Finnish citizenship by descent is a process that can be initiated if you have one or more Finnish parents or grandparents. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may be able to obtain Finnish citizenship and passport without having to reside in Finland.
TLDR: you can only claim Finnish citizenship directly if one of your parents is Finnish. If your Finnish ancestry is second generation (grandparents), you can relocate to Finland on that basis, and after 6 years of residency, apply for citizenship.
Below we will discuss the steps involved in obtaining Finnish citizenship by descent. We will also provide information on how to apply for a Finnish passport.
Options for obtaining Finnish citizenship
Citizenship in Finland can be earned by birth, parent marriage, adoption, or birthplace. Furthermore, it might be obtained through an application or disclosure to authorities (also see Finnish Nationality Law). The acquisition of Finnish citizenship is primarily founded on the legal principle of jus sanguinis.
However, for many practical reasons, the ideas of municipal domicile and residence in Finland are as essential as the individual’s citizenship status in the relationship between the individual and the Finnish authorities, especially in the case of citizenship by naturalization.
Finnish Citizenship by Descent
A Child born to Finnish parents instantly acquires citizenship. The Citizenship Act of 1 June 2003 provided for the transfer of Finnish citizenship via the pate al line at the time of its enactment, and the most recent revisions were made to it on April 1, 2019, when the Mate ity Act went into effect.
Under the following conditions, a child automatically gains Finnish citizenship:
- The child’s father is a Finnish citizen and is married to the child’s mother;
- The child’s mother is a Finnish citizen;
- The child was born in Finland and the father is a Finnish citizen whose paternity was established on or after 1 June 2003;
- the child was born in Finland and their step-mother is a Finnish citizen whose motherhood was established on or after 1 April 2019.
You can apply for Finnish citizenship by descent if our parents or grandparents were or are Finnish citizens, which is proof of Finnish ancestry. It makes no difference if the Finnish descendants have lost their citizenship.
This category is open to applicants who formerly held Finnish citizenship, were evacuated from Ingria, or served in the Finnish army between 1939 and 1945.
In order to obtain the Finnish passport however, only the first generation will have direct access to citizenship. For people with Finnish ancestry up until the second generation (grandparents), only the remigration option is available. They can migrate and reside in Finland, but will not obtain citizenship automatically.
To live in Finland, you do not need to demonstrate that you have a subsistence level of income. After 6 years of continued residence in Finland, you can apply for Finnish citizenship.
Citizenship by declaration
Citizenship by declaration is the quickest and least expensive option to obtain a Finnish passport. Finnish citizenship is granted upon application in the following circumstances:
- A child born out of wedlock to a Finnish parent born abroad;
- A child aged 12 to 17 years old adopted by Finnish citizens;
- A former citizen of Finland; a citizen of Northern Europe: Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, or Norway;
- A young person aged 18 to 22 born abroad and living in Finland for 10 years or born in Finland and living in the country for 6 years.
Citizenship by naturalization
Foreigners who meet the following qualifications may be granted citizenship through naturalization:
- have not broken any laws;
- have lived in Finland for six years on the basis of a residence permit or permanent residence;
- uphold the country’s democratic values;
- have a fixed income that is not less than the established subsistence level in Finland;
- do not owe any taxes or fines;
- own real estate or rent housing in Finland;
- know Finnish or Swedish at the B1 level or can communicate in the Finnish-Swedish sign language
Naturalization is the most common method of obtaining Finnish citizenship.