Processing of personal data when you visit us in person

Merikasarmi, Helsinki.
Merikasarmi, Helsinki. Photo: AdobeStock

It is our responsibility to ensure that your legal protection and security, and that of our employees, is safeguarded when you visit the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or Finnish missions abroad. This is why we collect personal data when you visit us. Personal data is processed as part of guest reception services, preparedness in rescue services, access control and camera surveillance.

When you arrive to attend a pre-scheduled meeting, we provide the reception services company with your name and, when necessary, information on the organisation you represent. Local reception services companies at Finnish missions abroad retain your personal data for one month from the date of your visit.

When you visit the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, some of your data is submitted via the e-services of Senate Properties to the lobby services to enable staff to guide guests to the relevant meeting room or waiting area. They will not store the information in any other systems and all personal data will be retained only until the day of visit.

Exemptions to the time limit for storing personal data include functions hosted by ministers or any other events organised by ministries that are regarded as highly important; your personal data may then be retained, in accordance with the Government’s data management plan, for ten years or permanently. In addition, if visitors are served refreshments such as coffee, their name and that of the organisation they represent may be included in the accounting material. We retain receipts in our accounting system normally six years from the end of the financial year in question.

As a part of the renting of premises from Senate Properties, lobby services in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are provided by Avarn Security, a contracting partner of Senate Properties. Local contract partners provide lobby services for Finland’s missions abroad. 

Information we collect about you in connection with your visit

When you visit the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or at Finnish missions abroad, we store your name, email address, telephone number and the name of the organisation your represent, where appropriate. Your position or title may be stored, too. If you seek consular services or wish to apply for a visa to Finland, for example, we also store other relevant information (see Travel and consular services and Applying for a visa to Finland for more information).

Video recordings of people and vehicles in the camera surveillance area are stored. Other related data is stored, such as information about the date and time of the recorded event. All stored data is retained for a month.

Camera surveillance is not used in the areas or for the purposes prohibited in section 16 of the Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life (759/2004). 

Why we process your data

We process your personal data in order to carry out the statutory duties pertaining to the Foreign Service and to carry out tasks in the public interest. The data is processed according to Article 6, paragraph 1, points c and e of the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679.

Provisions on the tasks of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Finland's missions abroad are laid down, for example in: 

  1. The Act on the Foreign Service
  2. The Government Decree on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  3. The Act on International Information Security Obligations
  4. The Occupational Safety and Health Act

Transfer of personal data

We do not disclose personal data on a regular basis. However, we may disclose your personal data to the authorities, upon request, in accordance with the Act on the Openness of Government Activities. Data and documents are public, unless special provisions on their secrecy have been laid down by law. 

We disclose data to the police or other competent authorities in cases specifically provided by law, such as for solving crimes. The disclosure of data is always based on a specific request from the authorities and the decision on disclosure is made in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Security Service.

We do not transfer personal data outside the European Union or the European Economic Area. Nor do we disclose personal data for such purposes as direct marketing, market surveys and opinion polls.

Your rights

Remember that under the GDPR you also have rights relating to the processing of your personal data. More information about your right to data protection is available here.

For more information

If you have any questions concerning the processing of your personal data in the Foreign Service, contact the Ministry’s Data Protection Officer by email at tietosuoja(at)