Estonian and Finnish population registry data moves to X-Road platform

Finnish and Estonian flags. Source: Riigikogu.

Data exchange between the population registers of Estonia and Finland has partially switched to the X-Road data exchange platform, the Estonian Ministry of the Interior said on Monday.

The exchange of data between the two registers takes place once every week and ensures the correctness of the data in both registers. 

Population Minister Riina Solman (Isamaa) said in a press release: "Estonia and Finland have been exchanging information about place of residence on a regular basis already since 2005. To date, files have been forwarded for doing it.

She explained that with the new automatic X-Road solution much less work and time is needed to complete the procedure and continuous development keeps the data of the population registers correct and up-to-date.

In addition, the exchange of data about place of residence between the countries helps to save the time of our people, as they no longer have to file a separate application to change the data  concerning their place of residence, Solman said.

Timo Salovaara, departmental head and deputy director at Finland's digital and population information authority, said that the service portal enables to better use official information also with cross-border services, which is a future trend. 

Almost 53,000 citizens of Estonia permanently live in Finland, and with the previous arrangement of data exchange their relocations within Finland did not get recorded in the Estonian population register. The new arrangement works in such way that when a person registers their place of residence or an additional address in Finland, Finland will send information about it to the Estonian population register.

Based on the information received, inquiries concerning information about said people will be made in the future automatically using the X-Road service, and if necessary the data will be updated also in the Estonian population register.

The presence of correct data about Estonian citizens living in a foreign country in the Estonian population register is important in order for it to be possible for the state to contact its citizens if necessary, the interior ministry said. 

Estonia and Finland concluded an agreement on the exchange of population register data in 2005. The existing agreement regulates the exchange, processing and protection of data, and lists the data that the registers exchange with each other.

The currently valid agreement only deals with exchanges of data about the place of residence, and not data about family events. A new data exchange agreement that is being prepared will replace the existing agreement, expanding the scope of the data that will be exchanged.

Estonian and Finnish registries have started to exchange data over the X-Road over the last two years, as the commercial registry already exchanges data over the data exchange layer. A similar agreement to do so was reached with Latvia in 2018.

What is the X-Road?

X-Road® software based solution X-tee is the backbone of the Estonian e-state. It allows the nation's various public and private sector e-service information systems to link up and function in harmony. It is used by more than 1,000 organizations and enterprises every day.

Estonia's e-solution environment includes a full range of services for the general public, and since each service has its own information system they all use X-tee to communicate. To ensure secure transfers, all outgoing data is digitally signed and encrypted, and all incoming data is authenticated and logged.

It connects different information systems that may include a variety of services. It has developed into a tool that can also write to multiple information systems, transmit large data sets and perform searches across several information systems simultaneously.

The service has also been implemented in Finland, Kyrgyzstan, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Japan and other countries. Similar technology has also been implemented in Ukraine and Namibia.

Read more here.

Overview of Estonia's X-Road approach. Source: (


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste, Helen Wright

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