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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Other Public Services - Embassy of Finland, Washington - Consulate Generals of Finland, New York, Los Angeles : Services for Finns : Consular and other public services

EMBASSY OF FINLAND, Washington, D.C.
CONSULATES GENERAL OF FINLAND, New York and Los Angeles

  • Embassy of Finland, Washington
    Tel. +1-202-298 5800, sanomat.was@formin.fi
  • Consulate General of Finland, New York
    Tel. +1-212-750 4400, consulate.nyc@formin.fi
  • Consulate General of Finland, Los Angeles
    Tel. +1-310-203 9903, sanomat.los@formin.fi
  • Contacts
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 Consular and Other Public Services

 Apostille authentication

In order to present a public document for the authorities of another country (eg. for registration), a legalization is required. Legalization of a document is a measure related to the customer´s security right to ensure, that authority is entitled to issue such a document according to the laws of the particular country.

The Countries of Hague Convention of the 5th October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of legalization for foreign Public Documents (incl. Finland and the US) use for legalization this facilitated Apostille procedure. In these Convention countries a public document bearing a certificate of Apostille is recognized in any Convention country and no other measure of legalization is required. As to states other than the Convention countries, the legalization procedure has three stages. More information concerning Apostille

In order to present the US origin document in Finland (eg. registration of birth, marriage, death or citizenship), the document shall be legalized by Apostille authentication. Apostille authorities in the US are:

  • State issued document: (eg. birth-, marriage- or death certificates), the Apostille is issued by the authority given the original document.

Instructions and the list of the authorities

  • Federal State issued document: (eg. naturalization document) , the Apostille is issued by the US Department of State Authentication Office in Washington DC

Instructions

Please note that a notarized document by a local US public notary does not qualify as Apostille authentication. Finnish missions in the US may not issue Apostille certificats. In Finland the Apostille certificate is issued by the Notary Public at the Local Register Office.

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Arrest and Imprisonment

In case a Finnish citizen is arrested, imprisoned or lost his freedom abroad, he has the right to request the police or prison authorities to inform the Finnish Foreign Mission about the incident. The Mission will notify the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, which will forward the information to an appointed person in Finland requested by the defendant.

The progress of the case will be observed by the Finnish Mission within the extent its possibilities. The Finnish Mission may enquiry entitlement for a public defender/legal counselor or an interpreter, or may assist to obtain one if requested by the defendant. However the Finnish Mission cannot intervene in a legal process or request a specific court ruling nor affect the release of an arrested or imprisoned person. The Finnish Mission can neither give any judicial advice nor enter plea on behalf of the accused citizen as these assignments inhere within responsibilities of a legal counselor or an attorney.

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Car

Questions concerning the import and export of cars shall be addressed to the local authorities in Finland and the US. For further information from Finnish Customs and the corresponding authority in the US (US Customs and Border Protection) as well as the US Embassy in Helsinki.

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Child and Family Law

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs provides assistance for the Finnish Social authorities concerning paternity acknowledgement, maintenance agreement, custody, meeting rights and child protection, when one party lives abroad. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs also offers assistance on issues concerning child abduction.

The registration of a child born in the United States (to Finnish parents/a Finnish parent) may be done directly to the Local Registration office in Finland or via a Finnish mission abroad (In the US: The Finnish Embassy in Washington DC or the Consulate General in New York or Los Angeles). There is no registration fee. Registration takes 2-3 weeks.

In order to register a birth to the Finnish population system, the following documents are required:

Citizenship of a child: please see Citizenship

Paternity of a child: If only the father is a Finnish citizen and the parents were not married when the child was born, the child cannot be registered as a Finnish citizen before the father has made an acknowledgment of paternity (and a citizenship declaration). If the child was born before February 1st 2010, the paternity acknowledgement may take place at the Finnish foreign mission. If the child was born after February 1st 2010 and the place of residence of the whole family was abroad, paternity acknowledgement shall be done at a local authority. If the paternity acknowledgement is valid in the country where it was issued, it is generally applicable in Finland without further validation. A foreign paternity acknowledgement shall be forwarded to a Local Registration Office with the Apostille authentication.   

Custody of a child is actualized as either single parent custody or a joint custody of both parents. Decisions made is the US regarding custody and meeting rights shall be implemented at Helsinki Court of Appeal to have enforcement in Finland.  

Adoption of a child: When a foreign adoption is valid in Finland, the child will obtain Finnish citizenship.

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Citizenship

In Finland: “Nationality

In the US:

Beginning June 1st, 2003 dual or multiple nationalities is accepted by the Finnish legislation. Finnish nationals will no longer lose their Finnish nationality when they assume another nationality. US citizenship shall be registered in Finland according to the Population Information Act.  

There is no registration fee and the process takes approx. 2-3 weeks. Registration of the US citizenship shall be done by sending either an original “Certificate of Naturalization” or a “certified true copy” with Apostille authentication to a Local Register office or a Finnish mission in the US as stated below. If the registration is done via a Finnish Mission, the original Certificate of Naturalization may be returned back to the client for an additional FeDex fee of USD 10.

1) Obtaining a “certified true copy” of a certificate of Naturalization (if the original is wished to be kept):

  • Make an appointment with the office of Homeland Security via www.uscis.gov
  • Take the original certificate of Naturalization with you  
  • Request a “certified true copy of the US naturalization document”. Please note, that a notarized copy does not qualify as a “certified true copy”.

2)  Obtaining Apostille authentication for a US naturalization document or for a certified true copy from the US Department of State in Washington D.C.

  • Please fill out DS-4194 form on the website.  
  • US naturalization document or a certified true copy and payment must be sent to the US Department of State Authentication Office in Washington DC. Address and fees can be found on their website.   

More information concerning US citizenship: www.uscis.gov.

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Customs

Information concerning the import and export to/from Finland shall be obtained from the Finnish Customs. Information concerning import and export to/from the US shall be obtained from US Customs and Border Protection.

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Death

When a Finnish mission receives notification concerning a deceased Finnish citizen in the US – eg. from a local authority, honorary consul, guide or other – the incident will immediately be informed to the next of kin of the deceased person through Ministry for Foreign Affairs . If needed, the Finnish mission will assist with issues regarding repatriation, burial or cremation of the deceased person according to the wishes of the next of kin.   

Travel Insurance may cover the repatriation of the deceased to Finland or the costs of local burial in the US. If the deceased did not have travel insurance, the relatives are responsible for all costs. The costs of repatriation to Finland may be very high. If the deceased did not have assets or the relatives cannot be responsible for the repatriation nor burial, the deceased is buried in the US according to local legislation.

Repatriation of a funeral urn: A funeral urn may be transferred to Finland by airplane either as hand luggage in the cabin or as cargo by agreeing on the delivery with the airline. The funeral urn may not be sent to Finland by post or by courier (UPS, DHL, Fedex). An airline generally requires the following documents: death certificate with Apostille authentication, cremation certificate and Post Mortem Certificate if available.

Repatriation of a coffin: The practicalities will be taken care of by a local funeral home in the US and the receiving funeral home in Finland. The following document shall be present with the coffin: a death certificate with Apostille authentication, passport and Post Mortem Certificate if available.

The registration of a deceased Finnish national may be done directly to the Local Registration office in Finland or via a Finnish mission abroad. There is no registration fee. Registration takes 2-3 weeks. The following documents are required:

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Driving license

The regulations concerning foreign driving licenses are defined in each state in the USA. It is recommended to hold a translation of the driving license or International Driving Permit (IDP) issued by Automobile and Touring Club of Finland as they might be requested by police, by car rentals or in case of accident. Permanent US residents should obtain a local driving license. Find more information by contacting local authorities or Embassy of the United States in Finland.

The Finnish police can supply a duplicate of driving license to replace a Finnish driving license that has been lost, damaged or stolen, please contact police authority in Finland for application: www.poliisi.fi. The Finnish foreign missions do not issue driving licenses nor receive applications. The signature required for a renewal application can be notarized subject to a fee by Finnish missions (Embassy in Washington D.C., Consulate general in New York/ Los Angeles or honorary consuls). Notarial certificate has to be applied in person with a valid ID and by an appointment (see: Notarial services). Applicant shall forward an application form, photos, copy of an ID and other required documents (eg. police report) by oneself to the Finnish police. All the details concerning the renewing of the driving license such as payment, processing and pick-up/delivery must be agreed directly with the Finnish police.

A driving license extract issued by Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi is accepted in some cases (eg. car rentals) as a proof of the right to drive. An English driving license extract request can be performed to a foreign address with a Finnish bank ID from suomi.fi –service (search: driving license extract request). The Finnish Missions have no jurisdiction to prove a license to drive.

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Enquiry of person

Addresses of permanent residents of Finland can be inquired for from the following address service: www.osoitepalvelu.net. There is also information on the address of Finns living abroad, if they have updated their information to the Finnish Local Register Office. More information from the Helsinki Register Office: kirjaamo.helsinki@maistraatti.fi or tel. +358-71-8730191. Fees apply.

Address or other document inquiries of a person living in the US can be sent to the Unit for Consular Assistance of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland: kirjaamo.um@formin.fi or address: Ulkoasiainministeriö, PL 176, 00023 Valtioneuvosto. Fees apply. Inquiry shall consist of the following information:

  • Whom does it concern and who is the inquirer (incl. Postal and billing address)
  • What purpose and period is the inquiry for

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Estate matters

Diplomatic Missions will inform the Finnish Foreign Ministry about estate matters if the inheritor presumably lives in Finland. The Finnish Foreign Ministry will pass this information on to the relatives if their identity and whereabouts in the US can be found out relatively easy.

In the case of a person who lives in Finland but has inheritance abroad, the inheritors can take care of the estate matters by themselves by contacting the administrator of the estate directly. The inheritors must deliver the required inheritance records with translations. In the case of possible estate problems, one needs to be in touch with the local authorities in the United States. By request of the inheritors the Finnish Foreign Ministry can do research on who manages the estate and who the administrator of the estate is.

United States genealogy agencies might provide their services to Finnish inheritors, but their contingent fees may be very high and in some cases unreasonable.

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Identity Card

A Finnish citizen may prove his identity abroad with a passport or in the European Union and Schengen area with a Finnish identity card, which has been issued after March 1st 1999. Holders of Finnish identity card can travel within the EU and Schengen area without a passport. Finnish citizens residing abroad can apply for an identity card at any police station in Finland. Finnish Embassies and Consulates are not authorized to receive applications for identity cards. More information: Finnish police.

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Lawyers

In Finland: www.asianajajaliitto.fi The Finnish Bar Association


In the US

www.americanbar.org: The US Bar Association

www.finnishamericanlawyer.org: Finnish-American Lawyers’ Association (Finnish speaking lawyers as well)   

There are also bar associations of cities and states:

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Lost Goods

The police will occasionally submit lost goods to the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. or the Consulates General of Finland in New York or Los Angeles, if the owner is identified as a Finnish citizen. The Finnish authorities do their best to contact the owner. Items that were lost on airplanes, trains or busses shall be inquired for directly from one´s lost and found offices.

Valid Finnish passports and driving licenses are sent back to the authorities that have granted the documents.

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Marriage and Divorce

For information regarding the requirements and necessary documents for getting married in the US, please contact the appropriate authority: information concerning civil ceremony can be obtained from the local City Hall, Marriage Bureau and information concerning a religious ceremony can be obtained from the religious community in question.

Information regarding Finnish Lutheran church pastors abroad to solemnize marriages is available at www.evl.fi. Common information regarding solemnizing marriage abroad or in Finland is available at www.maistraatti.fi. Marriage ceremonies are not performed at the Finnish missions abroad.   

The certificate of “non-impediment to marriage” is issued by the Local Register Office in the last place of residence in Finland.

Registration of a marriage: Marriages that were solemnized abroad are considered valid in Finland if the marriage is applicable in the country it was performed in, however only after it has been registered to the Finnish Population Register. The registration of a Finnish citizen in the United States may be done directly to the Local Registration office in Finland or via a Finnish mission abroad. There is no registration fee. Registration takes 2-3 weeks.

The following documents are required for registration:

■ “Notification of marriage of a Finnish citizen outside Finland" form filled out and signed. Please note: If both spouses are Finnish citizens, both have to fill out their own form

■ “Marriage certificate” with Apostille authentication

■ Photocopies of the passports of both spouses (optional)

Divorce in Finland

A divorce may be initiated at a District Court by joint application or by one party. Custody, child support, visiting rights and cohabiting as well as distribution of property may be settled in connection with the divorce.

Divorce in the US:

Divorces granted to a Finnish citizen/-s (incl. dual citizen) in the US must be confirmed by the Helsinki Court of Appeal in order to be valid in Finland. Divorce decree requiring confirmation cannot be submitted to a Finnish mission abroad. The following documents must be submitted to Helsinki Court of Appeal (address: Helsingin hovioikeuden kirjaamo, PL 132, 00181 Helsinki) for the registration, all the documents must be translated to Finnish or Swedish by an authorized translator:

  • Application form (only in Finnish or Swedish)
  • Divorce degree (either original or a Court Certified Copy). The document shall include information concerning the legal validity of the document or other clarification, that there is no appeal against the judgement.  
  • Clarification, that one/both spouses had US citizenship or residence in the US at the time of judgement for divorce.
  • Applicant´s population extract  from the Local registration office of the last place of residence in Finland

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Military service

According to Finnish law, all Finnish men are liable for military service. According to the conscription act §1 this duty takes effect when a man turns 18 years and is in effect until the age of 60. Military service is carried out at the age of 18-29. Women may also complete a voluntary military service.

The call-ups will be held yearly between August and November for Finnish males who turn 18 years in that particular year. It is required for a conscript to keep his population register data up-to-date regarding citizenships and addresses, as every conscript will be sent a guide book and a letter concerning the place and time for the call-up. Failure to report at the call-up, without a legitimate reason is a criminal offence punishable according to the Finnish Conscript Act. Permission for absence or deferment may be granted only at a Regional Office. The call-up duty can be processed either directly to a Regional Office in Finland or via a Finnish foreign mission.

Multinationals can be exempted from military service. According to a bilateral agreement (25/1939) between Finland and the US, a dual citizen is not liable for military service in Finland as long as he permanently resides in the US. An exempted multinational conscript can be ordered into service if he moves to Finland before the end of the year in which he turns 30 (Conscription Act 75§). One should, however, verify from the Local Register Office that the dual citizenship and address information is properly registered in Finland.

More information: The Finnish Defence Forces

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Money Transfers

The quickest and easiest way to transfer money to the US is via e.g. Western Union or Forex  both operate in several cities and various locations. In principle money transfer companies require an identity document when withdrawing assets.

If a distressed Finnish citizen or a foreigner permanently living in Finland is not able to receive assets via money transfer companies, the Finnish foreign missions may assist with money transfers via the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. A money transfer is done directly from person´s own account or against the deposit of the relatives (the fee is 40 Euros). The assistance for a money transfer may only be done the office hours of the mission and Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

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Moving and Address Change

Law on Population Information Centre´s certificate services (661/2009) obligates Finnish citizens to notify the Population Information System immediately of any changes to their personal data (including address change).  The address change shall be done to the Local Registration Office within one week of the move each time when changing residence permanently or temporarily (incl. abroad) for more than three months. Notification of an address change is to be submitted to the Local Register office or to a Finnish foreign mission by filling out the following form: “Change of address notification form for a person living abroad when registered in the Finnish Population Information System”.

If a foreigner aims to stay in Finland permanently or for more than 90 days, a residence permit is required (more information from the Finnish Immigration Service: www.migri.fi). There is a guide to social security rights when migrating to Finland by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA) “Moving to Finland”.  Also a website www.suomi.fi offers information on public services in everyday life. Information concerning importing removal goods to Finland may be obtained from the website of the Finnish Customs.

With issues concerning immigration to the US, please contact the US authorities. Prior to the journey or moving to the US, it is recommended to check up-dated regulations either from local authority”US. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) ” www.uscis.gov or the US Embassy in Helsinki. General information in Finnish also:”Yhdysvallat: matkustusohjeita”.

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Notarial Services (incl. US J-1 Visa holders' "No-objection" statement")

Finnish foreign missions and Honorary Consuls may provide certain public notary actions as following: 

■ Attestation of signature

■ Certification of copy (from an original document)

■ certificate of life

In addition the Embassies and Consulates General may receive and confirm documents incl. a paternity acknowledgement. Notarial services carry a service fee. Appointment is required and a notarial act is not generally done while waiting.

Apostille authentication for Finnish and US public documents is sufficient and no other measure of legalization is required (see: Apostille). In Finland the Apostille certificate is issued by the Notary Public at the Local Register Office.

US J-1 Visa holders: no-objection statement can be obtained from the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. as a notarial certificate (fee applies). On the statement it can be stated, that Finland does not object releasing a visa applicant of a two-year foreign residence requirement of Section 212 (e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The following documents are required for a statement: a notarized copy of the person's passport ID page, a notarized copy of the person's US visa (J1), address of the applicant, a letter explaining why she/he is requesting a waiver for the 2-year requirement to return home (=statement of reason) and a service fee. The Embassy sends the statement to the Waiver Review Division of the Visa Services of the US State Department. which sends the references directly to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the decision making. USCIS informs the applicant in writing. More information

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Pensions

In Finland, pension provision consists of the employment-based earnings-related pension and the residence-based national pension. The employment-based pension is achieved during the time of active participation in working life. The residence- based pension provides minimum security for those, who do not receive employment-based pension or whose pension is very low.  

Further information on earnings-related pension can be obtained from the Central Pension Security Institute www.etk.fi or www.tyoelake.fi.  Further information on the national pension can be obtained from the Social Insurance Institution (KELA): www.kela.fi.

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Pets

Information on importing pets to Finland can be found on the webpage of Evira (Finnish Food Safety Authority). There is information concerning the requirements for the EU-pet passport as well as what is needed for the identification mark, rabies vaccination, echinococcus medication and what are the accepted border crossing points.

The export regulations are always within the jurisdiction of the destination country, more information concerning the US regulations can be obtained from the Embassy of the USA in Finland. Finland is not subject to any specific requirements regarding to export of animals.

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Population Information System

Population Information Act (661/2009) obligates Finnish citizens to notify the Population Information System immediately of any changes to their personal data (including address change) during their residence abroad. Several rights and obligations concerning passport, military service, citizenship, pension, estate, tax and voting are determine according to the Population Information.

All documents concerning the Population Information (eg. marriage / birth / death abroad) are required to present with Apostille authentication. There is no fee. Population information may be submitted either to the Local Register Office of the latest residence in Finland or to the Finnish foreign mission abroad. Registration forms are available at the missions or website: http://www.maistraatti.fi/fi/lomakkeet/

Instruction to register birth, marriage and death:    

Own personal information can be checked from the Finnish population registry free of charge once a year: Check Your Registered Data.

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Public Service Info

The Public Service Info is an information point of the Finnish public services. The aim of the service is to direct citizens to the right service to find a correct an authority, support for e-services and answer general questions about public services in Finland. Contact information:  www.kansalaisneuvonta.fi.

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Sickness or accident

A Finnish mission can assist a Finnish citizen or a permanent resident of Finland in the case of an illness or accident with hospital care and other immediate help required by the incident. In addition, assistance can be provided to contact the next of kin residing in Finland. In the case of a sickness or accident, the mission can be in contact with the insurance company.

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Social Security

In Finland the social security is residence-based. To be eligible for social security benefits, it is usually required, that the applicant lives in Finland. According to Finnish legislation the social security benefits are not citizenship related. More information can be obtained from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA).

“In To Finland” is the common service point of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) and Finnish Tax Administration for foreigners (employees/students) moving to and from Finland: www.intofinland.fi

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Taxes

Information concerning the Finnish tax system can be obtained from the Finnish Tax Administration.

“In To Finland” is the common service point of the Finnish Tax Administration and Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) for foreigners (employees/students) moving to and from Finland: www.intofinland.fi

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Translators and interpreters

Finland: The Finnish Association of translators and interpreters

USA: American Translators Associaton

The Finnish Foreign Missions do not generally do translations or act as an interpreter. The Embassy nor the Consulates General are responsible for external services. 

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Travel Insurance

People travelling to the United States are recommended to take travel and baggage insurance as well as liability and legal expenses insurance. Travel insurance enables more extensive health care and depending on the terms and conditions of the insurance, it also provides repatriation. In the absence of travel insurance, hospital care in the United States can become very expensive. Finnish missions are not liable for treatment or repatriation costs.

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Voting

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for organizing an absentee voting abroad. Every elector has the right to vote abroad in the absentee voting at the predetermined polling stations. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice will publish a list of the absentee polling stations as well as their business hours once the elections are nearing. The Ministry of Justice has the general responsibility for organizing elections as it is the highest electoral authority in Finland. More information can be obtained from: www.vaalit.fi

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This document

Updated 9/9/2014


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