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People found guilty of serious offences could in future lose their Finnish citizenship

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 5.12.2018 11.37 | Published in English on 5.12.2018 at 11.54
Press release 141

In future, people found guilty of certain serious offences could lose their Finnish citizenship. Such offences would include treason, high treason and offences against the vital interests of Finland committed with terrorist intent. The Government submitted a proposal to amend the Nationality Act to Parliament on 5 December.

An individual could lose their citizenship only if they are also a citizen of another country and have sufficient de facto ties to their other country of citizenship. Finnish citizens by birth could also lose their citizenship.

"Individuals convicted of treason and terrorist crimes have lost their loyalty to Finland and the Finnish people. In such cases, even the loss of citizenship would, under certain conditions, be justified," says Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen.

According to the proposal, an individual could lose their Finnish citizenship if found guilty of an offence against the vital interests of the state for which the most severe punishment provided is at least eight years of imprisonment. Such offences include compromising Finland’s right to self-determination, incitement to war, treason and espionage. The loss of citizenship would also require the individual to have been sentenced to at least five years of unconditional imprisonment.

A person could also lose their citizenship if they are convicted of an offence with terrorist intent, such as a breach of the prohibition on chemical weapons, aggravated trafficking in human beings, hostage taking, a nuclear explosive offence, kidnapping or killing. A further condition is that the crime in question was committed against the vital interests of Finland.

The Finnish Immigration Service would decide on the annulment of citizenship based on the criminal conviction

The decision on the annulment of citizenship would be made by the Finnish Immigration Service. The decision could be made based on a legally valid criminal conviction issued in Finland. The individual could appeal against the decision of the Finnish Immigration Service to an administrative court.

The proposed amendment is part of the Government’s action plan on asylum policy, according to which measures will be taken to criminalise participation in the activities of any organisation classified by the UN and the EU as a terrorist organisation, travelling abroad with intent to commit a terrorist offence and the funding of such travel. After this, measures will be taken to lay down provisions on the possibility of annulling the Finnish citizenship of people with dual citizenship who have participated in terrorist activities.


Tiina Sinkkanen, Senior Adviser for Legislative Affairs, tel. +358 295 488 626, [email protected] 
Hanna Pihkanen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 256, [email protected]
Titta Andersson-Bohren, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 513 1539, [email protected] (requests for interviews with Minister Mykkänen)