A child of a Finnish citizen receives Finnish citizenship through his or her parents (the parentage principle). The parentage principle is always applied in accordance with the provisions of the Nationality Act that were in force at the time the child was born (the current Nationality Act entered into force on 1 June 2003). Starting from 1 April 2019, a child can receive Finnish citizenship also through his or her non-birth mother.
However, Finnish citizenship does not automatically pass on to a child who is born out of wedlock outside Finland to a Finnish father or a Finnish non-birth mother.
The Finnish Immigration Service may grant Finnish citizenship on declaration or on application. For an applicant, the declaration procedure is a faster and more inexpensive way to become a citizen. Finnish citizenship may be obtained by declaration by:
- a child born abroad and out of wedlock to a Finnish man or a Finnish non-birth mother
- an adopted child between 12 and 17 years of age
- a former Finnish citizen
- a Nordic citizen
- a young person between 18 and 22 years of age who has lived in Finland long enough
If you do not belong to any of these groups, you may get citizenship by application (this process is called ‘naturalisation’). In order to get a positive decision on your application, you must fulfil the requirements for naturalisation:
- established identity
- sufficient language skills
- sufficient period of residence
- means of support
- fulfilled payment obligations
Finland accepts multiple citizenship. In other words, a Finnish citizen may also be a citizen of some other country. Even if a Finnish citizen has more than one citizenship, the Finnish authorities will consider him or her to be a Finnish citizen both in Finland and abroad. However, the authorities of other countries may not necessarily consider him or her to be a Finnish citizen because not every country accepts multiple citizenship in the same way.