the movement of people and immigration, which regulations such as the EU Regulation establishing a single digital gateway (SDG) obligates Member States to carry out.

The Ministry of the Interior of Estonia and the Finnish Digital Agency act as the central authorities maintaining the population register of their country.

Contact details

Timo Salovaara, Deputy Director General, Finnish Digital Agency, tel. +358 295 535 303, [email protected]

Additional information

The Ministry of the Interior of Estonia will publish a press release on the topic at the same time with the Finnish Digital Agency.


More information on Data Exchange Layer