If I am a citizen of Finland, can I lose my citizenship?
The answer is affirmative, Finnish citizenship can be lost. But this only happens in very specific cases provided by law. Cases that have nothing to do with, for example, the commission of crimes or judicial sentences. These are situations that are more related to the relationship that the person has with the country.
Citizenship is a very protected quality, which equals the inhabitants of a country in rights and obligations. Hence, some proposals such as the reform of the Citizenship Act to strip off those people who commit serious crimes, recently made by some politicians in the heat of statistics on crime, do not fit in with the current laws.
The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) clearly answers the question of whether the Finnish citizenship can be lost due to crime: "No, if the person commits a crime after a positive citizenship decision has been made", responds.
The integrity requirement
Another different thing is how it can affect the criminal record at the time of applying for citizenship. Migri stresses on its website that integrity is a requisite. Therefore, it states that "committing to crime or being issued to restraining order may prevent a person from obtaining citizenship".
In this sense, the Finnish Immigration Service explains that when deciding whether to grant or not citizenship, "the nature, recurrence and severity of the crimes as well as the time since the crimes were committed are taken into account". An on-the-spot fine for a petty offence is not an obstacle to naturalisation. However, a foreign national may be denied Finnish citizenship due to lesser crimes than what would serve as a basis for deportation.
The above explained means, in a few words, that committing a crime can be an obstacle to later obtaining citizenship, but once you have it, it is not enough to lose it. Of course, always with the current laws.
Reasons to lose the citizenship
Then, which are the reasons to lose citizenship?
Migri stresses that Finns acquiring citizenship in another state will not lose their Finnish citizenship automatically. Similarly, foreign nationals do not need to give up their existing citizenship in order to acquire Finnish citizenship. This is because Finland has accepted multiple nationality (dual nationality) since 1 June 2003.
Citizenship can be lost:
- If you are a citizen of another state and you have not had a sufficient connection with Finland, you will lose your Finnish citizenship automatically at the age of 22.
If you have acquired Finnish citizenship through providing false or misleading information in an application or declaration, you may lose your Finnish citizenship.
- You may also lose your Finnish citizenship if you have acquired it on the basis of your father’s citizenship and paternity is later annulled.
At your own request
Finnish citizens can be also released from Finnish citizenship at their own request, if they are, or are about to become, citizens of a foreign state. In those cases, Finnish citizenship can also be restored later.
You cannot be released from Finnish citizenship if you have a municipality of residence in Finland and you wish to be released in order to escape an obligation related to Finnish citizenship, such as military service; or if the release would make you stateless.