Archive of death certificates
Finnish residents' death certificates have been archived from 1936 onwards. The death certificates from 1936 to 1965 are located in the National Archive. More recent death certificates are archived at Statistics Finland.
Individual death certificates are public (Act on the Openness of Government Activities 621/1999) when 50 years have passed since the death of the person. For death certificates from 1936 to 1965, the data request should be made to the National Archive.
If it has been less than 50 years since the person died, the death certificate data are confidential. The Act on the Establishment of Cause of Death (459/1973, Section 15) defines the purposes for which copies of death certificates and/or death certificate data can, however, be provided.
1) The death certificate can be released to the dead person's close relatives, pension institutions and official use
By law, confidential death data can be released to the deceased’s close relatives or a person who was close to the deceased.
A data request must be made for the death certificate to Statistics Finland either by email or post. The data request is sent to the following email address: email@example.com or by post to: Causes of death, P.O. Box 3, 00022 Statistics Finland. The death certificate is sent by post as a paper copy.
The request must contain the deceased’s last and first names, personal identity code (date of birth), time of death, latest municipality of residence, the relation of the requester of the death certificate to the deceased, the requester’s name, address and telephone number.
Death certificate data are also issued to insurance or pension institutions for processing of benefit applications and to a court, authority or other organisation that is entitled to the data by law. In such cases, the request must come from the authority in question.
2) Death certificate data are released for scientific studies and statistical surveys
The law also grants permission to release copies of death certificates and/or data included in death certificates at individual level for scientific studies and statistical surveys. In addition to the Act on the Establishment of Cause of Death, what is decreed in the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999) and the Personal Data Act (523/1999) is considered in data submissions.
In order to receive data, a licence to use statistical data must be applied for from Statistics Finland. The death certificates of persons who have died over 50 years ago are archived in the National Archive that is responsible for information service related to them.
The filled in application for a licence to use statistical data is sent to Statistics Finland’s Registrar’s Office (address: Statistics Finland, Registrar's Office, FI-00022 Statistics Finland or email: firstname.lastname@example.org). With the application, the customer can request cause of death data and/or copies of death certificates. The application for licence must include a short research plan, a register description, the names of the people responsible for the research and the pledges of secrecy of the people that process the data.
Data for research purposes are chargeable.