The population register is a database which unites the main personal data on Estonian citizens, citizens of the European Union who have registered their residence in Estonia and aliens who have been granted a residence permit or right of residence in Estonia. The register is maintained and developed by the Ministry of the Interior, as the chief administrator of the register.
State and local government agencies and legal and natural persons can access information in the population register in order to perform public duties, where the performance of public duties must be based on the main information of the population register. Natural and legal persons with legitimate interest can also access information in the population register.
The requirements for the protection of personal information must be followed in maintaining and issuing information in population register.
Information entered in the population register shall be used by both the state and local government agencies and Estonian residents in order to perform public duties or to simplify proceeding with matters according to established laws and limitations.
The correct information in the population register makes it possible for the state to perform their duties better. On the basis of the information in the population register, the state can plan the allocation of its funds more specifically and direct developments. In addition, the existence of accurate information ensures smoother dealing with matters for residents involving administrative agencies.
In cases prescribed by law, the information entered in the population register has legal effect; this means that if the law refers to the use of information in the population register, that information forms the basis for further proceedings.
- Population Register Act »
- Citizen of the European Union Act »
- Procedure for the formation and issue of a personal identification code »
- Forms for entering residence information in the population register and instructions for completing them »
- Application for correcting and amending information » (PDF)
- Application for restricting access to personal information » (790.79 KB, PDF)
- Access to information with legitimate interest »
- Access to information in order to perform a public duty »
Information contained in the population register
The population register contains the following information:
- given name and surname, birth data (date and place of birth), sex, personal identification code, citizenship, information on domicile and additional addresses, contact details (telephone number, e-mail address), information of the place of residence, marital status (single, married, widow/widower, divorced); information on mother, father, spouse and children, including right of custody; information on guardianship; restricted active legal capacity; data on death (the time and place of death); the highest completed education level and statement-based information about one’s ethnicity, mother tongue and the highest completed education level.
The information about the following documents is also entered in the population register:
- personal identification document; marital status certificate; document which certifies the changing of one’s data (concerning domicile and additional addresses, contact details, place of residence, the highest completed education level and statement-based information about one’s ethnicity, mother tongue and the highest completed education level); the document changing Estonian citizenship; the document certifying the basis for legally staying in the country and the document certifying that a personal identification code has been issued; the individual’s notices concerning their data; the notice of the issuer of the e-resident’s digital identity document about the individual’s e-residence.
In addition to personal information, the population register contains information on the processing of the register data; for example, on the time of entry in the register, the person entering the data and persons making inquiries about the data.
Information in the population register is preserved for an unspecified term. If the information entered in the population register loses its relevance, for example, the marital status of a person changes or a person dies, this information is transferred to the archives of the population register.
An adult has the right to access all up-to-date data concerning themselves, their minor children and persons under their guardianship as well as their deceased spouse and listed in subsection 1 of section 20 of the Population Register Act except for the data used for the maintenance of the population register (software-related and classifier codes, auxiliary processing lists and scanned documents).
Access to information in the population register
The relevant data, including extracts from the register, are issued by city and rural municipality governments as well as the organization authorized to process population register data, the Ministry of the Interior's IT and Development Centre (SMIT). One can also access one’s data by means of the population register’s e-service on the State Portal eesti.ee.
Access to the data contained in the population register is granted to institutions, legal entities and natural persons for the performance of public duties and in case of a legitimate interest. The data in the population register may be accessed by means of the following:
- the data exchange layer for information systems (X-tee);
- the processing software of the population register;
- the secure web environment;
- transferring data through a secure data communication network;
- encrypted on digital media; encrypted by e-mail, by registered mail or in person on paper or on digital media.
Access restrictionsA person has the right to restrict access to his or her personal data and related information in case of data processing for advertising or survey purposes. A person can also set the timeframe for access restriction and specify access to which data (domicile or residence) is to be restricted.
To establish access restrictions, a signed application (807.61 KB, PDF) needs to be submitted to the authorized administrator of the population register, SMIT, which is located at Mäealuse 2/2, 12618 in Tallinn. The application may be submitted in person, by post or electronically by e-mail: email@example.com. The application may also be submitted to the local government which will in turn forward it to the authorized administrator.
Information under restricted access may be issued from the population register only for the performance of public duties; that is, in cases where the information is required for the performance of functions assigned to the state or local government agencies, legal or natural persons by law or other legal acts.On the basis of a legitimate interest, information under restricted access cannot be issued to natural or legal persons.
Protection of information in the population register
The use of information in the population register shall be guided by the provisions of the Population Register Act and the Personal Data Protection Act. The protection of data shall be monitored by the Data Protection Inspectorate and the Ministry of the Interior as the authorised administrator. Upon maintenance of the population register, the protection of the private life of individuals shall be ensured.
Individuals who participate in the processing of information in the population register are required to maintain the confidentiality of the data in the population register and information on data protection measures which become known to them in the performance of their duties. The duty to maintain confidentiality applies even after the termination of their employment or service relationships.
Verification and correction of the information in the population register
An adult person has the right to access his or her information in the population register. A parent or a guardian has the right to access information regarding a minor child; in the case of a person with restricted active legal capacity, the right of access is granted to the guardian.
Access to the personal information entered in the population register is made possible through the information portal eesti.ee by using the e-services of the population register, by identifying yourself using an ID-card or through an internet bank.
Upon discovering a mistake in the data, an individual can notify the authorised administrator of the register, SMIT, or use the information portal eesti.ee or the e-services of the population register by identifying him or herself using an ID-card or through an internet bank. In addition, depending on the mistake discovered, it is possible to notify the local government of his or her residence.
If an individual wishes to change their own vital statistics information or that of their minor children or persons under their guardianship entered in the population register, they need to submit an application to the local government of the county center. The data concerning the place of residence entered in the population register are generally changed by the local government. In exceptional cases, the data can be changed by the authorized administrator of the population register. The data concerning the place of residence are changed on the basis of a notice of residence; on the initiative of the local government; upon the request of the owner of the dwelling; on the basis of a court decision or lease committee’s decision; in case the address is changed in the address data system; in accordance with the procedure under the Consular Act on the basis of the notice provided by the person permanently or temporarily residing abroad; or on the basis of the information received from a foreign institution.
Entry of personal information in the population register
Information in the population register shall be updated continuously by registering events happening to a person or issuing documents in state or local government agencies. The principal agents submitting such information are local government agencies, foreign missions of the Republic of Estonia, courts, the Police and Border Guard Board and other state agencies.
Information shall be entered in the population register using special software on the immediate registration of the event (birth, death, marriage, divorce, residence etc.) or on issuing the relevant document (identity document, passport, residence permit etc.).
For example, upon the registration of the birth of a child, an entry of a new born person shall appear in the population register with information about his or her given name, surname, sex, personal identification code, date and place of birth, parents’ right of custody, residence and, in certain cases, citizenship.
At the same time, there is information that can be submitted for entry in the population register only by the person him or herself. In addition to information about the person’s mother tongue, ethnicity and the highest completed education level collected for statistical purposes, such information includes data about the person’s place of residence, which can be entered or changed on the basis of a notice of residence submitted by the person.
Upon the registration of the birth of a child, the address of his or her mother entered in the population register is automatically registered as the address of the child.
Personal identification code
A personal identification code is a number formed on the basis of the sex and date of birth of a person which allows the specific identification of the person.
The basis for the formation of personal identification codes is the EVS 585:2007 standard “Personal identification code. Structure”, and the Population Register Act and the regulation by the Minister of Regional Affairs, which regulates the formation, distribution and granting of personal identification codes.
Personal identification code consists of 11 digits, the first of which shows the sex of a person and the next six show his or her date of birth. The following three digits are sequential numbers for children born on the same day and the last is a control number which is calculated according to a special formula.
A personal identification code is granted:
- to a child born in a health care institution in Estonia or ; for a child born in a foreign state, the personal identification code is formed when the birth document is entered in the population register;
- to a citizen of a foreign state with no personal identification code in the vital statistics office in case he or she is part of a family event registered in Estonia (e.g. marriage or birth of child);
- to people who have been granted right of residence in Estonia or who settle in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit;
- to people who are not permanent residents in Estonia but require a personal identification code for the entry of their data in the database of the Estonian state (e.g. for the Tax and Customs Board, Health Insurance Fund or Social Insurance Board).
If an individual stays in Estonia temporarily; for example, lives in Latvia but works in Estonia, he or she may submit an application for a personal identification code in the nearest local government of the county center in person. If an individual cannot submit an application in Estonia, he or she can do so in an Estonian foreign mission in a foreign state.
Citizens of the European Union can submit their application for a personal identification code to the local government agency together with their notice of residence.
Granting a personal identification code does not grant the right to stay, live or work in Estonia – these rights must proceed from other bases prescribed by law. For further information on the Right of residence of a citizen of the European Union read the next section.
A personal identification code shall be considered granted to a person after it is entered in the population register.
- Application for a personal identification code » (PDF)Annex 1 to the regulation by the Minister of the Interior
- Application for a personal identification code from a foreign state » (PDF)Annex 2 to the regulation by the Minister of the Interior
Citizens of the European Union who wish to settle in Estonia or want to be granted right of residence, must submit an application for a personal identification code in the city or rural municipal agency of their residence and a notice of residence to register their residence. For this purpose, they have to go in person to the city or rural municipal agency of their residence. For a minor child or child under guardianship, the application for a personal identification code and notice of residence can be submitted by a parent or guardian.The following have to be submitted to register one’s place of residence:
- notice of residence;
- identity document;
- for children, the birth document executed in compliance with the requirements;
- consent of the other parent to register the place of residence;
- aged at least 15, citizens of the European Union, a member state of the European Economic Area with the exception of Estonia, and citizens of the Swiss Confederation (hereinafter collectively referred to as EU citizens) have the right to perform procedural acts themselves (including the registration of their place of residence). The extension of administrative capacity for registering the place of residence to a minor EU citizen arises from the Citizens of the European Union Act in conjunction with the Population Register Act.
If the citizen of the European Union is not the owner of the property, he or she must submit a document certifying the right of use of the property or permission from the owner of the property to enter his or her property as the residence of the applicant in the population register.
All documents shall be in Estonian, Russian or English. If the documents are translated, the translation must be prepared by a sworn translator or certified by a notary. A document from a foreign state must be legalised or apostilled, unless otherwise specified by an international treaty.
Upon registration of residence, a citizen of the European Union is automatically granted a temporary residence permit for five years in Estonia. In order to be granted an ID-card certifying the right of residence, the person should turn to the Police and Border Guard Board after registering his or her residence.
If, after five years, the residence of a citizen of the European Union in Estonia is still registered in the population register, his or her temporary residence permit shall be automatically extended for another five years. At the same time, he or she can apply for a permanent residence permit in Estonia. For this purpose, the person should turn to the Police and Border Guard Board.
If a citizen of the European Union leaves Estonia to live in another country, he or she must submit a new notice of residence to the population register. Upon the submission of residence details in a foreign state, his or her temporary right of residence in Estonia shall be terminated. In order to terminate the validity of the ID-card, a citizen of the European Union must turn to the Police and Border Guard Board.
- Procedure for forming and issuing a personal identification code »Regulation by the Minister of the Interior
- Forms for entering residence data in the population register and instructions for completing them »
- Citizen of the European Union Act »Act by the Riigikogu from 2006
Records of voters
In Estonia, records of voters are maintained in the Population Register on the basis of the data contained in it (e.g. name, personal identification code, address of the place of residence, citizenship, etc.). The task of the Ministry of the Interior as responsible for the Population Register is to organise the preparation of the electoral roll and send voter’s cards to voters for the elections of the Riigikogu, the European Parliament and local government councils.
A voter is added to the electoral roll for the polling station in the territory that his or her place of residence is located in according to the data in the Population Register as of 30 days before the election date. Every voter is sent a voter’s card which contains information about the date and place of the election. Voters, whose @eesti.ee e-mail address has been redirected, are sent a voter’s card electronically to the e-mail address, while others are sent a voter’s card on paper.
The Ministry of the Interior is also responsible for sending notices to citizens of EU Member States who live in Estonia and have the right to vote informing them of their right to take part in the elections of local government councils and the European Parliament.