Questions and answers about the digital identity project 

On this page, you will find a list of questions and answers about the digital identity card.

What is a digital identity card?

A digital identity card makes it possible to provide proof of your personal data when using both electronic and in-person services. It will works as a smartphone or tablet application and will be issued alongside your passport and identity card.

Where and how can I use a digital identity card?

A digital identity card is an official identity document like a passport and identity card. It is designed to be used in many different daily service situations, including both in-person and digital services. For example, you could use it to prove your identity when picking up a package, to prove your age when buying age-restricted products, to prove your identity when applying for a strong electronic means of identification (online banking codes, mobile certificates) and when logging in to electronic services.

Digital identity cards will make it possible to prove your identity when using in-person services provided by both the public and private sectors, but using them with private-sector services will depend on whether the private sector is willing to adopt the new service. 

You will be able to use a digital identity card to log in to all electronic services provided by the public sector.

What benefits does a digital identity card provide? 

Digital identity cards will improve data security, flexibility and equality when proving one’s identity.

A digital identity card will make it easier for you to manage your personal data. This means that, in future, you will be able to decide what data to share. For example, when proving your age at a shop, it would be possible to display only your age instead of your entire personal identity code. 

Using a digital identity card will improve the protection of your privacy and data. The issuer of the digital identity card, i.e. the police or the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, will not be able to monitor how it is used.  

A digital identity card will be available to all Finns if they have a passport or identity card. This being the case, it will be independent of service providers or client relationships that are subject to a charge.

Do I have a say in what data my digital identity card displays?

A digital identity card will hold the same personal data as an ordinary identity card or passport. Citizens will be able share individual pieces of data, for example their age, with the party requesting it, which could be another private individual or a service. You can decide what data to show the other party.

Who can get a digital identity card? Can minors get one? Who cannot get one?

Everyone who has been issued a Finnish passport or identity card can be issued a digital identity card. 

The police issue a number of different kinds of identity cards. A digital identity card can be issued alongside an ordinary identity card, an identity card for a minor and an identity card for a foreign national. Foreign nationals permanently resident in Finland who have been granted an identity card for foreigners will also be able to a get digital identity card.

Minors will also be able to get a digital identity card if they have a passport or ordinary identity card. Minors who have reached the age of 15 will be able to get a digital identity card without the consent of their parents. Minors who are younger than 15 will be able to get a digital identity card under the same conditions as a passport or ordinary identity card, i.e. with the consent of the parent or guardian. 

Is a digital identity card a travel document?

A digital identity card is not a travel document and does not replace a passport or ordinary identity card when travelling. 

How will people who cannot use a smartphone or computer be taken into account in this reform?

If you do not have a smartphone or other mobile device, you can use a separate identification token, which will enable you to use electronic services provided by the authorities. It will still be possible to use electronic services provided by the authorities using current electronic identification methods, such as online banking codes. 

Can foreign nationals get a digital identity card?

In order to be issued a digital identity card, you must have a valid passport or identity card (identity card, identity card for foreign nationals or identity card for minors) granted by the Finnish Police or by a Finnish diplomatic or consular mission that issues passports and identity cards. If there are no grounds to issue one of the above, but a foreign national must use services in Finland, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency can issue them a digital service token, which also works as a mobile application. Digital service tokens make it easier to use electronic services. You can be issued a digital service token if you have a valid travel document issued by a foreign authority.

Will I still need electronic identification services provided by banks and telecom operators? 

A digital identity card is an official document issued by an authority that proves your identity, like an identity card or passport. It can also be used to prove your identity when using electronic services.

Banks and telecom operators will continue to be able to offer strong electronic identification services, and citizens will continue to be able to choose what strong electronic identification service provided by the private sector they want to use. 

Why is the government developing a digital identity card? 

Digital services are being used more and more, and many services are becoming primarily digital. In order to develop services, a digital identity must also be developed to meet the requirements of services that make use of modern technologies. In order to ensure that services are safe and reliable, a digital identity must be based on a core identity guaranteed by the central government, which is made available in an equal and accessible manner to everyone who uses public services.   

By developing a digital identity card, we are also preparing to implement an upcoming obligation that will be imposed by the EU. Digital identity cards lay the foundation for the digital wallet that will be required by the EU. In future, it will be possible to develop the wallet application to enable citizens to flexibly and safely provide proof of other personal attributes, such as diplomas or driving licences.

What will digital identity cards cost society?

A total of EUR 20 million has been budgeted. At the moment, about EUR 8 million is paid to the private sector for strong electronic authentication each year. 

Who are involved in the digital identity project? Does the project involve cooperation with the private sector?

The project is being led by the Ministry of Finance and is being implemented by the National Police Board and the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. The project also involves cooperation with the private sector and third sector. 

Why is the digital identity card linked to a passport or identity card? Why is it not free of charge?

There are currently about 4.2 million people with valid passports or identity cards issued by the Finnish Police or by a Finnish diplomatic or consular mission that issues passports and identity cards. By linking the digital identity card to a valid document and the information it holds, it is possible to make use of the same face-to-face identification of a person that already carried our when issuing a passport or identity card. This will avoid overlapping costs, but will also help to distribute digital identity cards as widely as possible as soon as they are introduced.

It has been proposed that the costs of maintaining digital identity cards be covered as part of the price of passports and identity cards in accordance with the Act on Criteria for Charges Payable to the State. However, using a digital identity card to access services would be free of charge.

Why can identification tokens for natural persons only be used with public services? 

This solution allows people who are unable to use mobile devices to use electronic authentication in public services. Identification tokens for natural persons work in a very similar way to the strong electronic identification solutions currently provided by the private sector. However, identification tokens for natural persons are not intended to replace private-sector solutions, such as mobile certificates or online banking codes. The private sector will continue to be able to develop and maintain strong electronic identification solutions. Identification tokens for natural persons are intended to enable reliable electronic identification in public services for people who have not been able to make use of strong electronic identification methods provided by the private sector. 

How has the data security of digital identity been resolved? 

Data security will be taken into account throughout the life cycle of digital identity cards. The issuing of digital identity cards will make use of the same secure processes the police use for issuing passports and identity cards. The digital identity card system will be required to have a certificate granted by a data security assessment body that ensures that digital identity cards and the processes through which they are managed meet the requirements set out in key data security criteria. When the end user uses their digital identity card, personal data will only be transferred over encrypted data connections and the authenticated personal data will be stored in an encrypted format in the secure element of the mobile device and protected with a separate authentication factor, such as PIN code. Service providers will also be obligated to monitor data security anomalies, maintain up-to-date information on data security threats relevant to the service and provide information on potential data security anomalies.

How have data protection and privacy protection been resolved with respect to digital identity? 

An impact assessment relating to data protection and privacy protection has been carried out as part of the preparatory work. Because the project involves extensive processing of personal data and the adoption and application of new technical solutions, it is recommended that a data protection impact assessment in accordance with Article 35 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) be carried out once the technical designs and operational models have been specified. Digital identity cards will be self-sovereign, which means that the issuer will not be able to monitor how digital identity cards are used. When using in-person and electronic services, personal data is authenticated directly between the service and the person in possession of a digital identity card without a central party. As a result, services will be subject to requirements intended to guarantee the protection of data and privacy when using the service. In future, it will be possible to better observe the principle of minimising personal data when using services, as people will be able to decide what data they share with services. The goal is to build the solution in such a way that personal data will not be transferred outside the EU/EEA.

Will it be possible to use services on behalf of another person? 

Digital identity cards may not be handed over to anyone else. It will be possible to use digital identity cards to log into the Suomi.fi e-Authorizations service to authorise another person to use services on your behalf.

What if I don’t have a smartphone to install a digital identity card on? 

If you are unable to use a digital identity card, you can use your passport or ordinary identity card when using in-person services. When using electronic services, you will be able to use either existing strong identification methods or an identification token for natural persons issued by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

What happens if there is no network connection when trying to use a digital identity card? 

A digital identity card will not require a network connection when using in-person services, which means that it will be possible to prove your identity in places with no network coverage. Proving your identity when using electronic services currently requires a network connection and it will not be possible to use a digital identity card to identify yourself in electronic services if your mobile device does not have a network connection.

What if my phone runs out of battery? 

Using a digital identity card requires that your mobile device has power.

What if someone steals my phone? 

If a device containing your digital identity card falls into the wrong hands, it is recommended that you immediately contact the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.  The Digital and Population Data Services Agency will add the device to a block list, which will make it easier to prevent the abuse of the digital identity card. You will also be able to block the use of your digital identity card yourself through a self-management portal.

What is the relationship between Finland’s digital identity card and the EU’s digital wallet? 

Finland’s digital identity card will be implemented in such a way that it can be later expanded into the digital wallet that will be required by the EU. In addition to an identity card, the EU's digital wallet will contain other permits granted by the authorities, such as driving licences.  According to the European Commission’s legislative proposal, each EU Member State will produce at least one wallet application that can be adopted in 2024.

How will the preparation of digital identity progress? When will digital identity cards be introduced?

The legislative amendments required for the introduction of digital identity cards are currently in a public consultation round. After the consultation round, the government bill will be finalised and submitted to Parliament. The act is scheduled to enter into force on 1 January 2023, and digital identity cards would be introduced as soon as possible after that.

Contact information

Maria Nikkilä, tietohallintoneuvos, yksikönpäällikkö 
Ministry of Finance, Julkisen hallinnon tieto- ja viestintätekninen osasto / Julk ICT, Digitalisaatio 0295530514