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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Fingerprints to be included in new passports as from 29 June - Embassy of Finland, Washington - Consulate Generals of Finland, New York, Los Angeles

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, sanomat.nyc@formin.fi
  • Consulate General of Finland, Los Angeles
    Tel. +1-310-203 9903, sanomat.los@formin.fi
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News, 6/29/2009

Fingerprints to be included  in new passports as from 29 June

As from 29 June, all new passports issued in Finland will include fingerprints. The President of the Republic approved the amendments to the Passport Act on 26 June. The amendments entered into force on 29 June.

Under the Council Regulation on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and other travel documents, Member States are obliged to introduce fingerprints in national passports and travel documents by the end of June 2009. Fingerprints are the second biometric identifier to be included in national passports. Since 2006, passports have included an electronic chip containing the passport holder’s facial image.

Fingerprints will be taken of persons applying for a regular passport, Åland’s passport, temporary passport, diplomatic or service passport, national seafarer’s card, alien’s passport or refugee travel document.

Passport applicants will not be fingerprinted if fingerprints cannot be taken because of the applicant’s age or disability, physical circumstances or other similar reasons. Applicants must give a reliable account of the said circumstances on request. Children under the age of 12 will not be fingerprinted.

Fingerprints improve passport security

Fingerprints to be stored on the passport chip will improve passport security and help to establish a more reliable link between the travel document and its holder. Fingerprint data will also be entered in a national register. By registering fingerprints, authorities can identify people reliably when they apply for a passport or in situations where people need to prove their right to travel. The aim of registration is to protect people’s identity, improve personal security and prevent identity misuse that violates the right to privacy.

Fingerprints stored on the passport chip may only be read by passport, police and border check authorities where this is necessary to verify the authenticity of the travel document and the identity of the document holder when the person is applying for a passport or needs to prove his or her right to travel. The Finnish Ministry of the Interior decides on the granting of read-only access to foreign authorities and on the cancellation of this access.

Fingerprint data on passport applicants that is entered in the register may be used to verify people’s identity where this is necessary to identify people when they are applying for a passport or when authorities have the right to check their identity and the authenticity of the document concerned in connection with their right to travel, entry into or departure from the country.

Fingerprints taken of the applicant and stored in the register may also be used to prepare a document that the applicant has applied for. Moreover, the police may use fingerprint data if this is necessary to identify victims of natural disasters, major accidents or other disasters, victims of crime or unidentified victims. The police do not, however, have the right to use fingerprint data stored in the register to solve crimes.

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Updated 7/6/2009


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