Record Number Of New Finnish Citizens

The biggest number of new Finns came from Russia, Somalia, Iraq and Estonia.

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File photo of Finnish passport / Credit: iStock

A record number of people became Finnish citizens last year according to the latest figures from Statistics Finland released this morning.

Some 12,219 foreigners got Finnish passports in 2017, which is up by 2844 from the previous year.

The biggest number of new Finns came from Russia, Somalia, Iraq and Estonia. The average age of new citizens is 28, and the majority are women.

Almost all the new citizens choose to keep their old nationality as well, and become dual nationals. There are currently 117,000 dual citizens in Finland.

Declining Residency

While the number of people becoming Finns has increased, there’s been a general decline in the number of foreigners applying for residency in the country.

Last year the number of residence permits issued fell by around 6000 to 33, 674.

More UK Citizens Becoming Finnish 

One group of foreigners has been rushing to get a Finnish passport more than before: UK citizens who will be affected by Brexit.

As we reported first in January, figures show there’s been a surge in British nationals applying for Finnish citizenship since the UK voted to leave the European Union.

According to the Finnish Immigration Service Migri, there was a 238% increase in the number of Finnish nationality applications in the 18 months since Britain’s Brexit vote, compared with the 18 month period before the vote.

There’s been a historically low number of British nationals applying for Finnish citizenship, and that is likely due in part to a requirement to speak Finnish to an intermediate level. In some other EU countries, like Sweden, there’s no language requirement at all to apply for citizenship.  Migri’s figures show only 451 Brits applied for Finnish nationality in total, between 1990 and 2016.