Registration of death in the Population Register System

If the body is repatriated to Finland in a coffin or an urn, a Finnish forensic pathologist writes the death certificate.

In other cases, the family of the deceased must take care that the date of death is registered in the Population Register System of Finland. The death of a Finnish citizen abroad is notified to the Local Register Office or the information can be submitted/posted to a Finnish mission abroad, from where it is sent to the Local Register Office for registration.

The original death certificate, authenticated at a mission of Finland, must be appended to the notification. If the document has been issued in some other language than Finnish, Swedish or English, an authorised translation in one of these languages must be provided. Translations made abroad must be legalised. Translations made by an authorised translator in Finland are valid as such.

An Apostille stamp is not required for a death certificate, which is issued by an EU country authority and a translation of the certificate is not needed if a multilingual standard form is appended to the document.

 The family of the person who died pay the costs of the death certificate and its translation and legalisation.

Death in China

When a Finnish mission receives notification concerning a Finnish citizen deceased in China (e.g. from a local authority, honorary consul, tour guide or other instance), the deceased person's next of kin will immediately be informed of the incident 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. The following documents are required: power of attorney from the next of kin to the Finnish mission or local coordinator, and legalized population extract concerning kinship.

Travel Insurance may cover the repatriation of the deceased person's remains to Finland or the costs of local burial in China. 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 China according to local legislation.

Repatriation of a coffin

The practicalities will be taken care of by a local funeral home in China and the receiving funeral home in Finland. The following document are required for repatriation: passport, death certificate, embalming certificate, coffin certificate and quarantee certificate. The death certificate and post mortem certificate can be ordered from a local coordinator. Enquiries about the possibility of sending personal belongings of the deceased person with the coffin should also be directed to the local coordinators.

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. Funeral urn cannot be sent by post or by courier (UPS, DHL, FedEx). Airlines generally require the following documents: passport, death certificate, cremation certificate and urn certificate. The funeral urn must be sealed and cannot be made of metal.

The death of a Finnish national deceased in China may be registered directly to the Local Register Office in Finland or via a Finnish mission abroad. Registration is free of charge and takes 6 weeks. The following documents are required:

  • "Notification of a Finnish citizen deceased outside Finland" form
  • Legalized death certificate. Legalization is a three-step process:
  1. Death certificate shall be notarized at a Chinese notary office, which also translates it into English. Contact information of notary offices in China: www.chinanotary.org/ (in Chinese)
  2. After that, the notarized document shall be legalized:
    In Beijing jurisdiction: At the Foreign Ministry of China
    Contact information: Legalization Division of the Consular Section of Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, 7th floor, South Tower, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, No. 2 Road, Chaoyangmen, Beijing. Tel. +86-010-658897
    In Shanghai jurisdiction: Local Foreign Affairs Office, FAO
    Contact information: Shanghai Municipality Foreign Affairs Office (FAO), Authentication Office, Equatorial Hotel Office Building, Hua Shan Road No. 228, 2nd floor, Shanghai, Tel. +86-021-6247 0833
  3. Lastly, a Finnish mission shall legalize the document:
    In Beijing jurisdiction: Embassy of Finland in Beijing
    In Shanghai jurisdiction: Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai