Living in Finland


Turvapaikanhakijana Suomeen

Asylum in Finland

How do I apply for asylum in Finland?

You can apply for asylum in Finland if you have reason to fear being persecuted in your home country. Asylum can only be applied for oneself. You cannot apply for it based on a family member’s situation, for example.

  • Apply for asylum in person
  • you must apply for asylum from the police, border authorities or customs authorities
  • make the application as soon as you arrive in Finland
  • be specific about your reasons for applying for asylum

You cannot apply for asylum

  • at Finnish Diplomatic Missions abroad or through them,
  • by letter or e-mail from abroad.

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

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

Asylum seekers from the area of the European Union

Within the area of the EU member states (and Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), asylum must be sought in the country where the seeker first arrives. If you have applied for asylum or resided in another EU member state (or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) before your arrival in Finland, then your application will not be handled in Finland. Instead, you will be returned to the country from which you arrived in Finland.

If you are a citizen of a European Union member state, you will probably not be given asylum in Finland, because Finland regards all EU member states as safe for their citizens. Therefore, applications from any citizens of EU member states are usually considered unfounded. Nevertheless, all applications from citizens of EU member states are examined.

On the InfoFinland page EU citizens, you can find information on how citizens of EU member states can move to Finland.

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

The handling of the application and staying in Finland

The handling of the asylum application typically takes several months. After you have applied for asylum, you have the right to reside in Finland for as long as the handling of your application takes. During that time you cannot leave the country. If you do travel abroad during this time, the authorities may decide that your application is no longer valid.

While your asylum application is being handled, you can live rent-free at a reception centre. You can also live elsewhere, but then you will have to pay your own living costs yourself.

How is the application handled?

Every asylum seeker’s application is handled individually. The Finnish Immigration Service (Maahanmuuttovirasto) handles your asylum application and decides whether you will be granted asylum or a residence permit. The Immigration Service will invite you to an asylum interview whose purpose it is to clarify whether you can be granted asylum or given a residence permit to live in Finland on the grounds of a need for other protection. You are entitled to use an interpreter who will be provided by the Finnish Immigration Service.

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

An asylum seeker’s right to work

You have the right to work in gainful employment in Finland when three months have passed from the filing of your application, if you have a valid travel document. If you have no travel document, you can work in gainful employment in Finland when you have resided in the country for six months.

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

Underage asylum seekers

If an asylum seeker who is less than 18 years old arrives in Finland without a guardian, they will be assigned a representative whose task is to supervise the child’s interests during the handling of the asylum application. Asylum seekers who are under 16 years old or the under 16-year-old children of asylum seekers have the right to attend school in Finland.

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

Legal aid for asylum seekers

Refugees, asylum seekers and other foreigners can find help and guidance in legal questions at the Refugee Advice Centre. The Refugee Advice Centre provides asylum seekers with legal aid at the initial stage of the asylum process. The Refugee Advice Centre also provides advice for people residing in Finland without a residence permit.

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

Asylum and a residence permit

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

  • origin
  • religion,
  • nationality,
  • membership of a certain social group,
  • or political views.

If you are not granted asylum, you may be granted a residence permit on the basis of subsidiary protection. You may be granted a residence permit on the basis of subsidiary protection, if you are threatened by:

  • a death penalty or execution;
  • torture or other inhuman treatment or punishment;
  • serious personal danger because of an armed conflict.

When you apply for asylum, the Finnish Immigration Service will also investigate whether you are entitled to a residence permit on other grounds.

If the conditions in your home country are such that you do not need asylum or subsidiary protection, and there are no other grounds for granting you a residence permit your application will be dismissed and you will be turned back from Finland.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
AsylumFinnish | Swedish | English

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

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

Appealing the Finnish Immigration Service’s decision

If you receive a negative decision regarding your asylum or residence permit application, you are entitled to appeal the decision. Decisions regarding an asylum or residence permit can be appealed to the Administrative Court. Instructions on how to file an appeal are attached to the decision. More information is available from the Finnish Immigration Service.

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

Problems with a residence permit?

Information on matters regarding residence permits is also available on the InfoFinland web page Residence permit problems.

Being an asylum seeker in Finland

More information for asylum seekers is available on the InfoFinland web page Asylum seeker.