Estonia and Finland sign agreement simplifying state procedures for citizens

12.12.2011 | 11:29

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Turku, 12 December 2011 – Estonian prime minister Andrus Ansip and his Finnish counterpart Jyrki Katainen signed an agreement today nullifying the requirement to get documents issued by the two countries’ population registers legalised. This will simplify everyday procedures for citizens of both nations in their dealings with the state, making it both quicker and cheaper. Based on the agreement, extracts from the population registers of Estonia and Finland that are issued in English will now be recognised without an accompanying apostille and translation. Until now, all documents sought to be used in the other country have had to be translated and certified in accordance with the Hague convention – i.e. with an apostille. Such certification costs €11 in Finland and €26.80 in Estonia, with the additional costs of translation.

The agreement means that this formality has been waived for population register extracts, which set out a person’s birth, death, marriage and family status and which to date have accounted for as much as 90% of all document turnover. Since 1 January 2011, apostilles in Estonia have been issued by notaries. 2176 were issued for use in Finland in 2010, with a further 1660 issued so far this year. As such, the requirement being dropped will save Estonians around €35,000.

The agreement also establishes the principles of applying for the document, according to which the competent agencies (in this case the Estonian Population Register and the central agency of the Finnish Population Register) must submit applications through a diplomatic or consular representation. The documents will be issued free of charge. Individuals applying for the document are subject to the ordinary procedure, which requires them to pay a state fee in order to do so.

7462 separate instances of consular services being extended to Estonian citizens were recorded at the Estonian embassy in Helsinki in 2009; the same figure for 2010 was 8653, while for the first 10 months of 2011 alone it had risen to 11,116. Such services include applying for passports, registering births and certifying marital and family status. Legal assistance memoranda containing similar agreements have been signed by Estonia with Latvia, Lithuania and Russia.

A video of the government press conference held on 8 December at which Prime Minister Ansip explains the nature of the population register agreement between Estonia and Finland is available on the government’s website at http://valitsus.ee/et/uudised/videod#3552  and on its YouTube channel at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0ecdvp5WfU&feature=plcp&context=C21efeUDOEgsToPDskKH7XDksTTr7LYn4cEj6t9Q.

Photos from the signing of the agreement are available online at

http://valitsus.ee/UserFiles/valitsus/et/uudised/pildi-ja-video-album/peaminister/Ansip_Katainen_12.12.2011_1.jpg.

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