This day has come. I’ve been studying and working hard for the past 6 years to achieve one of the most important goals in my life – opening the borders to new countries and opportunities. When I moved to Finland in 2011, I knew that I wouldn’t leave this country before I get a colorful document with a moose animation in it – Finnish passport. And I kept this promise! However, there is no moose in my passport, but the national bird of Finland (Suomi 100 passports have the whooper swan in them).
Today I want to tell you more about how to get Finnish citizenship, specifically about the basis for it, requirements, the application process, processing times and general benefits of this citizenship.
The basis for obtaining Finnish citizenship
Finnish citizenship may be based on one of the following:
– the nationality of one of biological or adoptive parents;
– the place of birth;
– parents’ marriage to each other;
– application (naturalisation);
I’ve acquired my Finnish citizenship by application, and that’s why I will focus on this principle in this blog post.
Requirements for applying for citizenship
You may obtain Finnish citizenship if:
– your identity has been reliably established (you can confirm your identity with relevant documents like a valid passport or another certificate of identity) or by providing reliable proof of your name, date of birth, nationality and family relations;
– you have reached the age of 18;
– you meet the residential period requirement (five years without interruption if you don’t fall into any exceptional cases; four years without interruption if your spouse is Finnish or/and you have the required language skills and strong ties with Finland (work); four years without interruption if you are a refugee or a person with a similar status; two years without interruption if you are a Nordic citizen);
– you meet the integrity requirement (meaning that you have not committed any punishable act and that no restraining order has been issued against you);’
– you have not neglected your payment obligations (meaning that you have paid any applicable taxes, fines, student loans, hospital fees, and other such payments);
– you have established your means of livelihood (you must list your sources of income for the entire required period of residence and provide testimonials for earlier employment or contact information of your former and current employers);
Filling in and submitting the application
You can go old-fashioned way and apply with the paper form (the processing fee will cost you 440 euros) or do it online with the processing fee of 350 euros. I highly recommend the latter one as it’s more convenient and obviously cheaper. Application forms can be found here, and remember that they are available in Finnish and Swedish only.
To submit your completed application, you should visit one of the service points of the Finnish Immigration Service. You can book an appointment in advance in the appointment system. Remember that you must pay the processing fee when you submit the application. As I said, you can also submit your citizenship application electronically. After you have submitted your application electronically, you still must visit a service point to verify your identity and present the original versions of the documents required, thus you need to book an appointment. If you don’t complete these steps, your application can’t be processed.
The expected processing time for applications
There is no such thing as a maximum processing time for citizenship applications. The expected processing time for these applications is 8 to 16 months, depending on the case. Accurate applications might take 8 to 9 months. The processing of an application takes longer if all the requirements mentioned above are not met. If additional information is needed, a request may be sent to you before the immigration service starts processing your application.
If you have submitted your application online, you can track the progress of your application in the Enter Finland service.
Advantages of Finnish citizenship
Finnish citizens are also citizens of the European Union under European Union law and thus enjoy rights of free movement and have the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament. Finnish citizens can live and work in any country within the EU. When in a non-EU country where there is no Finnish embassy, Finnish citizens have the right to get consular protection from the embassy of any other EU country. What I’m excited about the most is the fact that Finnish citizens have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 172 countries and territories, ranking the Finnish passport second in the world.
What is more, Finland accepts multiple nationality. If a Finnish citizen also has the citizenship of another state, the Finnish authorities will consider that person to be a Finnish citizen both in Finland and abroad!
I hope that you found this information useful. If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to ask them in the comments below! And for those, you prefer watching to reading, a new YouTube video is live – enjoy, and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel!