Start / Services / Instructions on relaying information about expatriate Finns / Instructions for Finns abroad when updating their personal data in the population information system

INSTRUCTIONS FOR FINNS ABROAD WHEN UPDATING THEIR PERSONAL DATA IN THE POPULATION INFORMATION SYSTEM

It is important to keep your personal data up to date when living abroad

If you are a Finnish citizen living abroad, the only way to keep your personal data and address details up to date is to send this information to Finland yourself. If you e.g. have a baby, get married or divorced, or move to a new address, you need to make sure that your details are amended in the Finnish Population Information System.

It is very important that the data in the Population Information System is kept up to date. The data in the system is used e.g. for compiling a voting register for elections. If the address details are not correct, official letters such as notifications of eligibility to vote or matters relating to pensions or military service may not reach you.

Responsibility to update details

It is even stated in the law that you have a duty to immediately notify the authorities about any changes to your personal details which take place abroad.

This duty does not apply to Finnish citizens residing in Sweden, as the two countries have entered into a treaty on sharing personal data. The Swedish authorities will inform the Finnish authorities of any changes.

But: If you have both Finnish and Swedish citizenship, the Swedish authorities will not relay your details to Finland.

If you have dual citizenship you must see to this yourself. If, for example, a mother has Finnish citizenship when her child is born, but the child gains both Swedish and Finnish citizenship, the parents are responsible for informing the Finnish authorities of the birth.

Finnish citizen’s addresses in Sweden are only relayed to Finland in connection with national elections held in Finland, so you must update your address details yourself.

Where are documents sent, how are they processed and what requirements apply

All documents relating to a change in personal details must be sent to the following address:

Local Register Office of West Finland, Jakobstad Unit
PO box 26, FI-68601 Jakobstad, Finland

or to the nearest Finnish Embassy or Consulate.

The processing time of the matters listed below is approximately 3 weeks. There is no need to contact the Local Register Office before the normal processing time has elapsed. In order to speed up the processing of your documents, it is worth including a registration form (birth, marriage, death) and a copy of your passport in your letter. Once the matter has been processed, the Local Register Office will send you an extract from the Population Information System by post or via encrypted email if your registration form contains an email address. Please note that an encrypted email can only be opened on one device. If you first open the message e.g. on your phone, you will not be able to open it on your computer later on. Any questions can be sent via email to international@maistraatti.fi

The foreign document must be the original or a certified copy, and it must be translated into Finnish, Swedish or English. Both the original document or the copy and the translation must also be legalised.

If you want the original documents to be returned to you, please notify us of this when sending in the documents.

Documents are normally returned to addresses abroad via recorded delivery.

Marriage or civil partnership
Birth of a child

If the parents of the child are married to each other, the child is automatically a legitimate child. If the child is born to unmarried parents, paternity must be confirmed before paternity can be registered in Finland. The father of the child must visit a Finnish Embassy or Consulate to acknowledge paternity.

Decision of paternity
  • legalised decision of paternity. A decision on paternity refers to a decision by a court of law or other authority and the confirmation or registration of a legal act. A document (such as a birth certificate) where the father has only been named based on information given by the concerned parties cannot be viewed as a decision of paternity.
Decision on custody made within the EU

Certificate in accordance with the Brussels II a Regulation which has been enclosed with the decision on custody (gaining, using, transferring, limiting or ending parental responsibility, custody and access rights).

 Decision on custody made outside the EU

Other decisions on custody must be legalised.

Divorce granted within the EU
  • certificate in accordance with the Brussels II a Regulation which has been enclosed with the divorce decree
Divorce granted outside the EU
  • legalised divorce decree
Change of name not relating to marriage
  • legalised name change certificate
New citizenship
  • legalised certificate of new citizenship or a certified and legalised copy of the passport for the new citizenship
Death certificate

Moving abroad

You must submit a notification of move when you move to a new address (e.g. abroad) for more than three months. The notification must be submitted within a week after the move online via www.muuttoilmoitus.fi or by using a form that can be obtained from the Local Register Office or the post office.

When you are moving abroad for more than one year it is viewed as a permanent emigration, and you will no longer have an official municipality of domicile in Finland. Your final municipality of domicile will be the one you lived in before moving abroad. Therefore, your move will e.g. affect your right to vote in municipal elections and other rights relating to residence in the municipality. It is also important to contact e.g. the Tax Administration and the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) to find out how emigrating will affect you and whether you are obligated to notify these authorities of any changes to your personal details.

When you are moving abroad for less than a year, this is seen as temporary emigration. Your municipality of domicile will stay the same, and you will retain all rights and responsibilities relating to residence in the municipality.

Under special circumstances emigration can also be seen as temporary if a person is living abroad for more than a year. Such special circumstances can arise if you have a stronger connection to Finland than your foreign country of residence based on your personal circumstances. Even then it is a case of permanent emigration if you are planning to live abroad or have already lived abroad for more than three years.

Updating your address details in the Population Information System from abroad

If your address abroad changes you should notify the Finnish authorities.

You can change your address by printing out this form: 

Change of Address Notification Form for a Person Living Abroad When Registered in the Finnish Population Information System

The form can be sent to the Local Register Office:

  • via email: address@maistraatti.fi
  • by post: Local Register Office of West Finland, Seinäjoki unit, PO box 168, FI-60101 Seinäjoki, Finland
Personal data from the Nordic countries

If you live in Sweden (and are a dual citizen), Norway, Denmark or Iceland it is enough for you to send an extract from the Population Information System to an Embassy, a Consulate or a Local Register Office which shows the changes in your personal details.

Legalising a document – Apostille

A document which has been drawn up outside the Nordic countries must always be legalised so that it will have the intended legal effect in Finland. Legalising the document is a measure pertaining to the legal protection of the client, with the purpose of guaranteeing that the document is valid in the country where it was drawn up and that the authority that drew up the document has the legal right to draw up such a document in the country in question.

A document can be legalised in two different ways, depending on whether or not the country has signed the Hague Convention of 1961. A document from a country which has joined the Hague Convention must be legalised with an Apostille certificate (a stamp or paper certificate). Documents from other countries must be legalised separately.

Apostille

The document is legalised with an Apostille certificate (a stamp or paper certificate) if the country has joined the Hague Convention of 1961. A list of countries which have joined this Hague Convention can be found here: www.hcch.net (Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents). At this address, you can also find information on which authority in each country provides the certificate.

Legalisation

If the country which has drawn up the document has not joined the Hague Convention the document is legalised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in the country in question.  Then the document is legalised by a Finnish representation which is competent in that country by attaching a certificate proving the right of the official of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to provide such certificates.

Examining your personal details

You can examine your personal details on the website Suomi.fi: https://www.suomi.fi/registers or in the Population Register Centre’s service Check Your Registered Data! (in Finnish): https://verkkopalvelu.vrk.fi/omat/Etusivu.aspx

Using both of these services requires strong electronic identification. If you are unable to identify yourself electronically you can contact the Local Register Office via email international@maistraatti.fi or visit the Local Register Office.

Back to Top