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Frequently asked questions about the situation at Finland’s eastern border

The number of asylum applications submitted at Finland’s eastern border has increased. On this page, we have put together answers to frequently asked questions about the increased number of asylum applications. The answers will be updated as the situation develops.

Asylum applications submitted at Finland’s eastern border

Who are now applying for asylum at Finland’s eastern border?

The applicants are third-country nationals. Third-country nationals are citizens of countries that have not joined the European Union or the Schengen Agreement.

Most of the applicants have been staying in Russia only for a short time. Many applicants intend to first enter the territory of the European Union through Russia and then apply for asylum. 

You have said that the asylum applications submitted at Finland’s eastern border will be processed quickly. How will this affect other asylum applications?

At the moment, the processing of applications submitted at the eastern border does not affect the processing of other applications. 

Why have the applications submitted at Finland’s eastern border been selected for quick processing?

Normally, as well as now, we check all applications for certain preliminary information when the application is transferred to the Finnish Immigration Service for processing. An accelerated procedure pursuant to the Aliens Act can be applied if certain conditions are met. Under the Aliens Act, there are shorter time limits for processing an application in an accelerated procedure. If the preliminary information on an application indicates that the application meets the criteria for an accelerated procedure, the applicant will be interviewed sooner than usually.

Based on preliminary information from the border authorities, a relatively high number of the asylum seekers who have arrived in Finland through the eastern border do not have grounds for international protection on the basis of the preliminary information on their application.

If the preliminary information about an application contains indications of the applicant having grounds for international protection, the application will be processed in the same manner as all other asylum applications. Applicants who enter Finland through the eastern border will be interviewed by us in the same way as other applicants. The grounds for their asylum applications will be examined in the interview.

Do people who apply for asylum at the eastern border have the right to an asylum interview? Do they have the right to use a legal counsel?

Yes, they do. Asylum seekers whose interview is conducted after a shorter waiting time have the same rights as other asylum seekers. The interview is the same for them as for other asylum seekers.

When a person applies for asylum, the border authorities or the police will give the applicant the leaflet Information for asylum seekers. The leaflet contains information about the right to use a legal counsel. In addition, reception centres will always inform asylum seekers of their right to use a legal counsel and instruct them on how to get one.

Our video about Legal aid in the asylum process contains information about an asylum seeker's right to a legal counsel and instructions on how to get one. The video is available in several different languages on our YouTube channel. The video is also available on our website on the page Videos for asylum seekers.

Closing of Finland’s eastern border

The Government has decided to close Finland’s eastern border. 

Will I still get my residence permit card delivered to Russia?

Residence permit cards are delivered to Russia using a diplomatic courier of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. As long as these diplomatic couriers can enter Russia, residence permit cards can be delivered to Russia. However, there may be delays in the delivery of residence permit cards.

I am in Russia and my residence permit card has been sent to Finland. How can I collect my residence permit card?

You can ask someone else to collect the card for you. To collect your card, he or she must show the arrival notification sent by DB Schenker and your customer number. For more information about delivery of residence permit cards, see the page Residence permit card.

Can I still travel to Russia from Finland?

The Finnish Border Guard is responsible for controlling the borders of Finland. You can follow the situation at the eastern border on the website of the Border Guard (

I have a residence permit card. Can I travel to Finland from Russia?

The Finnish Border Guard is responsible for controlling the borders of Finland. You can follow the situation at the eastern border on the website of the Border Guard (

General information about seeking asylum

How do you process an asylum application?

To be able to apply for asylum in Finland, the applicant needs to be within the Finnish territory. It is not possible to apply for asylum by sending a letter or an email to the Finnish Immigration Service, for example. It is not possible to apply for asylum at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) located outside Finland.

We examine each asylum application individually, taking into account the current situation in and the up-to-date country information on the asylum seeker’s home country.

Can an asylum seeker work in Finland?

An asylum seeker is allowed to work only if his or her right to work is valid. When an asylum seeker gets a job, he or she must check that his or her right to work has begun and that it is still valid.

An asylum seeker is allowed to find paid employment once 3 or 6 months have passed since he or she applied for asylum. The limit is 3 months if the asylum seeker has presented a valid and authenticated passport or other travel document to the authorities. The limit is 6 months if the applicant has not presented a travel document.

Read more about an asylum seeker’s right to work on the page Asylum seeker’s right to work.

Where will asylum seekers live?

In Finland, asylum seekers are directed to reception centres.

Will Finland have enough reception capacity if there is an exceptional increase in the number of people entering the country?

The capacity of the reception system can be adjusted, depending on current needs. New reception centres can be opened even on short notice.

Preparing for changing circumstances is part of normal official activities.

How will people who get a negative decision be returned to their country of departure?

The police are responsible for enforcing denials of admittance or stay and removals from the country.