Temporary protection for people fleeing from Ukraine
Temporary protection is intended for people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Granting temporary protection makes it possible to provide protection to a limited group of people in a swift process that is lighter than the asylum procedure.
Temporary protection is based on the EU Temporary Protection Directive, which is now being used for the first time. The Council decision, which entered into force on 4 March 2022, left a certain amount of discretion for Member States to decide the exact category of people to be granted protection. Finland will apply protection to a more extensive group than that defined in the EU-wide decision. The Government adopted a decision on the matter on 7 March.
Who can be granted temporary protection?
In all Member States, the decision applies to the following categories of people
- Ukrainian citizens and their family members
- Beneficiaries of international protection in Ukraine and their family members
- Other permanent residents of Ukraine who cannot return to their country of origin
The requirement is that the person must have been resident in Ukraine and fled when Russia’s invasion began, i.e. on 24 February or thereafter.
Finland will also grant temporary protection to the following persons:
- Ukrainian citizens and their family members who fled Ukraine shortly before 24 February and cannot return home as a result of the conflict. The Commission has urged the Member States to be flexible with regard to these persons.
- Other Ukrainian citizens and their family members who are already living or have arrived in Finland.
- Third-country nationals who have resided legally (including on a short-term basis) in Ukraine and cannot return to their home countries. This group is mentioned as an optional group for Member States in the EU decision.
Since 19 January 2023, the Finnish Immigration Service has extended residence permits for temporary protection on the basis of a legislative amendment. The permits that were originally granted for one year will be extended until 4 March 2024. This means that those who have received temporary protection residence permits do not need to apply for an extension separately. In future, all such residence permits will be valid until 4 March 2024.
The temporary protection currently in place in the EU lasts for one year from the entry into force of the Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382, i.e. until 4 March 2023. After that, the temporary protection will be extended automatically for another year, unless the Council decides to end it. The Council may also decide to extend the temporary protection for an additional year. Under the Temporary Protection Directive, the total duration may not exceed three years.
While the decision is in force, Finland and all other EU Member States are obligated to grant temporary protection to the group specified in the decision and to issue a residence permit to indicate it.
Applying for temporary protection and the rights of those entitled to protection
Applications for temporary protection are submitted to the police or border authorities.
Similarly to asylum seekers, people receiving temporary protection have the right to live in a reception centre and to use the services provided by the centre. For example, they are entitled to healthcare services, necessary social welfare services and necessary means of subsistence. If they so wish, they can also arrange their own housing. People applying for temporary protection have the right to work immediately.
Further instructions on the application procedure, validity period of residence permits and the rights of those entitled to temporary protection:
Temporary protection | Finnish Immigration Service
Police contact details for people applying for a residence permit on the basis of temporary protection and for asylum seekers:
Police contact details for asylum seekers | Police
As of March 2023, Ukrainians who have been granted temporary protection may apply to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency for a municipality of residence when they have resided in Finland for one year. On registering a municipality of residence, they will leave the reception services system and become clients of municipalities and wellbeing services counties and municipal residents.