The Population Information System contains basic information about Finnish citizens and foreign citizens residing permanently in Finland. Under the Population Information Act (661/2009), the personal data in the Population Information System is maintained for the purpose of identification of persons as well as for clarification of their status regarding personal and family law and their legal capacity. Basic personal data recorded in the system includes name, personal identity code, address, home municipality, citizenship, family relations and date of birth and death. Other details registered concern guardianship, restrictions of legal competence and continuing power of attorney as well as native language, communication language, occupation and restrictions on the disclosure of data provided by the person.
Also recorded is information on custody, information required for elections and referenda, membership in a religious community, the relevant local register authority, and the electronic client identifier needed for secure electronic transactions.
On the basis of the statutory duty to provide information, information is received from citizens (for example notifications of move) and from various public authorities. These include local parishes, the Finnish Immigration Service, Finnish embassies and missions abroad, courts of law, municipal social service authorities, hospitals and health care centres as well as marriage authorities. For example, information about a birth is obtained directly from the hospital, after which the local register office provides the child with a personal identity code. The child’s parents inform either the baptising member of the clergy or the local register office of the names given to the child for registration in the Population Information System.
When a Finnish citizen lives abroad, their personal and residence details will only remain up to date if they personally make sure they submit information on issues such as marriage, divorce, births of children and changes of address. This information can be submitted either to the local register office of the most recent home municipality in Finland, i.e. the population registration municipality, or to the nearest Finnish embassy or consulate in the current country of residence. Keeping details up to date in the Population Information System helps expedite matters such as obtaining a Finnish passport.