Migri’s Finnish citizenship queue longer than ever due to application backlogs

There are currently as many as 20,000 people who have applied for Finnish citizenship waiting for their applications to be processed, according to Anna Lindström, head of the Immigration Service’s (Migri) permits and citizenship unit.

During a normal year, the agency receives around 10,000 applications for citizenship. However, in 2021, it received around 14,000 applications, which caused the current backlog of paperwork.

Lindström said the queue amounts to about two years’ worth of applications.

“This doesn’t mean that it will take two years for [all applications], but unfortunately it has taken longer for some if their applications have needed a bit more clarification,” she explained.

Migri’s goal is to clear out the current backlog and then resume a regular one-year processing schedule, according to Lindström.

Applicants include 2015-2016 asylum seekers

The unit chief noted that the significant queue is largely made up of individuals who arrived as asylum seekers in 2015-2016, as they already have fulfilled the five years of residency required for citizenship eligibility.

Lindström noted that the citizenship queue was not being caused by Ukrainians. As of last month, Finland had received applications from around 48,000 Ukrainians seeking temporary protection since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly one year ago.

Additionally, Migri’s current backlog of citizenship applications was worsened by a lack of staff. However, the agency hired more workers both this and last year and also uses automation whenever possible, Lindstöm.

People in the queue who entered Finland without the correct visas could see their applications stretch out beyond two years.

However, Lindström said that one positive amid the delays is that immigrants still desire to be Finnish citizens.

“Yes, Finnish citizenship is a great and valued thing. If you’re planning your life here, it’s understandable that you also want to become a citizen,” Lindström said.

According to Migri’s website (siirryt toiseen palveluun), the processing time of a citizenship application can range from 7-27 months, and costs between 460-690 euros.

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