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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 6 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

Foreign document must be the legalised original, translated into Finnish, Swedish or English.If the translation is carried out abroad, it must also be legalised. In Finland, a translation by an authorised translator is accepted as such. The legalisation process is carried out differently depending on the nature of the document and the country of issue.

If you don’t want to send the original legalised document. You can also send a legalised certified copy of the legalised original document.

 

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. If a child is born outside of wedlock, meaning the parents of the child are not married, paternity of the child must first be confirmed in the country of residence after which paternity can be registered in Finland’s Population Information System.

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
  • Original decision about nationality duly legalised in the issuing country or a legalised certified copy
  • Alternatively, you can submit a government-approved copy of the statement pertaining to new citizenship and a passport issued for your new nationality
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.

Legalisation of documents – Apostille

A document issued outside of the Nordic countries must always be legalised in order to have the desired legal effect in Finland. Legalisation is a procedure of ensuring the customer’s legal safety, the purpose of which is to ascertain that the document is valid in the issuing country and that the person issuing the document was entitled to do so according to the legislation of that country. The legalisation process is carried out differently depending on the nature of the document and the country of issue.

Apostille

If the issuing country is part of the Hague Apostille convention of 1961, the document is legalised with an Apostille certificate (stamp or paper certificate). You can find a list of the member states of the Hague convention here: www.hcch.net (Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents). At the same address, you can also find information on which authority issues Apostille certificates in each member state. If needed, an official translation is also attached.

Public documents issued within the EU

From February 16, 2019, due to an EU regulation, certain public documents issued by the authorities of an EU member state must be accepted in the other member states without an Apostille certificate. To certain public documents, you can also request a multilingual standard form to be attached. These standard forms are issued by the Local Register Offices, and their purpose is to function as translation aids which often will make an official translation unnecessary. The regulation applies to public documents the purpose of which are to establish one of the following facts: birth, a person being alive, death, name, marriage, including capacity to marry and marital status, divorce, legal separation or marriage annulment, registered partnership, including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status, dissolution of a registered partnership, legal separation or annulment of a registered partnership, parenthood, adoption, domicile or residence, nationality and the absence of a criminal record. The regulation also applies to public documents the presentation of which may be required of EU citizens wishing to vote or stand as candidates in municipal or EU elections in a member state of which they are not nationals.

Legalisation

For countries other than those mentioned above, the Foreign Ministry of the issuing country certifies that the document is issued by the competent authority. After that, the Finnish embassy accredited to that country legalises the document by certifying that that Foreign Ministry official was entitled to issue such certificates. (https://um.fi/legalisation-of-documents-for-use-abroad)

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.

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·        Original decision about nationality duly legalised in the issuing country or a legalised certified copy