Anyone who plans to reside in Finland should obtain sooner or later a Finnish personal identity code or Suomalainen henkilötunnus. This code is essential to work or to exercise the social rights and will make easier any process with the administration.
The Finnish personal identity code also facilitates practical issues like opening a bank account and dealing with some private companies. And it will make simpler other common day-to-day issues, for instance obtaining a permanent public library card with no expiration date.
The personal identity codes consists on a sequence of eleven characters, most of them numbers though it might include also a hyphen (-) and some letters. It is generally based on the holder’s date of birth and gender.
The first six characters correspond to the date of birth. For instance, for someone who was born in January 23rd 1981 the Personal Identity Code starts like this: 230181
Following the date of birth there is a hyphen (it might be also an 'A') that separates the remaining four characters, which can be all numbers or include letters. It is these last four characters that differentiate a person's identification code from those of others born on the same date. So, typical identity codes could be 230181-2374 or 230181-237J
The Finnish personal identity code can be obtained after registering in the Finnish Population Information System the personal data (such as name, date of birth, gender, citizenship, native language, address, marital status, profession…)
This process varies depending on the country of origin. For instance, citizens from other European Union member states, Switzerland and Liechtenstein only have to register if they intend to stay in Finland for more than three months. In this case they can obtain the personal identity code using the same form when registering for the right of residence at the Finnish Immigration service (Maahanmuuttovirasto or Migri). To learn how EU citizens should apply for the right of residence just click HERE
Also at the tax offices
Non-EU residents can apply for a Finnish Personal Identity Code at the same time that they apply for a residence permit. To do it, in the same application they have to request the registration in the Finnish Population System.
This can be done in Finland when going to an asylum interview at the Finnish Immigration Service or abroad at the Finnish missions (embassies or consulates) when submitting an application for a residence permit.