The Finnish Local Register Offices or Maistraatti is the state organism that acts in Finland as a Population Registry and is responsible for maintaining the Finnish Population Information System, among other tasks.
Local Register Offices also offer other services. For instance, they perform public notary services and they are marrying authorities. This means they perform civil marriages, investigate if there is any impediment to marriage and they are also the right places to register the marriages celebrated abroad.
Maistraatti also deals with name changes and the confirmation of the list of parties to estate inventories. Since 2009 also provides national consumer advisory services.
Registration of a foreigner
If you have moved to Finland permanently and you have fulfilled all the legal requirements to reside in the country, then you must register in the Finnish Population Information System. You can also register for a temporary stays if this it is deemed necessary. In any case, the general condition for registration is that your residence in Finland is completely legal.
At the Local Register Office your key personal data will be incorporated into the Finnish Population Information System. This includes your name, date of birth, gender, marital status, mother tongue, nationality, your current address in Finland and any other relevant personal facts such as place of birth, children, parents, spouse and custody of children, if any.
This information will be recorded to make it available for the Finnish authorities for such purposes as taxation, healthcare, judicial administration, organisation of elections and statistics. When you register at Maistraatti you will get a Finnish Personal Identity Code (Henkilötunnus) if you do not have already one.
You may have got your Personal Identity Code before from the Finnish Immigration Service when you got your residence permit, when registered your right of residence as an EU citizen or when you went to an asylum interview. But if you have not, you can get it from Maistraatti.
The Personal Identity Code is necessary to deal with most administration processes and sometimes with private companies too. It will also make easier for the Finnish authorities to check all your data.
Documents and registration forms needed
If you visit your Local Register Office for the purpose of registration as a foreign resident, remember to bring with you all the certificates you may need for the procedure: the registration certificates you got from the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), your original passport or an official photo identification card of an EU citizen, a residence permit card if you have got one, your certificate of employment or studies in Finland, translated certificates of birth or marital status if needed… and other relevant documents.
To complete your registration you must also fill in the registration information form of a foreigner. It is better that you fill in the form in advance and bring it with you when you visit a Local Register Office.
If you are going to reside in Finland permanently (at least one year), you can download and print the registration form HERE
In case that you intend to stay in Finland temporarily, you can find the suitable form for you HERE
If you are planning to stay in Finland temporarily and you are not entitled to a place of residence, you may still register your postal address in the Finnish Population Information System if you meet the requirements. If you have a Finnish personal identity code and a bank account, you can notify online your temporary address. To access to this service, just click HERE
List of Local Register Offices
There are 9 Local Register Offices in Finland and each one of them takes care of an area comprised of one or more jurisdictional districts. In addition, they have a number of service units in order to ensure that services are as much available to the public as possible. In the Åland Islands, the State Department of Åland is responsible for carrying out the same tasks.
You can consult the list of Local Register Offices and find the nearest in your area just by clicking on the following link HERE
If you want to book an appointment at your nearest Maistraatti office, just click HERE and choose the first service option ‘Registration of foreigners’ or any other service you need.
Why you must register in Maistraatti
If you are a foreigner in Finland you should register in Maistraatti because to have a registered place of residence enables you to access the services that municipalities (cities, towns, villages…) provide to their own population only. This includes several social services and sometimes even some financial benefits or any other kind of support.
According to the information provided by Maaistraatti on its webpage, the history of the tasks carried out by this institution in terms of population bookkeeping extends back to 1554, when a local organisation responsible for the drafting of a population register was established. Since 1634, an annual census has been carried out in Finland.
The Trade Register has been handled since 1895, and the Register of Associations since 1919. District registrars have acted as notary publics since 1961, and as marrying authorities since 1969. The most recently assigned tasks are the boat register and guardianship functions in 1999.