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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Embassy of Finland, Dublin: Services for Finns: Citizenship

EMBASSY OF FINLAND, Dublin

Tel. +353-1-478 1344
E-mail: sanomat.dub@formin.fi
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Citizenship

A person can acquire Finnish citizenship on the basis of

  1. The parentage principle: the parent or adoptive parent holds Finnish citizenship. A child automatically obtains Finnish citizenship if his/her mother is a Finnish citizen (applies to children born on or after September 1, 1984). Also, if the child's father is a Finnish citizen and the parents are married, the child acquires Finnish citizenship (legitimation). A child automatically obtains Finnish citizenship if the adoption decision for a child being adopted by a Finnish citizen is granted prior to the child’s 12th birthday. The child's birth should also be registered in The Finnish Population Register Center.
  2. Declaration. If the child's parents are not married, the child of a Finnish father can acquire Finnish citizenship via the declaration process if the paternity has been confirmed according to the Finnish law. In Ireland decisions on paternity are based on the official birth certificate issued by The General Register Office, a document which typically includes the mother’s and father’s name. Since February 2010 this decision is valid in Finland without separate verification only when the father’s name is on the official Irish birth certificate. More information is available from the General Register Office. An adopted child aged 12-17 years will acquire Finnish citizenship by declaration. There is a fee for making the declaration. The child's birth should also be registered in The Finnish Population Register Center.
  3. The birthplace principle: birth in Finland. A child acquires Finnish citizenship if the child is born in Finland and cannot acquire any other citizenship.
  4. Application. A foreigner may acquire Finnish citizenship upon application if certain requirements are reliably established. The application can only be submitted in Finland. There is a fee for making an application.

For more information and fees contact the Immigration Service or the Embassy of Finland, tel. +353 (0)1 478 1344 or email sanomat.dub@formin.fi.

Dual nationality 

The Finnish Nationality Act, which permits dual nationality more broadly than before, came into force on June 1, 2003. Finnish nationals will no longer lose their Finnish citizenship when they assume another citizenship. Foreign nationals gaining Finnish citizenship also do not have to relinquish their present citizenship if the law in that state does not prevent them from obtaining Finnish citizenship.Other countries’ legislation may influence your multiple citizenship status. Not all nations allow their citizens to be the citizens of a second country.

A Finnish national may retain Finnish citizenship providing that multiple citizenships are accepted in the country where an additional citizenship is to be obtained. In the same way foreign nationals may retain their previous citizenship if the legislation in that country does not prevent them from obtaining Finnish citizenship. Becoming familiar with the legislation regarding dual and multiple citizenships in your countries of citizenship will help prevent the unintended loss of citizenship.

A child can gain dual nationality at birth if the parents have different citizenships.

Finnish citizens residing abroad must keep the personal data that has been entered in the Finnish Population Information System up-to-date. Therefore any changes to the citizenship status of a Finnish citizen must be reported to the Local Register Office (maistraatti). More information: Registering and reporting changes with the Finnish Population Information Service.

Retaining/Losing Finnish citizenship at the age of 22

Retaining your Finnish citizenship at the age of 18–22

If you happen to be a citizen of Finland and another country, you may lose your Finnish citizenship at the age of 22.

Losing your citizenship at the age of 22

You will lose your Finnish citizenship at the age of 22 if, as a citizen of Finland and another country, you have not had a sufficient connection with Finland. Please note: The automatic loss of Finnish citizenship does not mean your child(ren) will lose their Finnish citizenship.

Sufficient connection

Sufficient connection with Finland ensures that your Finnish citizenship will not be lost. Your connection with Finland is sufficient if

  • you were born in Finland and your place of residence is in Finland at the age of 22, or
  • you have lived in Finland or another Nordic country (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, or Sweden) for at least seven years before you reach the age of 22, or
  • you have, between the ages of 18 and 21, applied for or been granted a Finnish passport, or
  • you have completed or are currently carrying out military or civil service in Finland, or
  • you have been granted Finnish citizenship through application or declaration, or
  • you have notified a Finnish embassy abroad or a Local Register Office (maistraatti), Ylivieska unit in Finland that you wish to retain your citizenship. Notifying an honorary consulate or the Finnish Immigration Service is not acceptable. The notification must be made in writing.

Notification of the threat of losing citizenship

The Finnish Immigration Service will notify you of the potential loss of your Finnish citizenship and the possibility of retaining your citizenship if you have resided in Finland for less than seven years.

This notification is sent in the year of your 18th birthday if your address is listed in the Finnish Population Information System. It is, therefore, very important that your information in the population information system is up to date. You can check your information with the Local Register Office (maistraatti) where you last resided in Finland. If you do not remember the address, you can ask the Register Office in Pietarsaari (Jakobstad) to check your information. The Register Office enters information on the automatic retention and loss of Finnish citizenship in the population information system and notifies you of it.

If you have already lost your Finnish citizenship

If you have lost your Finnish citizenship at the age of 22 because you did not have sufficient connection with Finland, you can re-acquire your citizenship through declaration. Submit the citizenship declaration in person to the police  in Finland or to a Finnish embassy abroad. A fee will be charged for the processing of the declaration.

More information from the Finnish Immigration Service.

Military service and dual nationality

When you have more than one nationality

If you have been the citizen of another country, but now have a Finnish passport, this is how compulsory military service applies to you. If you have completed compulsory peacetime military service in your former home country or at least four (4) months of it, you can apply to be exempted from Finnish peacetime military service. The final decision will be made by the Finnish Defense Forces’ (FDF) Regional Office.

The Regional Office can also exempt you from peacetime military service on special grounds if

  1. you have Finnish citizenship and one or more other citizenships, 
  2. your permanent address is not in Finland and
  3. you do not have any real ties to Finland.

If you have dual citizenship and are legally required to do Finnish military service, you may be exempt from military service if you have lived outside Finland for the last seven (7) years. In this case you do not need to apply for the exemption from the Finnish military service. You can, however, be ordered into military service if you move to Finland any time before the end of the year in which you become 30 years old.

The Finnish Defence Forces uses data listed in the Finnish Population Information System to decide whether you must or must not do military service. This is why it is important that your information - nationality/nationalities, permanent address, where you have lived in the past seven years, etc - is correct and up-to-date. You can check your personal details from the Local Register Office (maistraatti) or the Finnish Embassy closest to you, more information Registering and reporting changes with the Finnish Population Information Service.

If you are a Finnish citizen and the citizen of another country, make sure you do not automatically lose your Finnish citizenship at the age of 22. This is especially important if you are entering military service from abroad and are 21 years of age or older. More information: Retaining/Loosing Finnish citizenship at the age of 22.

More information Finnish Defence Forces.

Amendments to Finland’s Nationality Act 1.9.2011

The Nationality Act, which came into force on September 1, 2011, includes amendments that concern people living abroad. The Act enables former Finnish citizens to re-acquire Finnish citizenship by declaration. Citizenship in such cases is granted whether the former Finnish citizen resides in Finland or abroad. The declaration procedure does not apply to the former Finnish citizens’ children.

People living abroad (former Finnish citizens, children of Finnish men born outside of marriage, adopted children) can submit a declaration in person at any police station in Finland. Declarations can also be submitted abroad to the nearest Finnish embassy, consulate or honorary consulate. In Ireland the declaration can be submitted to the Embassy in Dublin or the Finnish Honorary Consulates.

If the application for Finnish citizenship concerns a child under 18 years of age (child as primary applicant), that child must be a former citizen of Finland. The declaration for a child may only be made by the guardian of that child.

More information: The Finnish Immigration Service.

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This document

Updated 27/07/2016


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