This glossary contains key terms used by the Finnish Immigration Service on its website, and their definitions. The definitions do not always follow the legislation word for word, which is why, for more formal definitions, you should get acquainted with the relevant legislation and other source material.
A travel document that can be issued to a foreign national if he or she cannot obtain a passport from the authorities of his or her home country, or if he or she has no citizenship, or if there are other special reasons for issuing an alien’s passport to him or her. Foreign nationals who have been granted a residence permit on the basis of subsidiary protection are issued with an alien’s passport. An alien’s passport is not an official identity document. See subsidiary protection. Cf. refugee travel document.
Assisted voluntary return refers to an arrangement where a third-country national who has applied for international protection, a beneficiary of temporary protection, a victim of human trafficking or a person who has been granted a residence permit under section 51 of the Aliens Act can receive assistance and compensation for travel and relocation costs to his or her home country or another country. A further requirement is that the applicant must leave the country voluntarily and with permanent intent after having cancelled his or her application or after the application has been rejected. See international protection, third-country national, temporary protection. Cf. voluntary return.
A residence permit issued to a foreign national under the asylum procedure on the basis of his or her refugee status. See refugee.
The purpose of an asylum interview is to establish the grounds for an asylum application. The asylum interview is conducted by the Finnish Immigration Service.
A procedure in which the Finnish Immigration Service or the Border Guard first establishes the identity and travel route of the asylum seeker and whether his or her application can be processed in Finland. After that, the Finnish Immigration Service interviews the applicant in order to establish the grounds for his or her asylum application. See asylum interview.
A principle according to which a child acquires citizenship on the basis of the place of birth (ius soli). The birthplace principle is a secondary principle in the Finnish Nationality Act. Cf. parentage principle, inheritance principle.
Citizenship means a legislative bond between an individual and a state determining the individual’s status in the state as well as the basic rights and duties existing between the individual and the state.
A foreign national may be granted Finnish citizenship on application if the requirements laid down in the Nationality Act are met. Exceptions may be made as provided in the Act. Cf. citizenship declaration.
Certain groups of people may acquire Finnish citizenship by declaration. These groups are specified in the Nationality Act. Cf. citizenship application.
A fixed-term residence permit. The permit is issued to a foreign national who has arrived in Finland with the intention of permanent immigration. The permit must be renewed before the validity period expires. A continuous residence permit bears the letter A. Cf. temporary residence permit.
country/state of nationality
The country of which a person holds citizenship. See citizenship, nationality.
Procedure for removing a person from the country. When a foreign national has been issued with a residence permit but a decision is made to remove the person from the country, he or she will be deported. Cf. refusal of entry.
sv tagande i förvar, förvarstagande
An interim measure, means of monitoring. A foreign national may be held in detention if there are grounds to believe that he or she will, for example, hide in order to avoid refusal of entry or deportation. An asylum seeker can be held in detention if it is necessary to establish his or her identity.
determination of citizenship status
fi kansalaisuusaseman määrittäminen
sv bestämmande av medborgarskapsstatus
In unclear situations, the Finnish Immigration Service establishes the citizenship the person is considered to hold in Finland. See also citizenship, nationality.
dismissal of application
fi tutkimatta jättäminen
sv avvisande av ansökan utan prövning
Dismissing an application means that a complete substantial investigation into the application will not be conducted. However, the Finnish Immigration Service will always conduct a preliminary investigation and decide whether your application contains grounds for continuing the investigation. If there are such grounds, a substantial investigation into your application will be conducted. If there are no such grounds, you may get a decision on the dismissal of your application.
sv dubbelt/flerfaldigt medborgarskap
A person may be a citizen of two or several countries.
The Dublin procedure is based on the EU Dublin Regulation and is carried out to determine the state responsible for examining an asylum application. The member states of the EU as well as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein apply the Regulation. Another country can be responsible for examining an application if the asylum seeker, for example, has family ties, a residence permit or a visa in another country applying the Regulation. Another country is also responsible for examining an application if the asylum seeker’s fingerprints have been entered in the Eurodac system after an illegal crossing of the external border of the EU. The country where an asylum seeker has previously sought asylum can also be responsible for examining the application. See European Union (EU), asylum.
Persons who the UN refugee agency UNHCR considers to be refugees in need of urgent resettlement, often due to their personal safety or health. These persons are admitted into the country on the basis of UNHCR’s documents without being interviewed by the Finnish authorities. The emergency cases that are admitted into Finland are a part of the yearly refugee quota. In recent years, the yearly number of emergency cases in Finland has been 100. See also quota refugee.
A person who moves from a country (Finland). Cf. immigrant; migrant.
Ethnic background. Belonging to a specific nation or a group of people (e.g. Ingrian Finns, Kurds, Roma). Ethnic nationality has a different meaning than citizenship. For instance, a person of Kurdish ethnic origin may hold Finnish citizenship. Cf. citizenship, nationality.
EU Blue Card
EU:n sininen kortti
A residence permit intended for a third-country national who comes to an EU member state for highly qualified employment. See third-country national.
A citizen of a member state in the European Union (EU) or in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. EU citizens have the right to move freely within the territory of the Union. The provisions on free movement also apply to citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway based on the EEA Agreement, as well as to citizens of Switzerland based on a separate agreement with the EU. See European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EAA).
The European Economic Area is a common market. Member states of the European Union as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway belong to the European Economic Area. See European Union (EU).
EU residence permit
A long-term resident’s EU residence permit that can be issued to a third-country national after he or she has resided for a continuous period of five years within the territory of the European Union. The permit is valid until further notice. An EU residence permit bears the letters P-EU. See third-country national.
The European Union is a political and economic union that has 27 European member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
A person who has acquired Finnish citizenship by birth. See citizenship, nationality.
Finnish origin refers to Finnish citizens, former Finnish citizens, descendants of persons who have acquired Finnish citizenship by birth and, in residence permit matters, also persons of Finnish ethnic origin. See also Finnish citizen, Finnish citizen by birth, citizenship, nationality, (ethnic) nationality, ethnic origin.
A residence permit that is valid for a certain time period. Fixed-term residence permits are issued for a continuous or temporary residence. See continuous residence permit, temporary residence permit. Cf. permanent residence permit.
A person who is not a Finnish citizen. In legal language, also the word ‘alien’ is used. See Finnish citizen.
Reason for granting a residence permit until 16 May 2016. It was possible to grant a residence permit on the basis of humanitarian protection when the requirements for granting asylum or providing subsidiary protection were not met, but the applicant could not return to his or her home country or country of former habitual residence because of an environmental catastrophe. Another possible reason was a bad security situation which might have been due to an armed conflict or a poor human rights situation. See also asylum, subsidiary protection.
A person who moves into a country (Finland). Cf. emigrant; migrant.
fi kansainvälinen suojelu
sv internationellt skydd
According to EU directives and the Finnish Aliens Act, international protection means refugee status or subsidiary protection status. See also refugee, subsidiary protection, humanitarian protection.
Legal stay means that a foreign national is residing in the country with appropriate and valid permits. The stay is legal on the basis of a valid visa, exemption from the visa requirement or a valid residence permit. A foreign national may reside legally in the country also while his or her residence permit or asylum application is being processed.
An asylum application can be considered manifestly unfounded if 1) no serious violations of human rights or other grounds that are related to non-refoulement have been presented, or if the claims presented are clearly implausible, 2) the applicant obviously intends to abuse the asylum procedure or 3) the applicant comes from a safe country of origin where he or she may be returned. See also non-refoulement.
On the website www.migri.fi, the word ‘mission’ usually refers to Finnish embassies and consulates.
Naturalisation means granting citizenship on application. See citizenship, nationality.
According to the principle of non-refoulement, no one may be sent back to an area where he or she could be subject to the death penalty, torture, persecution or other inhuman treatment or other treatment violating human dignity.
A principle according to which a child acquires the citizenship of his or her parent (ius sanguinis). The inheritance principle is a primary principle in the Finnish Nationality Act. Cf. birthplace principle.
A travel document issued by the authorities of the home country or country of residence, which a foreign national must hold when entering Finland and residing in Finland (excluding citizens of the Nordic countries, among others).
A residence permit whose period of validity is not limited. The permit is valid until further notice and does not need to be renewed. A permanent residence permit bears the letter P. Cf. fixed-term residence permit.
In a decision on refusal of entry or deportation, a foreign national may be prohibited from entering Finland. The prohibition may be valid for a fixed term or until further notice, and it applies either in the entire Schengen area or only in Finland. See also Schengen area.
A person considered a refugee by the UN refugee agency UNHCR who has been granted a residence permit under the refugee quota verified in the Budget. In recent years, the Finnish refugee quota has been 750–1050 people. See also emergency cases, refugee.
A facility where persons applying for international protection and beneficiaries of temporary protection are accommodated and that provides the reception services for them. Group homes and supported housing units intended for children are also reception centres. See also international protection, temporary protection.
Reception unit is a generic concept that covers all premises where asylum seekers are accommodated. A reception unit can refer to, for example, reception centres and temporary accommodation units. See also reception centre.
A foreign national who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of ethnic origin, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Refugee status is granted to a person who has been granted asylum by a state or who is considered a refugee by UNHCR. See also quota refugee, asylum seeker, asylum.
refugee sur place
fi sur place -pakolainen
sv flykting ”sur place”
A refugee whose need of protection has arisen after he or she has left his or her home country. See also refugee.
Procedure for removing a person from the country. When a foreign national has not been issued with a residence permit and a decision is made to remove the person from the country, he or she is refused entry into the country. Cf. deportation.
fi rekisteröity parisuhde
sv registrerat partnerskap
An official relationship between two persons of the same sex. A registered partnership is in many ways comparable to a marriage.
A registration centre is a unit for the reception and registration of newly arrived asylum seekers. After being registered, the asylum seekers move to reception centres. See also reception centre.
A card issued by the Finnish Immigration Service, with which non-EU citizens who are family members of EU citizens can prove their right of residence in Finland. Biometric identifiers stored on the card’s chip include a facial image and two fingerprints. The residence card is not an official identity document. Cf. residence permit card. See EU citizen.
A permit issued to a foreign national for a purpose other than tourism or a comparable short-term residence that entitles the holder to enter the country repeatedly and stay in the country. Residence permits are either fixed-term or permanent. A residence permit can be issued on the basis of, for example, work, self-employment, studies or family ties. See fixed-term residence permit, permanent residence permit. See also visa.
A card issued by the Finnish Immigration Service or the police, with which non-EU citizens can prove their right of residence in Finland. Biometric identifiers stored on the card’s chip include a facial image and two fingerprints. The residence permit card is not an official identity document. Cf. residence card. See EU citizen.
In residence permit matters, a returnee refers to a person moving to Finland who is of Finnish extraction or a person who otherwise has close ties to Finland (is a former Finnish citizen, a descendant of a person who is a Finnish citizen by birth or is otherwise Finnish in origin, for example an Ingrian Finn). See also Finnish citizen, Finnish citizen by birth, Finnish origin.
The Schengen area refers to the area of states applying the Schengen acquis. These states include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
A person residing in Finland whose family member applies for a residence permit in Finland on the basis of family ties in order to be together with the sponsor.
Reason for granting a residence permit. A residence permit is issued on the basis of subsidiary protection when the requirements for granting asylum are not met, but the applicant faces a risk of being subjected to the death penalty, execution, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in his or her home country or country of former habitual residence. A permit may also be issued if the applicant is unable to return to his or her home country or country of former habitual residence without being exposed to serious and individual threat as a result of armed conflicts. See also asylum, international protection.
Temporary protection may be given to foreign nationals who need international protection and who cannot return safely to their home country or country of permanent residence, because there has been a massive displacement of people in the country or its neighbouring areas as a result of an armed conflict, some other violent situation or an environmental disaster. Providing temporary protection requires that the need for protection may be considered to be of short duration.
A fixed-term residence permit. The permit is issued to a foreign national who does not intend to stay in Finland permanently. The permit must be renewed before the validity period expires. A temporary residence permit bears the letter B. Cf. continuous residence permit.
Tracing means establishing the location of the parents or a guardian of an unaccompanied minor or of a child victim of human trafficking who applies for international protection.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UN refugee agency.
A permit to enter the country, which is issued for a short and temporary stay of less than 90 days. The Finnish missions make decisions on issuing visas. See mission.
In a decision on refusal of entry or deportation, which does not include a prohibition of entry, a third-country national is given a period of at least seven and a maximum of thirty days during which he or she can leave the country voluntarily. See refusal of entry, deportation, prohibition of entry, third-country national. See also assisted voluntary return.