You can only apply for asylum if you are in Finland

You need to be within the Finnish territory when you apply for asylum in Finland. You cannot apply for asylum for example by sending a letter or an e-mail to the Finnish Immigration Service. It is also impossible to apply for asylum at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) located outside Finland.

There is no application form that you can use to apply for asylum in advance. The only way to apply for asylum is to talk to a police or a border control official in Finland.

You can watch videos about applying for asylum on the YouTube channel of the Finnish Immigration Service. The videos are available in Finnish, English, Arabic, Dari, Persian, Somali, Turkish and Russian.

Applying for asylum: Adults

1. The applicant arrives in Finland

and informs the border control authorities or the police that he or she wants to apply for asylum.

2. The border control authorities or the police will register the applicant as an asylum seeker, record the applicant’s personal details and take the applicant’s fingerprints, signature and photograph.

3. The applicant is directed to a reception centre.

4. The Finnish Immigration Service decides whether it should continue the processing of the application.

If some other EU Member State is responsible for processing the application, the application will not be processed in Finland. The applicant will be refused entry and sent to the Member State responsible for examining the application.

5. The Finnish Immigration Service invites the applicant to an asylum interview.

6. The Finnish Immigration Service makes a positive or a negative decision.

Either the Finnish Immigration Service or the police will serve the decision on the applicant.

7a. Positive decision:

The applicant is granted international protection (asylum) or a subsidiary protection status. The applicant may also be granted a residence permit on other grounds. The applicant moves to a municipality.

7b. Negative decision:

The asylum seeker must leave Finland. The applicant may apply for assisted voluntary return. He or she may also appeal the decision.

Applying for asylum: Unaccompanied children

1. The applicant arrives in Finland

and informs the border control authorities or the police that he or she wants to apply for asylum.

2. The border control authorities or the police register the applicant as an asylum seeker, record the applicant’s personal details and take a photograph of the applicant. If the applicant is over the age of six, his or her fingerprints are taken. The applicant’s age permitting, also his or her signature is attached to the application.

3. The applicant is directed to a reception centre.

4. A district court assigns the child a representative.

5. The Finnish Immigration Service decides whether it should continue the processing of the application.

If another EU Member State is responsible for processing the application, the application is not processed in Finland. The applicant is denied admittance or stay and is sent to the Member State responsible for examining the application.

6. The Finnish Immigration Service requests an assessment of the child’s best interests from a social worker at the reception centre.

7. The Finnish Immigration Service invites the applicant and the applicant's representative to an asylum interview.

8. If it is considered to be in the child’s best interest, the Finnish Immigration Service attempts to trace the parents or guardians of the child.

9. If needed, the Finnish Immigration Service may attempt to determine the applicant’s age with the help of an age examination.

10. The Finnish Immigration Service makes a positive or a negative decision.

Either the Finnish Immigration Service or the police serves the applicant with the decision.

10a. Positive decision:

The applicant is granted international protection (asylum) or a subsidiary protection status. The applicant may also be granted a residence permit on other grounds. The applicant moves to a municipality.

10b. Negative decision:

The asylum seeker must leave Finland. Before a minor asylum seeker is returned, the police make sure that the applicant has an appropriate and safe reception in his or her home country. The applicant may apply for assisted voluntary return. He or she may also appeal the decision.