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Identity Numbers for Foreign Students

In accordance with the law (484/2013), student data contained in the student registers of institutions of higher education is to be stored in the national data warehouse for higher education (higher education achievement register VIRTA). The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for technical maintenance of the data warehouse. The data to be stored are the responsibility of the registrar, ie. the university.

The data warehouse seeks to promote better-targeted study places, to facilitate entry into higher education and create a smoother start to studies. The information to be stored in the data warehouse included the student's identity number. This is to enable the datea to be used as intended, for personal services and to link to other data warehouses, such as the population register. Uniquely identifying each student in the same manner is vital to safeguard the rights and obligations of both registrar and registrant.  


Registration into Population Information System in Finland

The local Register Office ( = Maistraatti in Finnish) maintains a national Population Information System, which includes information on individuals, buildings, apartment houses and real estate property. The register office stores information and changes occurring within its own area of operation.

The basic data on foreigners residing in Finland are entered in the Population Information System. Registered information includes name, date of birth, nationality, familial relationships and address. Under the law, a foreigner is required to register the same information as Finnish citizens if he or she resides in Finland for at least one year. The registered information is used, amongst other things, in the organisation of elections, and for taxation, health care, juridical administration and statistical purposes.


Municipality of Residence

When registering, apply for a municipality of residence. The municipality of residence is registered for a foreigner who has moved to Finland if he or she plans on staying here permanently and if he or she has a residence permit for at least one year. Citizens of Nordic countries do not need residence permits. If you are a resident of a Finnish municipality (i.e., you have a place of domicile in Finland), you are entitled to treatment in the Finnish public healthcare system and will be charged the same user fee as any other local resident. Your nationality or the country from which you came to Finland is of no importance.


Social Security Number / Identity number

After registering, you will receive a Finnish social security / identity number. It a number sequence with 11 characters, formed on the basis of your date of birth and gender. Public authorities, banks and employers, for example, often need to know your personal identity code. Each personal identity code is unique. A person's identity number remains unchanged throughout his or her entire lifetime. The identity number should be used in all official context. It is required for example when opening a bank account, paying taxes or when employed, visiting the hospital etc.

According the the regulations, KAMK is requested to ask the student for their identity number and, if necessary, to advise any student without an official Finnish identity number to obtain one. The Finnish identity number provided by the student is entered in full into the institution's own student data register (ie. ASIO) so that the information is transferred to the higher education achievement register VIRTA.

Please note! This applies also to exchange students on programmes of at least three (3) months of duration as their personal details must be reported in accordance with the requirements of Statistics Finland and Eurostat.


How to register and receive the social security number?

  • Fill out and sign the Registration of Foreigners - registration form at the Register Office.
  • Inform the local register office of your place of residence and current address.
  • Bring your passport and valid residence permit with you.
  • Also remember to make an official change of address notification whenever you move (and move out!). It is a requirement for registration.  


The registration takes only a while and you can have the social security number with you immediately.


Social Security Number in Connection with a Residence Permit

Foregin students can also ask to be registered in the Population Information System when applying for a residence permit or a residence card. Please note that registration is possible only if you are issued with a residence permit and you fulfil the requirements for registration.

If you receive a residence permit and you have applied for a personal identity code in connection with your application, you will be registered in the Population Information System with the information on your travel document (for example your passport or identity card). Therefore, it is important that you spell your name on the application form or on a separate registration application form exactly the same way as it is spelled in your travel document. Please check that your name is also spelled correctly in the school registers.

Further information:


Inform the Study Office about the social security number once you have received it!


Local Register office:
Maistraatti, address: Lönnrotinkatu 2, Kajaani (


Home Municipality


Personal identity code and home municipality brochure by Population Register Centre.