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, 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.

The Finnish Immigration Service can issue residence permits on the basis of temporary protection for a maximum of one year at a time.

The Government decision will remain in force until 4 March 2023. If necessary, the EU may extend the decision to grant protection by six months at a time, up to a maximum of three years total. If the situation changed and the EU considered that it would be possible to return to Ukraine safely and permanently, the Council could decide to end the protection even in a shorter period of time.

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