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Finnish residents' death certificates have been archived from 1936 onwards.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 copy of 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.

Close relatives do not usually need a death certificate when dealing with authorities. Information about the death is sent through official channels to the local register office to be recorded in the Population Information System, from where the information is passed forward. In addition, taking care of the deceased’s affairs is possible with an official certificate obtained from a registration authority (local register office, parish). The actual death certificate is issued only when all examinations required to establish cause of death are completed. This can take several months.

A written 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: kuolemansyyt@stat.fi or by post to:

Statistics Finland

Causes of death

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

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: kirjaamo@stat.fi). 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.