Validity of Finnish IDs

The validity of Finnish IDs according to Finnish law:

  1. Passport and Police-issued ID cards: valid for any purpose, including travel.
  2. Driver's licence: valid for most purposes such as financial transactions. Paper-based driver's licences not valid at point-of-sale. Not valid as travel document.
  3. Social Insurance card with a photo: valid for many purposes, such as financial transactions, but not valid for proof-of-age for buying alcohol. Not valid as a travel document.
  4. Other IDs are generally not valid unless specifically accepted.

Primary Documents


A passport for a Finnish citizen is a primary document.

From 21st August 2006, all new passports are equipped with RFID. Older passports without RFID are still valid. There also exist temporary (short lifetime) passports which lack most of the security features. It would be recommendable not to accept these as a primary document. If the validity period is one year or less, the passport is a temporary one.

A picture of an RFID passport cover is available from Finnish Police:

Police-issued ID card

A Finnish ID card issued by the Police after 1st March, 1999, is a primary document. A resident in Finland may acquire an ID card. The holder of the ID card does not need to be a Finnish citizen.

There exist at least three generations of plastic ID cards: the first generation without an expiry date, and the two more recent generations which have an expiry date printed on the card, and which are approved for travel within the Schengen area. The latest generation has a certificate on its chip, issued by Finnish government CA.

If the ID card was issued before 1st March 1999, it is of the first generation and is not any more a valid ID card according to Finnish law. Any paper ID cards (which pre-date the plastic ones) are not acceptable either.

In theory, the holder of a chip-equipped ID card could be requested to prove his/her identity by digitally signing a challenge. In reality, most people probably do not remember their PIN code.

Driver's Licence

A driver's licence is a primary document.

In theory, a driver's licence is not an official ID card in Finland that would have to be accepted by everyone (the official ones are passports and ID cards issued by the Police). In practice, driver's licences are accepted as proof of identity for any financial transaction and are issued by Police, so they should qualify for primary documents.

There are various driver's licences in Finland. Plastic driver's licences come in two formats: an older, larger type, and a smaller, EU-compliant driver's licence. Both formats are currently valid. There are also older, paper-based driver's licences which are still officially valid; however, it would be prudent not to accept a paper-based document as a primary document.

There are also 'lighter' versions of driver's licences such as a licence for driving mopeds and temporary driver's licences. As with the paper-based licences, it would be prudent not to accept these as primary documents.

Secondary Documents

Social Insurance card

There exists a plastic Social Incurance card ("KELA-kortti" in Finnish) which may or may not have a photo. While technically issued by the government and used (especially by older persons) as an ID card, it is not issued by the Police, and is not as universally accepted as an ID as the driver's licence is.

When this type of a card has a photo, it is currently accepted as a proof of ID for most financial transactions.

Police badges

Even though very rare, these plastic photo IDs fulfill the qualifications for a secondary document, as they are government-issued and controlled.

This is how they look like:

Unacceptable Documents