Citizen Certificate and electronic identity
The Citizen Certificate is a form of electronic identification to help identify someone reliably when they are using electronic services. Among other things, it contains a first name, a last name and an electronic client identifier. An electronic Unique Identification Number (SATU) provides unique identification information on a person using e-services.
The Citizen Certificate is contained in the personal identity card
In Finland ID cards are issued by the police and abroad by Finnish consulates. The Citizen Certificate stored on an ID card allows
- people to identify themselves electronically, for example, when accessing the e-services of authorities
- encrypt emails
- encrypt documents
- create an electronic signature.
For the Certificate to be used for e-services it first has to be activated.
You can use your ID card as a form of personal identification and as a travel document, and the Citizen Certificate stored on it can be used for e-services. If you do not intend to use the Citizen Certificate for e-services, the Certificate does not need to be activated.
A Citizen Certificate may only be issued to a Finnish national or a foreign national who is resident in a Finnish municipality as referred to in the Act on the Municipality of Residence (201/1994), whose details are stored in the Population Information System and whose identity has been reliably established. The foreign national must also either hold a valid residence permit or card or his/her right of residence must have been registered.
Using the Citizen Certificate
In addition to the ID card, to use the Citizen Certificate to access services you will also need the following:
- a computer
- a card reader
- card reader software
- PIN/access codes
If you were issued an ID card after 1 January 2017, you create your PIN/access codes yourself when you activate the Certificate.
If you were issued the card before 1 January 2017, you do not create the PIN/access codes yourself: you will have received them in the post.
You can download the card reader software from the card reader software web page.
Electronic transactions using the Citizen Certificate are secure. An electronically signed document is as legally binding as one signed by hand. Electronic signatures created using the Certificate on an ID card are still valid even after the card has expired.