Finnish citizenship can be acquired either by birth, declaration or application. The conditions for citizenship are defined in the Finnish Nationality Act. The Act also lists the rights and obligations of Finnish citizens.
The acquisition, retention and loss of Finnish citizenship as specified in the Act and the determination of citizenship status are decided by the Finnish Immigration Service.
Citizenship by birth
A child automatically acquires Finnish citizenship at birth if either the mother is a Finnish citizen or the father is a Finnish citizen and is married to the child’s mother. A child also acquires Finnish citizenship if the child is born in Finland, his or her father is a Finnish citizen when the child is born and the father’s paternity of the child is established.
A child born out of wedlock in another country to a foreign mother and a Finnish father acquires Finnish citizenship by declaration on condition that the establishment of paternity done in the other country is directly valid in Finland.
Finnish citizenship by declaration
The following can acquire citizenship by declaration:
- a former Finnish citizen
- a Nordic citizen
- a child born abroad and out of wedlock to a Finnish man or a Finnish non-birth mother
- an adopted child between 12 and 17 years of age
- a young person between 18 and 22 years of age who has lived in Finland long enough
A citizen of Denmark, Iceland, Norway or Sweden who has reached the age of 18 years is granted Finnish citizenship by citizenship declaration if his or her permanent residence and domicile have been in Finland for the last five years without interruption and he or she has not been sentenced to imprisonment in this period.
If you are a Nordic citizen but you do not meet all the conditions for applying for citizenship by declaration or if you want to acquire Finnish citizenship already after residence in Finland for two years, you can apply for Finnish citizenship by application.
A person who has lost Finnish citizenship can acquire citizenship by a simple declaration procedure, which does not require residence.
Finnish citizenship by application
Finnish citizenship may be granted to a foreign national if the applicant has reached the age of 18 years and his or her permanent residence has been in Finland either for the last five years without interruption or for seven years after reaching the age of 15 years, the last two years of which without interruption. If an applicant demonstrates satisfactory skills in the Finnish or Swedish language, citizenship may be granted already after four years’ residence in Finland.
A further condition is that the person has not committed a punishable act and has not materially failed to provide maintenance or to meet his or her pecuniary obligations under public law. An applicant must moreover be able to provide a reliable account of his or her livelihood, and prove that he or she has satisfactory oral and written skills in Finnish or Swedish or similar skills in Finnish or Finland-Swedish sign language.
Derogations can be made to the general requirements for naturalisation on certain grounds that are listed on the Finnish Immigration Service’s website.
Finnish law permits dual nationality, i.e. a Finnish citizen does not lose his or her Finnish citizenship on acquiring citizenship of another state. A citizen of another Nordic country also does not lose his or her citizenship on acquiring Finnish citizenship.
If you have any questions, please fill in our contact form.
NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.