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Finns residing abroad obligated to update personal data

The new population information act obligates Finns residing abroad to update their personal data by notifying any changes thereto to the Population Information System, maintained by the Finnish local register offices.

The new Finnish act on the Population Information System and the certificate services of the Population Register Centre (661/2009) took effect on 1 March 2010. The act obligates Finnish citizens residing abroad to notify the Population Information System immediately of any changes of their personal data occurring during their residence abroad. Such changes may include for instance births of children, marriages, divorces and changes of names.

Lodging a passport application, too, is subject to the condition that the applicant must have a Finnish personal identity code and that his or her personal data recorded in the Population Information System must be up to date.

The document on which the notification to the Population Information System is based may be sent either to the local register office of the person's most recent municipality of residence in Finland or to the nearest Finnish diplomatic or consular mission in the person's current country of residence. A foreign document must be the original or an authenticated copy thereof. Moreover, the document must be legalised and translated into Finnish, Swedish or English.

The obligation of notification does not apply to Finnish citizens residing in Sweden, because the provision and verification of their data are subject to procedures agreed separately between the Finnish and Swedish population register authorities. However, persons with dual citizenship of both Finland and Sweden are advised to notify changes to their personal data on their own initiative.