Activation of the Citizen Certificate

If you want to use your ID card for e-services, such as for managing your affairs in the authorities' e-services, activate your card by following the instructions on this page.

You can use the ID card to prove your identity in various service situations, also when using e-services. Using e-services is enabled by the citizen certificate contained in the chip on the electronic ID card.

  • If you intend to use your electronic ID card for e-services, you must first activate it by creating two personal PIN codes.
  • If you intend to use the electronic ID card only as a personal identification and travel document, you do not need to activate it.


Before activating your ID card

You will need an activation PIN, a computer, a chip card reader, and card reader software. You cannot use your phone to activate your ID card.

  • You will receive your activation PIN by post within two weeks of receiving your card. The activation PIN is eight digits long and located at the bottom right corner of the letter.
  • You can purchase a card reader from a store selling computer supplies. Card readers are often sold with the name smart card reader or ID card reader. You can check with the retailer if the card reader is compatible with your ID card. Some computers come with a card reader built in.
  • Download the latest version of the card reader software from the Card Reader Software page. The software is free of charge.


Card reader software ​​​​​​​


How to activate your electronic ID card

During the activation, you will choose and set two PIN codes onto the card.

1. Choose the PIN codes beforehand, as you will have a limited time for entering them.

  • PIN1 is the basic PIN code and can be 4–8 digits long. You can use it to identify yourself when using e-services.
  • PIN2 is the signature PIN code and can be 6–8 digits long. You can use it to give a digital signature.

2. Insert the electronic ID card into the card reader and follow the instructions on the screen to enter the PIN codes.
​​​​​​​The card reader software automatically launches the card activation window when you insert the card into the card reader for the first time.

Enter the information required by the software:

  • The activation PIN from the letter you received
  • The basic PIN code (4–8 digits)
  • Confirm the basic PIN code by entering it again
  • The signature PIN code (6–8 digits)
  • Confirm the signature PIN code by entering it again
  • Click OK when you’re done.

If the software does not launch the activation process, check that the ID card is inserted into the card reader the right side up.

3. The activation is complete and you can now use your ID card for e-services.


Keep your PIN codes safe

Keep the PIN codes separate from the ID card. Do not show your PIN codes to anyone.

You may need your activation PIN later if you forget your PIN1 or PIN2 codes or your PIN1 or PIN2 codes are locked. If the activation PIN is lost, you can order a new one from the Police Licence Services point, or if you’re abroad, from a Finnish delegation. A new activation PIN is subject to a fee.

If you enter an incorrect activation PIN five times in a row, your card will be permanently locked and cannot be used for e-services. You can still use your ID card as a personal identification and travel document.

If your PIN1 or PIN2 codes are locked or forgotten

If your PIN1 or PIN2 codes are forgotten or locked, you can change them yourself.

Instructions for changing your PIN code


Contact information

The certificate helpdesk can help you activate an ID card and solve the most common problems.
Certificate helpdesk contact information

If you lose your ID card or it is stolen, inform the revocation service and the Police.
Revocation service contact information​​​​​​​

The Police provides instructions for applying for an ID card.​​​​​​​

Key terms

Activation ​​​​

A​​​ctivation means enabling the use of the certificate. During the activation process, the user will create two personal PIN codes for their certificate.

PIN codes related to the use of a Citizen Certificate:

  • Activation PIN
    The activation PIN is used to activate the certificate. The activation PIN can also be used later to change or unlock PIN1 and PIN2 codes.
  • Basic PIN code (PIN1)
    The basic PIN code can be used to identify the user when using e-services.
  • Signature PIN code (PIN2)
    The signature PIN code can be used to give a digital signature.

Electronic signature

An electronic signature (digital signature) verifies, for example, the identity of the person signing the message or data. An electronic signature with a Citizen Certificate is a Qualified Electronic Signature that corresponds to a handwritten signature. Different levels have been defined for electronic signatures depending on how secure their background implementations are.

Electronic services

By electronic services, we mean managing matters in electronic services that require strong identification. Electronic services include MyTax and MyKanta. Signing into the authorities’ electronic services requires strong identification, such as bank IDs, Citizen Certificates or mobile certificates.

Frequently asked questions

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