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Joining the Finnish Population Information System -
Your Very Own Henkilötunnus!

Foreigners are required by law to register in the Population Information System if they reside in Finland for over a year. They must register the same information as Finnish citizens, which includes name, date of birth, nationality, family relationships and address. A municipality of residence is also registered for a foreigner who has moved to Finland, intends to stay permanently, and has a residence permit for at least one year.
EU Citizens do not need a residence permit, but must register their right of residence if they stay in Finland for more than 3 months. This can be done at enterfinland.fi
Top tip: A personal identity number (henkilötunnus) can be applied for at the same time as a residence permit.

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Registration in the Population Information System

Everyone registered in the Population Information System is given a personal identity number (henkilötunnus, also called personal identity code). The registered information is used, amongst other things, for taxation, health care, juridical administration and statistical purposes. Life in Finland is difficult without a henkilötunnus, so if you're able to get one it's well worth it even if it's not a requirement for you. You can request your personal identity number at the same time as you apply for a residence permit.

Local Register Offices (maistraatti) are the population registration authorities in Finland. They maintain the population register and local information services. As well as registering foreign residents, their registered data includes names, births, deaths and marriages.

Once you are registered, the Population Information System also forwards your address and other data to the Social Insurance Institution (Kela). After entry into the Population Information System you can apply for a Kela card, which proves your entitlement to social security benefits such as health care. The Kela card can be applied for at the local Kela office (more info.)

The Registration Process
You can request registration at the same time as applying for a residence permit. If you receive a positive decision, you will then also be given a personal identity number (henkilötunnus).

If you already have a residence permit but have not been issued a personal identity number, you must visit the Local Register Office in person and submit a Registration of Foreigners form to obtain a personal identity number and register your municipality of residence.

If you already have a residence permit and a personal identity number, it is a legal requirement that you register your municipality of residence if you intend to stay in Finland for more than one year. Registration is a good idea regardless, and must be done in person at your Local Register Office.

  1. Visit the Local Register Office of your municipality of residence (see below).
  2. Take your passport with you, and if applicable your valid residence permit.
  3. Other official documents you will need when registering are a marriage certificate if you are married and the birth certificates of any children you might have.
  4. Fill out and sign the Registration of Foreigners form.
  5. Also remember to make an official Change of Address Notification whenever you move - it is a legal requirement.

Note: all official supporting documents must be legalised originals, and translations by authorised translators are required for original documents not issued in Finnish, Swedish or English.

Foreigners staying in Finland less than a year can also be entered in the Population Information System if it is necessary for them in order to be able to stay or work in Finland. In this case they are given a personal identity number but they will not be registered as permanent residents of a municipality. The Registration Office can only register the information if the person comes personally to the Office and shows his/her passport (or other documention that proves personal data and citizenship).

www.maistratti.fi ( in Finnish, English and Swedish)

Immigrants from Nordic Countries

Since 2007 an inter-Nordic agreement on population registration has applied to moves within the Nordic countries – Finland, Denmark (including the Faroe Islands and Greenland), Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

If you are moving to Finland from a Nordic country, you must inform the local registration authority of your arrival and present identification (passport, ID card issued by the police or other corresponding document) to the authority. When your personal identity code or number is known, your details are transferred electronically from the registration authorities of the country of origin to the Finnish authority.

The purpose of the agreement is to ensure that those moving within the Nordic countries are registered in the population register of only one country at a time and to prevent movers from not being included in any Nordic population register.

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