Second citizenship

All the steps on the path to Finland citizenship

Finnish citizenship allows you to travel visa-free to 189 countries throughout the world, live and work in the EU, and take advantage of a free education system, as well as a high quality medical system.

We discuss the conditions that need to be met to get a Finnish passport, the benefits of Finish citizenship, and whether you can remain a citizen of another country at the same time.

How to get Finnish citizenship: a view of the embankment in Helsinki

Finland is valued for its stability and social security. The government not only looks after its citizens but also preserves the environment. 

This country is popular among foreigners who prefer to live close to nature, in a peaceful and clean environment, and enjoy the benefits of high technology.

How to get Finnish citizenship

Finnish citizenship can be obtained by declaration and naturalization. You cannot get a Finnish passport by investment. The rules for obtaining Finnish citizenship are enshrined in the country’s citizenship law.

Citizenship is automatically acquired by a child at birth born to Finnish parents. At the time of its adoption, the Citizenship Act of 1 June 2003 provided for the transfer of Finnish citizenship through the pate al line and the latest amendments were made to it on April 1, 2019 when the Mate ity Act came into force. 

A child acquires Finnish citizenship automatically under the following circumstances:

  • the child's mother is a Finnish citizen;
  • the child's father is a Finnish citizen and is married to the child's mother;
  • 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.

Citizenship by declaration is the cheapest and fastest way to get a Finnish passport. Upon application, Finnish citizenship is acquired in the following circumstances:

  • a child who was born abroad and out of wedlock to a Finnish parent;
  • a child from 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 between the ages of 18 and 22 who was born abroad and has lived in Finland for 10 years or who was born in Finland and has lived in the country for 6 years.

Citizenship by naturalization can be granted to foreigners who meet the following requirements:

  • have not violated the laws of the country;
  • have lived in Finland for six years based on a residence permit or permanent residence;
  • uphold the country's democratic values;
  • have a fixed income not lower than the established subsistence level in Finland; 
  • do not have unpaid taxes or fines;
  • own real estate or rent housing in Finland;
  • know Finnish or Swedish at the B1 level or can speak in the Finnish-Swedish sign language.

Most often, Finnish citizenship is obtained by naturalization.

How to obtain Finnish citizenship by naturalization

To get a Finnish passport by naturalization, you need to live there for four years based on a residence permit, and then two years based on permanent residence. Applicants can apply for Finnish citizenship after six years of permanent residence there.

6 years
to get Finnish citizenship 
1
4 years
Residence permit
2
2 years 
Permanent residence 
3
Citizenship

Residence is considered permanent if the applicant did not leave Finland for more than two consecutive years in the four years preceding the application. 

To obtain Finnish citizenship, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have no criminal record.
  2. Rent or own residential property in Finland.
  3. Receive an income that is not lower than the established subsistence level in Finland and pay their taxes. 
  4. Pass a Finnish or Swedish language test at level B1 or be proficient in the Finnish-Swedish Sign Language.
  5. Fulfill the conditions stipulated for permanent residence in Finland. 

Finland recognizes the second citizenship of Finnish citizens. If a Finnish citizen has more than one citizenship, the Finnish authorities recognize them as a Finnish citizen both in Finland and abroad.

Гражданство Финляндии: финские деревянные дома в городе Порвоо на реке Порвоонйоки, Финляндия
City of Porvoo on the Porvoonjoki River

Time frame for getting a Finnish residence permit

Citizens of countries not belonging to the European Union visiting Finland for a period of more than 90 days need to get a residence permit. Citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland do not need to obtain a residence permit in Finland; they can simply  register at their place of residence. 

The duration of a residence permit in Finland depends on the application category and varies from six months to four years. For example, a residence permit for studying can be obtained for a period of six months to two years, whereas a work-related residence permit can be valid for the duration of the employment contract, but not for more than four years.

There are two types of Finnish residence permits: A and B. Type B residence permits are usually issued to seasonal workers and students for a period of six months to two years and cannot be extended for a period exceeding one year.

6 months to 4 years
duration of residence permits in Finland

A type A residence permit can be obtained for a period of one to four years, depending on the purpose for which it was granted and it can be extended for four years. Permanent residence in Finland is obtained after four years of continuous residence based on a type A residence permit.

The complete guide on obtaining a residence permit in Europe

How to get a Finnish residence permit

General requirements for obtaining a Finnish residence permit: 

  1. Valid passport.
  2. Certificate of no criminal record.
  3. Certificate of absence of tuberculosis.
  4. Sufficient income to live on without receiving benefits. 
  5. Own or rent housing in Finland.
  6. Medical insurance policy for the duration of the residence permit.
  7. Payment of state duty.
  8. Fulfillment of conditions for certain categories of residence permits. 

An application is made by each adult person: even family members cannot be included in the same application. For example, if an applicant applies for a residence permit for work, then their spouse has to apply for a residence permit based on family ties. A child is included in the parent’s or guardian's application based on family ties. 

Upon approval of the residence permit, the applicant receives a plastic biometric card, in which their fingerprints and a digital photograph are embedded.

A residence permit must be extended in the three-month period before it expires. A residence permit can be extended on the same grounds based on which it was originally issued or on different grounds. A type A Finnish residence permit can be extended for up to four years. 

Additional conditions for obtaining certain categories of residence permits in Finland

ReasonsWhat you need
WorkSigned employment contract.

The category of the residence permit application and the level of income required depend on the type of work.

The employer obtains the worker's residence permit from the Employment and Economic Development Office. Permits are approved if workers with suitable qualifications cannot be found on the labor market in Finland or the EU within a reasonable time period.

The processing time of the application and the likelihood of rejection are reduced if the employer completes the form electronically on EnterFinland or signs the paper document
StudiesLetter of acceptance to study at a university or educational institution
Family tiesLiving together with the sponsor.

Sponsor: a family member who has or plans to get a Finnish residence permit:
spouse;
cohabitant in a registered partnership;
child under 18;
child's guardian
RemigrationEvidence of Finnish ancestry: your parents or grandparents were or are Finnish citizens. It does not matter if the Finnish descendants lost their citizenship.

This category is available to applicants who had Finnish citizenship in the past, were evacuated from Ingria or served in the Finnish army in 1939-1945.

You do not need to prove that you have the subsistence level income to live in Finland.

Income requirements for a Finnish residence permit

An applicant for a residence permit confirms that they have sufficient funds to live in Finland. The amount of income required differs amongst residence permit categories and is reviewed annually. 

For example, in 2021, the conditions for monthly income were as follows:

  • Based on minimum monthly living costs of €560, students applying for a one-year residence permit needed to have €6,720 in their account and those applying for a two-year residence permit were required to have €13,440 € in their account;
  • €1,000 for an adult and €500 for a minor child for a residence permit based on family ties;
  • €1,252: the minimum wage in accordance with the Unemployment Insurance Law;
  • €3,000 for work as a specialist;
  • €4,929 to receive the EU blue card.

How to get a Finnish residence permit by investment

You cannot apply for Finnish citizenship by investment, or by buying real estate or securities. However, wealthy people can obtain a Finnish residence permit for doing business or a residence permit for financially independent persons. The spouse and child of the applicant must submit a separate application for a residence permit based on family ties.

A residence permit by investment in a business can only be obtained after approval from Business Finland, which evaluates the business model, team and resources for the potential for rapid international growth. If approved, the applicant is granted permission to start a business.

Permission is initially obtained for up to two years, after which it can be extended. The approval does not imply financial support from Business Finland.

Finnish legislation does not regulate the amount of investment, the number of employees or the authorized capital of the company. The basic conditions for approval are profitability, solvency, and correspondence of the qualifications and salaries of employees with similar specialities. 

An applicant cannot get a residence permit by investment just by owning a company, they are required to work in it. 

The application is processed in two stages. Initially, the decision is made by the Center for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Center). The Finnish Migration Service then reviews the application. This process can take from one to 12 months.

A residence permit for financially independent persons can be obtained by wealthy people with income that fully covers their needs. At the same time, they are not allowed to work in Finland and are required to spend at least 183 days a year there.

The main condition for this category is to have a regular income outside Finland. For example, proof of income can be an employment contract, an author's contract, an investment lease agreement, a share in a business, or ownership of assets.

Comparison of Finnish residence permits for doing business and for financially independent persons

Comparison criteriaResidence permit for businessResidence permit for financially independent persons
EligibilityForeign citizen over 18 years old with education and experience in the field of the future businessForeign citizen over 18 years old
Knowledge of Finnish or SwedishOptional, but considered an advantageOptional
CapitalSufficient to start a companySufficient to provide for yourself and your family for the duration of the residence permit
Business projectApproved Business FinlandNot needed
Additional requirementsRent or buy a home and have a valid health insurance policy
For applicants over 45 years old, a pension insurance contract or life insurance is also required
Rent or buy a home and have a valid health insurance policy

Where to apply for a residence permit

An application for a Finnish residence permit can be submitted in the following ways:

  1. Through the electronic service EnterFinland.
  2. In person: make an appointment in advance through The Finnish Immigration Service and select a service point.
  3. Through Finnish embassies or consulates in other countries. Their contact information is on the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Documents that are not written in Finnish, Swedish or English must be translated by an authorized translator and legalized: certified by the Finnish Consulate or apostilled. 

How to get Finnish permanent residence

An application for permanent residence is submitted after four years of continuous residence based on a type A residence permit.

4 years
you need to live in Finland with a type A residence permit in order to apply for permanent residence

In some cases, the period for obtaining permanent residence can be reduced. For example, an investor with a residence permit for business can apply for permanent residence in three years if the company they have founded is developing successfully. 

The residence period is considered continuous if the applicant was absent from the country for no more than two years during the four years of their stay with a type A residence permit.

To obtain permanent residence, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Have a stable income and not use state benefits.
  2. Pay taxes and pension contributions for all four years.
  3. Live in your own or rented accommodation.
  4. Comply with Finnish law.
  5. Have proof of knowledge of Finnish or Swedish at level B1 or knowledge of the Finnish-Swedish sign language.
  6. Comply with the rules for continuous residence in Finland.
  7. Pay the state duty. 

An application for permanent residence can only be submitted in Finland through EnterFinland or in person by making an appointment in advance through The Finnish Immigration Service and selecting a service point.

If the applicant is applying through EnterFinland, they need to visit the Finnish Immigration Service to verify their identity, have their fingerprints taken and show the original documents. 

Benefits of Finnish citizenship

Living in a prosperous society. Foreigners are attracted by the stability of the economy, social and legal security, and the high levels of the medical and educational systems. The beautiful nature in Finland, good ecology, peace and quiet, and the stability of life there create comfortable conditions for living and raising children. 

In Finland, the minimum wage is reviewed and increased annually. According to the Statistical Office, in 2021, the minimum wage was €1,323 per month, while the average salary was €3,548 per month before taxes. Trade unions enforce labour laws and protect workers' rights. 

Education in Finland is free for citizens and residents of the country. Children have equal rights to receive education, regardless of the financial position of their parents.

The country has a high level of qualifications and salaries for teachers, and there is no significant gap in the quality of education between schools.

More than 500 courses are taught in English in Finnish universities. Finnish university graduates have a high chance of getting a job and moving to the country of their choice: more than 90 countries recognize their diplomas. 

The high quality of the medical system in Finland is supported by the state, which compensates up to 80% of all costs for medical examinations, treatment and medicines with the Kela social security card.

District polyclinics and hospitals are equipped with all the modern computer technologies necessary for diagnostics and rehabilitation, including bioresonance diagnostics and thermoscopies. Healthcare workers work in schools, and dentistry for children is free.

The government allocates funds for disease prevention and programs for outdoor sports have been developed. Sports are popular among both children and older people. According to Finnish tradition, bad weather is no reason to postpone training.

Convenient transport links throughout Europe. From Finland it is convenient to travel to any European country by plane, train, ferry, car or bus. For example, a plane ticket from Helsinki to London costs €47, and a plane ticket to Rome costs €52. 

Landmarks and attractions. Finland is known for its national parks, ski spas and Santa’s home in Lapland. Medieval castles and fortresses have also been preserved here.

Finns carefully protect their national traditions. Finland is famous for its national cuisine, saunas, and love of fishing and skiing. The locals call their country Suomi.

The climate is cold and subarctic: one-third of the country's arearnis located beyond the Arctic Circle. Summers in Finland are warm and winters are cold. The temperature in July rises to +25°С and in January drops to -5 to -20°С. It snows for four to seven months.

The northern location of Finland affects the daylight hours: in summer there are white nights and in winter daylight hours last on average up to just four hours. From September to March, the northern lights can be observed in the sky.

Nature. There are more than 180,000 lakes in Finland, which reach a depth of 20 to 100 meters. They are inhabited by perch, pike, trout, salmon, bream, and eel. The coniferous forests in Finland help make the air clean and healthy. Rare species of fe , moss, mushrooms and northern berries grow here: cranberries, lingonberries, blueberries and cloudberries.

Ecology. The Finns take care of the surrounding ecosystem: it is forbidden to cut down trees or kill animals, and bonfires are made only in specially equipped places. Taking care of nature in Finland is taught from childhood, including in kindergartens and schools. 

In Finland, they maintain cleanliness, recycle garbage, and consume energy from renewable sources: wind, water and the sun. Mode echnologies are used in the construction of houses: insulation helps to maintain heat with minimal energy consumption, and ventilation keeps the air fresh.

ПМЖ в Финляндии: деревянный домик на берегу озера, оборудованный для отдыха

House in the forest, equipped for rest and recreation

ВНЖ в Финляндии за инвестиции: северное сияние над морем

The northern lights are observed over the skies of Finland from September to March

ВНЖ в Финляндии: снеговик перед офисом Санта-Клауса в деревне Санта-Клауса в Рованиеми, Лапландия

Santa’s office in Santa Claus village in Rovaniemi, Lapland

ВНЖ в Финляндии: Вид на старый Порвоо, Финляндия. Красивый городской осенний пейзаж с красочными деревянными зданиями

View of old Porvoo, Finland

How to get a passport or residence permit in other European countries

A European passport or residence permit by investment can be obtained faster in other countries. In some EU countries, getting citizenship through naturalization takes one year.

A Swiss residence permit for financially independent persons does not give you the right to work there. The investor concludes an agreement with the administration of the canton and pays a lump-sum tax of ₣450,000. The registration process takes about six months to complete.

A Greek residence permit can be obtained by investment in real estate or shares of local companies, or opening a deposit account in a Greek bank. The minimum investment is €250,000. The registration process takes about three months.

Malta offers investors two options: permanent residence by investment and citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment.

Maltese permanent residence is issued if the investor fulfills the following conditions:

  1. Buys or rents housing in Malta.
  2. Pays a government fee and an administrative fee.
  3. Makes a charitable contribution to a Maltese non-governmental organization.
  4. Confirms ownership of assets of €500,000.

The minimum investment is €150,000. The registration process takes about six months.

Maltese citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment of €690,000 can only be obtained by naturalization. The investor first receives a residence permit, and after a year or three years, depending on the amount invested, applies for citizenship.

Portuguese resident permit. Applicants can choose from eight options. The most popular options that are available in 2022 are listed below:

  • purchase real estate for restoration for €350,000;
  • purchase any real estate for €500,000;
  • invest €500,000 in funds;
  • capital transfer of €1,500,000. 

You can apply for a Portuguese passport after five years as a residence permit holder. At the same time, you do not need to live there, as investors are required to spend just seven days a year in Portugal.

5 years
later a residence permit holder can apply for Portuguese citizenship

The main points on Finnish citizenship

You can get a Finnish passport after six years of continuous residence in the country. 

The main ways to acquire citizenship are as follows: 

  • by birth: if the child was born to Finnish citizens; 
  • through ancestry: if the child, parent, or grandparents are Finns;
  • through naturalization after six years of living in Finland.

An applicant for citizenship needs to work or do business in Finland, pay their taxes, own or rent a home, and know Finnish, Swedish or the Finnish-Swedish sign language. 

You cannot immediately obtain citizenship by investment, but there are alternative ways to become a Finnish resident by applying for a Finnish residence permit for financially independent persons or a residence permit for investors in a Finnish business. Investors and financially independent persons can apply for citizenship after six years if they fulfill the general conditions for naturalization.

If you want to have the opportunity to live in Finland, Maltese Citizenship for special services by direct investment may suit you. The investor first receives a residence permit, and after a year or three years, applies for citizenship. To live, work and study in Finland, Maltese citizens need to only register their place of residence.

The complete guide on obtaining Maltese citizenship

Answers to frequently asked questions

How can I get Finnish citizenship?

Finnish citizenship can be obtained by naturalization, birth, adoption or Finnish ancestry. Most often, foreigners obtain Finnish citizenship through naturalization. An application for citizenship can be submitted after six years of legal residence in the country based on a residence permit and permanent residence.

Is it possible to obtain Finnish citizenship by investment?

No, it is not possible to obtain Finnish citizenship by investing, or buying real estate or securities. However, wealthy people can obtain a Finnish residence permit for doing business or arnresidence permit for financially independent persons.

How can I get a residence permit in Finland?

A residence permit is required in Finland for non-EU foreigners wishing to stay in the country for more than 90 days. For shorter stays, a Schengen visa is sufficient.  Most often, a residence permit is obtained for work, studies, family ties or for Finnish ancestry. General requirements for getting a Finnish residence permit: 

  • valid passport;
  • certificate of no criminal record;
  • certificate of absence of tuberculosis;
  • sufficient income to live without receiving state benefits; 
  • own or rent housing in Finland;
  • valid medical insurance policy for the duration of the residence permit;
  • payment of state duty;
  • fulfillment of the conditions for certain categories of residence permits.
How to get permanent residence in Finland?

To obtain Finnish permanent residence, you need to continuously live in the country for four years with a type A residence permit. The period of residence is considered continuous as long as you do not leave Finland for more than two years during the four years spent there with a type A residence permit. To obtain permanent residence you need to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Have a stable income and not use state resources.
  2. Pay taxes and pension contributions for all four years.
  3. Live in your own or rented accommodation.
  4. Comply with Finnish law.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of Finnish or Swedish at the B1 level or knowledge of the Finnish-Swedish sign language.
  6. Comply with the rules for continuous residence in Finland.
  7. Pay the state duty.
Does Finland allow second citizenship?

Yes, Finland accepts multiple citizenships. If a Finnish citizen has more than one citizenship, the Finnish authorities recognize them as a Finnish citizen both in Finland and abroad.

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All the steps on the path to Finland citizenship