Reform of the Citizenship Act

According to the Government Programme, the Citizenship Act will be reformed by tightening the requirements for naturalisation. The aim is to encourage integration, work and compliance with the rules of Finnish society. 

The Ministry of the Interior will implement the reform of the Citizenship Act in stages in three different projects. The plans involve changes to the legal provisions specifying requirements for the period of residence, integrity and sufficient financial resources, and the loss of citizenship. The possibilities of introducing a citizenship test as part of the requirements for acquiring citizenship will also be examined. 

Project 1: Extending the required period of residence

The first project will examine, in particular, the required period of residence as a condition for naturalisation. The government proposal is scheduled to be submitted to Parliament during the 2024 spring session. 

The key contents of the project are: 

  • The required period of residence in Finland will be extended to eight years.
  • Only residence under a residence permit will be taken into account when calculating the approved period of residence.
  • The number of days spent abroad that are approved as part of the period of residence will be decreased.
  • The derogation pertaining to the period of residence of people who have been granted international protection will be removed.
  • The removal of derogations applicable to stateless persons will be examined.

Project 2: Tightening the requirement for sufficient financial resources and other conditions

The second phase of the project will examine other individual conditions for naturalisation and the loss of citizenship. The government proposal is scheduled to be submitted to Parliament during the 2024 autumn session. 

The key contents of the project are:

  • The requirement for sufficient financial resources will be tightened compared to the current situation. 
  • Citizenship will not be granted if the person concerned does not actively help in establishing their identity.
  • The integrity requirement will be tightened. 
  • The conditions for losing citizenship will be tightened.

Project 3: Introducing a citizenship test

A citizenship test will be introduced in the third phase of the project. Previously, Finland has not required applicants to pass a citizenship test. The Ministry of the Interior launched a preliminary study for the preparation of a test in autumn 2023. The working group is to complete its work in spring 2024. Its aim is to explore what kind of a citizenship test could be introduced in Finland and options for the body to administer the test. Based on the working group's report, the Ministry will draft the required amendments to the Citizenship Act. 

In addition, the third phase of the project will review the dual citizenship system in accordance with the Government Programme. The Ministry will provide more information on the completion of the study as it becomes available. 

The government proposal on the citizenship test is scheduled to be submitted to Parliament by the middle of the Government’s term of office during the 2025 spring session.

Inquiries:
Roope Jokinen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 362
Hanna Pihkanen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 217