Moving to Finland - Registration of Foreigners

Registration of foreigners

Basic data on foreigners residing in Finland are entered in the Population Information System. Registered information includes the person’s name, date of birth, nationality, family relationships and address.

The Finnish municipality of residence is registered for a foreigner who has moved to Finland if he or she plans on staying here permanently (for example, to study for a  Master’s degree) and if he or she has a residence permit for at least one year. Citizens of Nordic countries do not need residence permits.

Under the law, a foreigner is required to register the same information as a Finnish citizen if he or she resides in Finland for at least one year. The registration takes place at the local register office (Maistraatti in Finnish). The registered information is used, amongst other things, in the organisation of elections and for taxation, health care, administrative and statistical purposes. When you get you social security number, please remember to inform it for the Student Services.

A foreigner residing temporarily in Finland can also receive a personal identity
number if he or she needs one, for example, in order to work. The only requirement is that the person must have a residence permit for a period of at least one year. However, a municipality of residence will not be registered for him or her, nor will he or she necessarily enjoy the same rights as a person who resides in Finland permanently.

Nordic country citizen

A person moving from another Nordic country must present an Inter-Nordic Migration Form to the local register office. Citizens of Nordic countries are not required to report to the local register office unless they plan on residing in Finland for a period exceeding one year. In this case, the person who is moving is required to register as a foreigner in addition to making a notification of change of address, unless he or she has already been assigned a personal identity number in Finland.

How does the registration happen?

If you intend to remain in Finland for at least one year and your information has not been previously registered you are required to visit the local register office at Hallituskatu 5 C, 96101 ROVANIEMI to complete the Registration of Foreigners form.

The following documents are needed:

  • Passport/ EU ID card
  • Admission Letter & Study Certificate (minumum 2 years)
  • You will be issued with a personal identity code
  • Permanent residence in Finland > Municipality of residence > Health Care
  • Inform the local register office of your place of residence.
  • Bring your passport and valid residence permit with you.
  • Other official documents you will need when registering are a marriage certificate if you are married and the birth certificates of any children you might have.
  • Fill out and sign the Registration of Foreigners - registration form at the registry.
  • Also remember to make an official change of address notification whenever you move. It is a requirement for registration. (Source: Local Register Office)

All official documents should be notarised originals or translations by authorised translators.

Finnish Social Security System

If you are a Permanent Resident of Finland you are covered by public health insurance. You are entitled to use public health services in Finland if you have a municipality of residence (kotikunta) in Finland. The municipalities organise public health services for their residents. As a Permanent Resident of Finland you can, for instance, apply for a refund from the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) for the cost of many kinds of medicine.

You should always register as a permanent resident of Finland to ensure that you get a municipality of residence and can use public health care!

For more information on the notification of change of address and registration of foreigners, please visit the Registrar office's web pages as well as Posti's pages (links on the right sidebar).

Local Register Office (Maistraatti) in Rovaniemi: Hallituskatu 5 C


The University of Lapland only provides the above information as general guidance regarding residence permits and visa issues and is in no way responsible for official rules and regulations regarding their distribution. As immigration policy is subject to change, all international applicants should consult the  Finnish Immigration Service   for up-to-date information regarding residence permits and the rules and regulations concerning them.