Living in Finland

Cities

Turvapaikanhakijana Suomeen

Asylum in Finland

You can apply for asylum in Finland if you have a justified reason to fear persecution in your home country. Reasons for the persecution can include origin, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinions.

The Finnish Immigration Service investigates whether there are grounds for asylum and makes the decision.

You can only apply for asylum for yourself.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
The brochure Information for Asylum SeekersFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | French | Somali | Persian | Arabic | Kurdish

Seeking asylum

You can apply for asylum in Finland only inside Finnish borders. There is not a special asylum application form that you can submit in advance.

When you arrive in Finland, immediately tell the border control authority or police that you want to seek asylum. The border control authority or police will register you as an asylum seeker, record your basic information and take your fingerprints.

Once an official has received your asylum application, you will be taken to a reception centre. You can live there while the Immigration Service processes your application. You can also live somewhere other than at the reception centre but you must pay for your housing yourself.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Seeking asylum in FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English

Asylum seeker from the European Union

In EU countries (and Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), you must apply for asylum in the first country that you enter. If you applied for asylum or resided in another EU country (or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) before coming to Finland, your application will not be processed in Finland. Instead, you will be turned back to the country you were in before coming to Finland. This is called the Dublin procedure.

If you are a citizen of a European Union member state, you will probably not receive asylum in Finland. Finland considers all EU countries safe for their citizens. However, all applications of EU citizens are still investigated.

You can find information on how to move to Finland for reasons other than as an asylum seeker on the InfoFinland page EU citizens.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Leaving an asylum application unprocessedFinnish | Swedish | English

Unaccompanied minor asylum seeker

If you are an asylum seeker, under 18 years old and enter Finland without a parent or guardian, a representative will be appointed for you. The representative is a trustworthy adult who manages your affairs while the Finnish Immigration Service processes your application. The representative comes with you when you need to speak with the authorities. Your representative also investigates whether you can be reunited with your family. You have a right to accommodation, food and health care. You also have a right to go to school.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Child who has come to Finland without a guardian(pdf, 674)Finnish | Swedish | English | Russian | French | Spanish | Chinese | Persian | Arabic | Kurdish

Asylum application processing

The Finnish Immigration Service will process your application and make the decision. The Finnish Immigration Service will verify your identity and the route through which you travelled to Finland and assess whether you can receive asylum in Finland.

It is common for the processing to take several months. Once you have applied for asylum, you have the right to stay in Finland for as long as it takes to process your application. During that time, you cannot leave the country. If you leave the country, the authorities may decide that your application is no longer valid.

The Finnish Immigration Service will send you an invitation to an asylum interview. The invitation will state the language to which the interview will be interpreted, the exact address of the interview location and the time and date of the interview.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Processing of asylum applicationsFinnish | Swedish | English

Asylum interview

The asylum interview (turvapaikkapuhuttelu) is the most important event during the processing of your application. During the interview, you will be asked about the events and reasons why you had to leave your home country. It is important to give as much detail as possible about what happened. Based on what you say, the Finnish Immigration Service will decide whether you will be granted asylum in Finland.

As an asylum seeker, you have the right to have a legal aid attorney in the interview. The attorney will participate in the asylum interview at their own discretion.

If you need an interpreter, the Finnish Immigration Service will get one for you.

Positive decision

You can stay in Finland if you are granted asylum or a residence permit on other grounds. You can be granted asylum in Finland if the authorities think that you will be persecuted in your home country due to

  • origin
  • religion
  • nationality
  • membership in a specific social group, or
  • political opinion.

If you are not granted asylum, in some cases you can be granted a residence permit based on subsidiary protection. You can be granted a residence permit based on subsidiary protection if you are at risk of:

  • death penalty or execution;
  • torture or other inhumane treatment or punishment; or
  • serious personal danger due to an armed conflict.

When you apply for asylum, the Finnish Immigration Service also investigates whether you could be granted a residence permit on other grounds.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
AsylumFinnish | Swedish | English

Negative decision

If you are not granted asylum or a residence permit on other grounds, you will be turned away from Finland. You can also appeal a negative decision to the administrative court. Appeal instructions are provided with the decision.

You can find information on what to do if you receive a negative decision on the InfoFinland page Negative residence permit decision.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Appealing a decision on asylumFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Refusing an asylum seeker's entryFinnish | Swedish | English

Legal assistance for asylum seekers

During the processing of your application, you can receive advice and legal assistance from a public legal aid office. If you want a legal aid attorney, contact the legal aid office. The reception centre can help you, if necessary. The legal aid office (oikeusaputoimisto) can also refer you to a private attorney or private law firm.

You can also receive advice from the Refugee Advice Centre (Pakolaisneuvonta ry). The Refugee Advice Centre also gives advice to people who are in Finland without a residence permit.

linkkiJudicial system:
Legal Aid OfficesFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiRefugee Advice Centre:
Legal aid for refugeesFinnish | Swedish | English

Asylum seeker’s right to work

You have the right to take up gainful work in Finland after three months have passed since you submitted your asylum application and if you have a valid passport or other travel document, which you showed to the authorities at the time.

If you did not show a valid travel document to the authorities when you submitted your asylum application, you can take up gainful work in Finland after six three months have passed since you submitted your application.

Your right to work will continue until you receive a non-appealable decision to your asylum application. If the Finnish Immigration Service accepts your asylum application, you receive a residence permit. This almost always includes the right to work.

If the Finnish Immigration Service rejects your asylum application, you have the right to work during the processing of your appeal, if you make one.

To be able to work, you need a Finnish tax card. Get a tax card (verokortti) at the nearest tax office (Verotoimisto) and give it to your employer. Read more on the InfoFinland page Tax card.

If your work is continuous, you can also apply for a residence permit in Finland based on work. You can find more information on residence permits for employees on the InfoFinland page Work in Finland.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Asylum seeker’s right to workFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Residence permit on other groundsFinnish | Swedish | English