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Frequently asked questions: Refugees and asylum seekers

How do I enter Finland as a refugee?

Each year Finland receives a quota of refugees and asylum may also be applied for in Finland.

For further information, read quota refugees and applying for asylum.

How can I apply for asylum in Finland?

You must submit an asylum application personally to the police or border control upon arrival in Finland or shortly afterwards.

You may not make an asylum application at or via Finnish missions overseas, nor by post or e-mail from abroad.

Read more about applying for asylum.

Could you send the papers to me in the Ivory Coast, so I can apply for asylum in Finland?

We cannot send application papers as it is not possible to apply from abroad by post or e-mail.

Read more about applying for asylum.

Can an asylum seeker work gainfully?

As an asylum seeker, you are allowed to work for pay in Finland without a residence permit once three months has passed from the submittal of your asylum application if you have a travel document entitling you to international travel. If you do not have such a document, you are allowed to work for pay in Finland without a residence permit once six months has passed from the submittal of your asylum application.

Read more about asylum seeker's right to work.

As an employer, how can I ensure that a foreign employee has the right to work?

You can ask about your employee’s right to work free of charge by sending an email message to the Finnish Immigration Service.

Send email to For data protection reasons, we recommend that you send us an encrypted email message using the service at If you cannot send encrypted email, you can send us a normal email message. Include the following details in your message:

  1. your employee’s last name
  2. your employee’s first name
  3. customer number (which can be found on your employee’s residence permit card, reception centre client card or certificate of pending application next to ‘customer number’ or ‘asiakasnumero’.)
  4. your own name
  5. name of your company
  6. email address

You will receive an email message within 2 weeks stating whether your employee’s right to work is valid or not.

Further information on web page: Information about right to work

What does tracing mean?

The objective of tracing is to re-establish contact between the minor asylum seeker and his or her guardian residing outside Finland. The purpose of tracing, furthermore, is to help the Finnish Immigration Service base its decision on facts.

It is in the interest of a child to know where his or her guardians are residing. The Alien’s Act actually requires that the location of the parents of an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker, or some other person responsible for his or her guardianship, be traced if possible.

What is meant by age determination and why is this necessary for an asylum seeker?

Determining a person’s age is significant with regard to several statutory rights and obligations. For example, a child under the age of 18 applying for international protection who does not have a guardian is safeguarded through special arrangements during the asylum process and at the reception centre for asylum seekers.

More information: Age assessment or establishment of age of a person younger than 18

How many Iraqis have applied for asylum in Finland? How many Indians are there in Finland?

You can acquaint yourself with the statistics on asylum seekers and foreign citizens in Finland on the page Statistics.

According to Finland, which are the "safe countries" from which refugees are not taken in?

Finland does not have a separate list of safe countries. Each asylum seeker’s application is dealt with on its own merits.

I am preparing a study/an essay on Finnish refugee policy. Where can I obtain further information?

Useful pages for you could be:

Where can I find the text of the Finnish Alien’s Act?

The English translation of the Alien’s Act from the Finlex legislative database can be found here:

How much financial support does an asylum seeker get?

The financial support, which is granted by the reception centre is intended for fundamental basic needs. For further information read: The reception allowance.