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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Citizenship - Embassy of Finland, London : Services for Finns : Citizenship


38 Chesham Place
London SW1X 8HW
Tel. +44-20-7838 6200
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Acquiring citizenship

A person can acquire Finnish citizenship on the basis of

Birth. A child acquires Finnish citizenship automatically if the mother is a Finnish citizen. Also, if the child's father is a Finnish citizen and the parents are married a child acquires citizenship (legitimation). When the child is born abroad the birth must be registered in The Finnish Population Register Center.

Declaration. If the child's parents are not married, the child of a Finnish father can acquire Finnish citizenship via the declaration process as long as the paternity has been confirmed according to the Finnish law. Since February 2010 if the child has been born in the UK and the birth certificate includes father's details, paternatiny is confirmed in Finland automatically. Also former Finnish citizen can use the declaration process for acquiring citizenship. There is a fee for declaration.

More information from the Finnish Immigration Service.

Place of birth. A child acquires Finnish citizenship based on the place of birth e.g. if the child is born in Finland and cannot acquire any other citizenship.

Application. A foreigner may acquire Finnish citizenship upon application if certain requirements are reliably established. Application can be submitted only in Finland. There is a fee for application.

There are other grounds, such as adoption, for acquiring Finnish citizenship as well. For more information and fees kindly contact the Finnish Immigration Service or the Consular section.

Dual nationality

A new Finnish Nationality Act permitting dual (and multiple) nationality more broadly than before came into force on June 1, 2003.

A Finn does not forfeit Finnish citizenship on gaining citizenship of another country. Similarly, foreigners who gain Finnish citizenship no longer need to give up their earlier citizenship.

A Finn may keep Finnish citizenship if dual nationality is accepted in the country whose citizenship he or she gains. Likewise, foreigners can keep their earlier citizenship if the law in that country does not prevent them from gaining Finnish citizenship too.

A child can gain dual nationality at birth if the parents are married but have different citizenships. If a child has dual citizenship by birth, this should be informed when registering the birth.

Kindly note that it is person's own responsibility to update their citizenship information in the Population Register.

In order for other citizenships to be entered in the Population Register in Finland, the original citizenship decision (or certified copies) must be submitted to the nearest Finnish Embassy or register office in Finland. The decision must be either in Finnish, Swedish or English.

More information from the Finnish Immigration Service and Local register offices

Note! From 16 February 2019, based on new EU Regulation, certain public documents issued by the authorities of EU countries must be accepted in other EU countries without requiring a so-called apostille to be attached to the document. Read more: Acceptance procedure for public documents is simplified in EU countries.  

Retaining Finnish citizenship at the age of 22

A person born and resident abroad who has dual nationality (Finland and another country) may have to forfeit Finnish citizenship on reaching the age of 22.

A Finnish citizen who is also a citizen of a foreign country can keep Finnish citizenship only if he or she has a sufficiently strong link with Finland. What this means is defined in the Finnish Citizenship Act.

A sufficiently strong link is considered to exist if one of the following criteria is fulfilled:

1) if you were born in Finland and are domiciled in Finland when turning 22,
2) if you have lived in Finland, or  another Nordic country (Iceland, Norway, Sweden or Denmark) for a total of seven years before reaching the age of 22,
3) if you were issued a Finnish passport at the age18-21,
4) if you at the age 18-21 have stated in writing to a Finnish diplomatic mission abroad or to a Finnish local registry office, that you wish to retain Finnish citizenship. The declaration is free-form and can be submitted either in person or by post.  
5) if you have done military or non-military service at the age 18-21.

More information from the Finnish Immigration Service.

Military service and dual nationality

A person with dual nationality and resident outside Finland may apply for an exemption from Finnish military service.

Exemption can be done in the following cases:
1) a person has completed military service in another country,
2) a person has lived abroad at least seven years,
3) a person cannot prove to have ties to Finland.

Above mentioned  circumstanses should be proven with a free-form letter addressed to the Military Province Headquarters in the military province where the person’s municipality of residence is located.

More information from The Finnish Defence Forces.

Note! Dual nationals must remember keep their Finnish Population Register data up-to-date regarding citizenships and address.

Establishing your citizenship

The Finnish Immigration Service may determine your citizenship status in, for example, the following cases:

  • you want to know whether you are a Finnish citizen
  • your citizenship information in the population information system is not correct (your true nationality is not the same as that registered in the population information system)
  • you want to know the citizenship of a child in your custody

Request determination of citizenship using form KAN_9. A processing fee is charged for determination of citizenship, which is payable in advance to the Finnish Immigration Service’s bank account (or alternatively at the Embassy)..

More information from the Finnish Immigration Service.

New Nationality Act 1.9.2011

Amendments to the Nationality Act (Kansalaisuuslaki 359/2003) entered into force as of 1 September 2011.

The Nationality Act includes also amendments that concern persons living abroad.
Former Finnish citizens can re-apply for citizenship by declaration. The citizenship will be granted regardless of whether the former Finnish citizen’s domicile is in Finland or abroad.

The declaration procedure does not apply to Finnish citizens’ children.
A person living abroad (former Finnish citizen, illegitimate children of Finnish men, adopted children) can submit a declaration at any police station in Finland or at the relevant Finnish representation. The declaration can also be filed at the nearest embassy.

A child’s parent or legal guardian or representative can submit a declaration on behalf of the child.

Retaining Finnish citizenship at the age of 22 has also changed. As of 1 September 2011, applying for a Finnish passport at the age of 18-21 years serves as proof of sufficiently close ties to Finland. Furthermore, starting military or non-military service or voluntary military service for women before turning 22 years of age will prevent losing Finnish citizenship. Those who have acquired Finnish citizenship by application or by declaration will retain their citizenship at the age of 22.

More information about the amended Nationality Act and the fees are available on the home page of the Finnish Immigration Service

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