Another increase in Finnish citizenship applications, as Brexit deadline looms

The latest figures are revealed as Interior Ministry expert says information for Brits on no-deal Brexit scenario won't be available until February.

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File photo of Finnish passport / Credit: iStock

There’s been another increase in the number of British nationals applying for Finnish citizenship, as hundreds of people try to get a second passport before the UK quits the European Union.

During 2018 a total of 230 British nationals applied for Finnish nationality, according to the latest figures from the Finnish Immigration Service Migri.

Those numbers include 179 citizenship applications from British people living in Finland; plus another 51 ‘citizenship declarations’ from British nationals who have a legal claim to Finnish nationality.

For comparison, in 2017 there were 201 citizenship applications in total from British nationals. So there’s been a 14% increase in applications year-on-year.

As we first reported in January last year, there has been a huge spike in the number of citizenship application from British people in recent years, after a historically low application rate.

In 2016 – which covered roughly six months before the Brexit referendum and six months after – there were just 99 British nationals who applied for Finnish citizenship, in all categories.

After the application process is complete, it can take up to nine months for a decision to be made, with almost all applicants receiving a positive decision and legally becoming Finns.

The huge rise in numbers of British people seeking a second nationality is being echoed all across Europe, as uncertainty continues about whether Britain will crash out of the EU without a deal, or leave with a divorce deal in place.

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The deal which was negotiated between British government and the EU still needs to be approved by the UK parliament. However, Prime Minister Theresa May canceled plans to hold a vote on the deal in December, in the face of almost certain defeat.

A new vote is scheduled to take place later in January, with no guarantees that it will be approved, and uncertainty over what happens if it’s not.

File image of UK and EU flags, Brexit / Credit: iStock

Brits in Finland wait for news

Meanwhile British nationals in Finland are waiting for news from the government over what might happen to them in the event of a no-deal Brexit departure.

There are an estimated 5000 Brits in Finland many of whom are long term residents and want to know how to continue legally living, loving and working here after Brexit.

“At the moment we can only confirm that British people would be defined as third country nationals immediately after a no deal Brexit” says Jarmo Tiukkanen, Chief Senior Specialist a the Ministry of Interior.

“Information on no deal scenario and what British people living in Finland need to do will be available probably in the beginning of February 2019. We still hope that the Withdrawal Agreement would be ratified before Brexit date” says Tiukkanen.