How to apply for asylum in Finland

You can apply for asylum in Finland if you are in Finland or at a Finnish port of entry. A port of entry is an airport, land border crossing checkpoint, or seaport. When entering Finland, you can request for asylum with a border guard at any border crossing station. If you do not have a valid visa, travel documents, or a Finnish residency permit, you may do so.

If you are already in Finland and want to seek for asylum, you should go to the police station. You can find the addresses and opening hours of the police stations in Finland where you can apply for asylum. To apply for asylum, you do not need to make an appointment.

More information about international protection in Finland can also be found on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service, which is available in Finnish, English, and Swedish. At the top of the webpage, you can choose one of these languages.

The Finnish authorities administer all aspects of the asylum procedure in accordance with national rules and regulations. They employ trained and competent national officials specializing in asylum problems.

Most websites linked in this article are in English or Finnish. If you need, use Google Translate, Tarjimly, or any other translation app.

What happens after I applied for asylum?

Once you apply for asylum, the next steps of the asylum process in Finland are registration and interview. After that, you will receive a decision.

During any part of the asylum process, you might need legal assistance.

State legal aid, or having a lawyer given by the state, is free of charge for persons who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. To obtain state legal help, contact the Public Legal help Office in your area.

You can also contact the Finnish Refugee Advice Center, which may be able to assist you with legal matters.

If you require an interpreter during the asylum procedure, the Finnish Immigration Service will offer one.

Go to the Finnish government website to learn more about Finland’s asylum procedures.

The first step is to register.

The Finnish Immigration Service will register your asylum claim when you have submitted it. The Asylum Unit of the Finnish Immigration Service will determine which nation is responsible for processing your asylum application. The registering authority will issue you a certificate of application for international protection upon registration. It is critical that you preserve these documents in a secure location and carry a copy with you at all times.

The list of service points on the Finnish Immigration Service’s website can be found here.

If Finland is in charge of processing your asylum claim, the specialized officials of the Asylum Unit within the Finnish Immigration Service will analyze your case. The Finnish Immigration Service will begin the process, which can take up to 6 months.

You will hold the status of an asylum seeker once your application has been registered until a final decision is made. As an asylum applicant, you will be housed at a facility. In extraordinary circumstances, the court may order your custody.

Click here and learn more about your rights to employment, education, and healthcare on the Finnish Immigration Service’s website. This information on asylum seekers’ rights and obligations is accessible in Finnish, English, and Swedish).

Step two is to conduct an interview.

During an individual interview, you will be given the opportunity to explain your reasons for seeking refuge in Finland. The asylum interview is a critical phase in the asylum process.

During the interview, you will have the opportunity to provide as much information as possible in support of your asylum application and present all available documents. It is critical that you provide a detailed narrative of what occurred to you and what you fear will happen if you are returned to your country of origin.

The Finnish authorities will not share any of the information you provide during your asylum application (papers, data obtained during your asylum interview) with your home country or anybody else.

What can be the decision in my case?

The Finnish Immigration Service will notify you of the outcome of your asylum application. You will be served the decision in your mother tongue or another language that you comprehend.

The asylum procedure can result in one of four outcomes:

You are recognized as a refugee and granted a temporary residency visa for a term of four years, which can be extended on a four-year basis.

You are awarded subsidiary protection and a temporary residence visa for a term of four years, which can be extended for another four years.

You are awarded a compassionate residence permit and issued a temporary residence permit for a term of one year, which can be extended for another year.

Your request for international protection has been declined.

If your application for refugee status or subsidiary protection is approved, the Finnish Immigration Service will issue you a paper outlining your rights and responsibilities. The rights and services are essentially the same whether you are recognized as a refugee, awarded subsidiary protection, or a compassionate residence visa. The key distinction is the duration of the residence permit (4 or 1 year). In addition, you will be enrolled in an early integration program where you will learn about life in Finland.

If your application is declined, you will be informed in your native tongue or another language that you have indicated you understand.

Can I appeal a negative decision?

If your asylum claim is denied, you may file an appeal with the Administrative Court. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer for this procedure, you may seek aid from your local Public Legal Aid Office or, in some situations, the Finnish Refugee Advice Center. It is important to note that the appeal must be filed within 30 days of receiving notification of the decision rejecting your asylum petition.

The Administrative Court has the authority to order the Finnish Immigration Service to make a new decision in your case or to uphold the Finnish Immigration Service’s decision to reject your application.

If the Administrative Court upholds the ruling, you have the option of appealing to the Supreme Administrative Court.

You have the right to remain in Finland as an asylum seeker until the Finnish Immigration Service or the Finnish courts make a final decision.

If your appeal is denied at all stages, you will be forced to leave Finland. The Finnish Immigration Service assists with voluntary return and reintegration. If you need assistance returning to your home country, please talk with them at return@migri.fi or send a WhatsApp message to +358 50 413 8625.

For additional information about the asylum procedure in Finland, please visit the Finnish Immigration Service’s website, which is available in Finnish, English, and Swedish.

The cover image is somewhere in Helsinki Central Railway Station, Helsinki, Finland. Photo by Tapio Haaja on Unsplash