Finland to Apply Stricter Rules for Acquiring Citizenship From October 1

From October 1 2024, foreign citizens planning to acquire Finnish citizenship will be subject to stricter rules.

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The bill proposing amendments to the Citizenship Act – that would extend the period of residence required for Finnish citizenship from five to eight years – has been approved by the Parliament of Finland.

The new rules are also applied to persons who have received international protection in Finland, Schengen.News reports.

Once the amendment is in force, it will no longer be possible to derogate from the requirement on grounds of international protection.

Finnish government

However, the government stressed that citizenship applications made by beneficiaries of international protection would continue to be considered urgently, with the decision on granting citizenship filed no later than one year after the applicant submitted their application.

Proposals to apply new changes to the Citizenship Act were submitted to the Finnish Parliament in a government session on April 18.

One of the objectives set in the Government Programme is to tighten the requirements for acquiring Finnish citizenship and encourage immigrants to integrate into Finnish society. The reform will be implemented in stages through three legislative projects.

Finnish Government

Back then, the government said that in this way, the authorities could assess the applicants’ suitability for citizenship over a longer period of time.

Finland Applies New Changes in Determining the Period of Residence for Asylum Seekers

Among the changes approved through the bill proposed on April 18, are also determining periods of residence for asylum seekers.

Through the new changes, only periods of residence with a residence permit would be considered when it comes to determining an applicant’s period of residence.

It means that the time required to process an asylum application would no longer count towards the period of residence. For beneficiaries of international protection in Finland, the approved period of residence would start once they are issued a residence permit.

Through the approved amendments, any stay in Finnish territory without a residence permit would not be taken into account “under any circumstances” when determining the period of residence.

In addition, the applicant’s age, state of health or other similar reasons will no longer be a reason for approving a period of residence without obtaining a residence permit.

Finland Granted Citizenship to 12,224 Foreign Citizens in 2023

Based on the statistics from Statistics Finland, last year, Finnish citizenship was granted to a total of 12,224 internationals permanently resident in Finland. In comparison to 2022’s statistics, last year there were 2,026 more Finnish citizenships.

The most beneficiaries of Finnish citizenship last year were citizens of Russia, whose share was 6 per cent.

At the same time, the statistics from Statistics Finland also revealed that the number of dual citizens in Finland was 172,000 at the end of 2023.