About family registration codes
What is a family registration code?
Ever since the national registry system was adopted in 1986, persons have been linked together in the registry by way of a so-called family registration code. The family registration code has been used in various ways throughout the years, e.g. for statistical analysis by Statistics Iceland and for tax and social security purposes. The family registration code still serves the purpose for which it was originally intended, i.e. to be a link between persons sharing a legal domicile. The code was never intended to provide information on who are the parents or custodians of a child.
Each adult individual has their own family registration code in the National Registry, except if that person is married or in registered cohabitation, in which case the persons in question have a joint family registration code, which is the personal ID No. of the older individual. Children are linked to the family registration code of the adult person with whom they live, i.e. the adult individual with whom a child has a legal domicile. In the case of two adult persons who are married or in registered cohabitation, the child will have their joint family registration code. When a person reaches the age of 18, all their links to the previous family registration code are cancelled and that person’s ID No. becomes their family registration code.
Personal ID Nos. have been used as family registration codes for persons in the following way since they were adopted in 1986:
- A married couple or people in registered cohabitation with the same legal domicile, with no children under the age of legal competence. The family registration code is the ID No. of the older person (until 1997, the family registration code was always the ID No. of the husband or male in registered cohabitation).
- A married couple or people in registered cohabitation with the same legal domicile, with children under the age of legal competence. The family registration code is the ID No. of the oldest individual. An individual of legal age who shares a legal domicile with their parents has a family registration code that is the same as the person’s ID No. (until 1997, the family registration code was always the ID No. of the husband or male in registered cohabitation).
- An individual of legal age who is not married or in registered cohabitation and lives in a legal domicile without children. The family registration code of each person is an ID No. (Two persons of legal age who live at the same legal domicile but are not married or in registered cohabitation do not share the same family registration code).
- An individual of legal age in a legal domicile with children registered at the same legal domicile. The ID No. of that individual will be both his/hers and the children’s family registration code.
Why am I not listed as my child’s parent in the National Registry?
In the national registry system, links between persons are recorded in a limited manner and do not, for example, include kinship or family connections, nor do they provide information on the custody of children. However, children are linked to the ID No. of the oldest person in the legal domicile where they live, i.e. the so-called family registration code.
Example: Sigga has parents named Jón and Gunna. Jón has sole custody of Sigga, but she lives with her aunt Stína and her legal domicile is there. No information dissemination to public entities or systems based on the National Registry include the fact that Jón and Gunna are the parents of Sigga, nor that Jón is her sole custodian. As Sigga is under the age of 18, she cannot be “single” in the national registration system and has to be linked to a person over the age of 18. She is therefore linked to the oldest person at her legal domicile. In Sigga’s instance, she is linked to the ID No. of her aunt Stína’s spouse, as the spouse is the oldest person living at the legal domicile. Sigga, aunt Stína and Lóa, Stína’s daughter, are all linked to the ID No. of Stína’s spouse. The ID No. of the spouse is their family registration code. This does by no means infer that the spouse or aunt Stína are Sigga’s custodian, as Jón, her father, has custody over her.
Why don’t public institutions and banks, for example, see that I have custody over my child?
Information on the custody of children is not recorded in the National Registry and is therefore not disseminated to outside parties. Registers Iceland receives information on the custody of children from the appropriate authorities, but this information is not available to be passed on to others. Registers Iceland provides information on the custody of children, on the basis of available documentation, by issuing certificates.
Why does a step-parent receive mail and notifications concerning my child rather than me, the parent and custodian of the child?
The reason is that you and your child are registered to the family registration code of your spouse. As the purpose of the family registration code is not to publish links between children and their parents or custodians, it should not be assumed that the individual behind a person’s family registration code, i.e. the one who is the oldest living at the legal domicile, should receive all mail, messages or information concerning the children living at the domicile. That decision is entirely up to the sender and publisher of the information. The National Registry is disseminated to a variety of companies and institutions, and Registers Iceland cannot have an effect on how the registry is used to mail items, provide information or take decisions on the rights and obligations of persons, unless the use violates contractual provisions or laws on the use of the registry.