Personal identity code
The personal identity code is a means of identification that is more specific than a name. Several people may have the exact same name but there are no two persons with exactly the same personal identity code. The code remains unchanged throughout the person’s lifetime. Personal identity codes were introduced in Finland in the 1960s.
Parents of newborn children born in Finland need not take any measures to obtain a personal identity code for the child. The hospital provides the necessary details of all births to the national Population Information System, and when the child’s birth is registered, a personal identity code is issued for him or her.
For a Finnish citizen born abroad, a personal identity code is issued when the local register office, by request of the parents, registers the child in the Population Information System. It is enough that one of the parents is a citizen of Finland. Registration will require supplying a legal birth certificate and, where necessary, other official information. No personal visit to the local register office is required, as a request for registration can be submitted to a Finnish foreign mission or be posted directly to the local register office.
Depending on the situation, a child can be granted citizenship directly pursuant to the law or a declaration of citizenship can be submitted to the Finnish Immigration Service. Submitting a declaration of citizenship does not require a personal visit to the Finnish Immigration Service.
If you are a foreign national and you move to Finland permanently, you will be registered according to your own wishes in the Finnish Population Information System. At the same time, you will be issued a personal identity code. If you move to Finland for a short period of time, your information can be entered into the register if necessary. With certain limitations, you can also be given a home municipality in Finland and a permanent address.
Depending on your situation, you can ask to be registered and to be issued a personal identity code at a local register office, at a tax office, at a Finnish foreign mission or at the Finnish Immigration Service. Registration will require a personal visit to the authority in question.
When a person is registered in the Population Information System and issued a personal identity code this does not mean that they are granted Finnish citizenship. You must apply for citizenship separately. You can be granted Finnish citizenship under certain conditions by submitting an application for citizenship to the Finnish Immigration Service.
You will need a personal identity code for example for the application of pensions and other benefits provided to citizens. When doing business at a bank a personal identity code is required for e.g. opening a bank account. It is also needed when paying salaries and wages to ensure that the money is paid to the correct persons.
With regard to data protection, it is important that you use and store your personal identity code carefully.
The Finnish personal identity code is individual to its holder and is intended to be permanent. A new personal identity code can only be issued when this is vital in order to provide protection to a person in circumstances where the health or safety of that person is under obvious and permanent threat, or when the original code has been repeatedly abused by a person other than to whom it was issued.
A prerequisite for the issuance of a new personal identity code is that the abuse of the original personal identity code has caused you significant financial or other hardship and that the issue of a new code will effectively prevent further harm caused by the abuse. If you apply for the issue of a new personal identity code stating that the reason for doing so is an obvious and permanent threat to your health or safety, you will usually need to also submit a threat assessment granted by the police. For example, the issue of a new personal identity code can be considered if the person is part of a witness protection programme. The Population Register Centre makes the decision concerning the issue of a new personal identity code.
A new personal identity code can also be issued when a person's new gender is confirmed, if the person has been legally confirmed to have changed gender. A person can apply to have their gender changed at the local register office, which will in this case make a decision on issuing a new personal identity code.