How to apply for asylum in Finland?

Finland is one of the most important Nordic countries in Europe, due to its great economic stability, which is based mainly on industrialization and technological advances; which in turn provides security and quality of life to its inhabitants. Therefore, it is a very attractive nation for those who suffer from persecution and violation of their human rights; in fact, in 2020 more than 1,200 asylum applications were registered.

Based on the above, the Finnish government works hard to provide political asylum to people fleeing their countries of origin for justified reasons. The refuge system is quite simple and provides multiple benefits during the resolution of the procedure. Keep reading and discover the steps to follow.

First considerations for applying for asylum in Finland

To begin with, keep in mind that to start the process you simply have to be in Finnish territory. Once there, you should only contact the competent authorities (immigration, police and/or border security), whose officials will treat the different requests with strict confidentiality, in accordance with the provisions of the immigration decree.

considerations for applying for asylum in finland

On the other hand, it is essential to consider that Finland currently has special protection processes for those who come from Ukraine and Russia, after the political conflicts between the two nations. Some key things to know are:

  • Applicants from Ukraine. Process valid for individuals who cannot return to the nation or are fleeing war. This applies to both Ukrainians and legal residents who do not belong to any territory of the European Union (EU) and their relatives with whom they have established ties before February 24, 2022. For more information on temporary protection see here.
  • Applicants from Russia. Despite the attack on Ukraine, Finland has decided to accept and process applications from Russian individuals. However, the immigration authorities do not apply the same international protection policies that they have defined for Ukrainians and their residents. Learn more here.

Applicants from the European Union

However, people who come from the EU and even from Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland, must apply from the respective nation and not in Finland. This complies with the Dublin agreement and safe countries. However, this does not indicate that the authorities refuse to process and analyze situations from these territories, since there may always be reasons to provide help to those who need it.

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Procedure for making the request for protection

The steps to follow to apply for asylum in Finland, once you are in the territory, are:

Step 1. Go to the border authorities or police

Any border or police authority has the power to process the application, at the moment you indicate the desire to apply for asylum in the country. Therefore, it is advisable to make said announcement at the time of arrival in the territory, without waiting for more than a day to elapse.

When making this announcement, Migrations will request the identification documents and everything that supports the trip to Finland, defining whether the request is in fact appropriate based on the Dublin agreement. However, this first acceptance does not affect the final decision on the asylum request.

Procedure for applying for Finnish protection

Later, an official will indicate which are the reception places where you can wait during the time of the procedure. In these centers, you have the right to public, health and primary educational services free of charge; In addition, depending on the case, the State can also assign monetary compensation. Although, the applicant can decide where to live if he has the resources to do so.

Step 2. receive call

The next step is the interview, which is to clarify the different reasons that support the asylum application in Finland. It is announced through a written and detailed call at the reception center, so it is important to frequently visit the assigned space, even if it is not where you spend the night.

It should be noted that if the call has the Dublin Convention as its subject, it means that the system has detected that you have relatives in safe countries, residences/visas in nations other than your origin or there are applications for protection in the EU, Norway , Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland. This indicates that the meeting is to decide which State should continue with the process, which is not usually Finland.

Step 3. asylum interview

This is the day on which you will go to the office at the time described in the aforementioned call. Here you must explain in greater detail the reasons why you fled your country and submit the evidence, if any. In the same way, you will have to mention the data of your family, who you could claim in case of a positive response to the case; so it is necessary that you do not make any mistake.

Rights and duties during the resolution of the procedure

The key in such an interview is not to omit any rationale from the request, because while you have the opportunity to provide arguments after the meeting, you will also need to argue why they weren’t mentioned earlier. Keep in mind that at the end a minute will be drawn up with all the points discussed, of which you have the right to a copy.

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On the other hand, you have the right to have a legal representative and an interpreter in your native language. And if you consider that the translation is not appropriate for you, you can tell the officials to assign you to another professional.

Step 4. Request Response

Now it is time to wait for the response from the authorities, whose resolution is based on the Immigration Law, the data provided, evidence and conditions of the country of origin. Hence, if you require more support for the analysis, you can make the request after the interview. For its part, the statement may indicate:

It should be noted that the waiting time for said response is approximately six months, but if the authorities require a longer period of time, then they will indicate the estimated extension in writing. On the other hand, when the resolution is negative, the communication can be generated in up to seven days.

What to do with a negative resolution?

Although when the answer is negative, the order is to leave the country as soon as possible, there are also immigration appeal resources. To do this, you must present the case before the Administrative Court with a legal basis with an assistant from the area, who will be in charge of reporting the progress and the steps to follow.

This court will have the power to determine if immigration should study the petition again. If you are still not satisfied with the decision, then the last instance is the Superior Administrative Court, which will have the final answer to the appeal.

Rights and duties during the resolution of the procedure

In another order of ideas, it is essential to know the benefits and obligations that you have in Finland as an asylum seeker. In this way you will be able to make the most of the waiting time and you will not disrespect its laws, which can affect the resolution.

Not be expelled from the country while a resolution of the case is generated. As well as to mobilize within Finland.Respect the different laws of the country.
Request legal assistance associated with the process and hold the respective meetings that contribute to the resolution.Provide information on the case whenever it is required and attend the scheduled meetings on time.
Have native language interpreters at any meeting/interview related to the case. It can be in person, by phone or by video call.Do not leave the country until there is a resolution of the case. If the authorities fail to contact the applicant within two months, they automatically cancel the process.
Know the progress of the procedure, either by electronic means or at the immigration offices.Keep the authorities informed of your contact details.
Work only with the tax card: Three months after the process, with travel papers (passport) Six months after the process, without travel papers. For more information see here.
Withdraw the case and return to the country of origin

Without a doubt, Finland is an excellent nation to ask for help when suffering from persecution and discrimination based on race, religion, nationality or political ideologies. Likewise, for torture, death penalty or risks of integrity as a human being. So if it is your case then you will probably receive the protection you require.

Maya Martinez

Legal advisor for immigration processes. In addition to providing support in the legal procedures, I offer integral and informative support in relation to the obligations that are acquired when arriving to a new country.

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