Finland is an LGBTI-friendly country, so it is safe to come here and apply for temporary protection without any fear of discrimination. There is access to healthcare services, childcare, and education. On the negative side, you have to either live with relatives and friends, or at the reception centre, where you will get all the basic services until you find employment and can support yourself or your family.
According to the EU Temporary Protection Directive, Finland is granting temporary protection to those displaced from Ukraine following Russian military aggression. Detailed information is available here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/stronger-europe-world/eu-solidarity-ukraine/eu-assistance-ukraine/information-people-fleeing-war-ukraine_en
Temporary protection can be granted to:
- Ukrainian citizens unable to return to Ukraine due to the Russian invasion.
- Citizens of countries outside the European Union or the Schengen Area and stateless persons who have resided in Ukraine legally and whose safe and permanent return to the relevant country of origin is not possible.
- The family members of Ukrainian citizens and of those granted international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine, if the family ties were established in Ukraine before 24 February 2022.
No documents are needed to apply for temporary protection. You can apply for temporary protection immediately when crossing the border by informing the border control authorities. However, the authorities will ask you to provide the following information:
- Personal details and details about your home place
- Details about getting to Finland and the route that was taken
- Information about family members
- Picture, fingerprints and signature
The Finnish Immigration Service issues residence permits on the basis of temporary protection for a maximum of one year at a time. Extended permits may be granted after 2023, if the European Council decision remains in force.
For the time being, the estimated processing time for an application for temporary protection is approximately 2 weeks. After a decision has been made, the Finnish Immigration Service will issue a residence permit card for you. At present, it takes approximately 2 weeks to obtain a residence permit card. This means that you will be served with the decision and receive a residence permit card within approximately one month from the date on which you submitted your application.
If you do not have any income or funds, you are entitled to receive a reception allowance which is available through the reception centre where you are registered. You can apply for a reception allowance at your reception centre. Reception allowance is usually loaded onto a prepaid card, but it may be paid in cash in exceptional cases. The allowance can also be paid into your personal Finnish bank account, if you have one. All income and funds you have at your disposal reduce the amount of your reception allowance. When you apply for the reception allowance, you must tell the reception centre whether you receive a salary or have other assets or sources of income. The income and funds of your spouse also affect the amount of your reception allowance.
If you are an adult waiting for a decision on your application for temporary protection, you are entitled to urgent and essential health care through the reception centres. All people fleeing the conflict will undergo basic health examinations and screening for infectious diseases at reception centres, and they are entitled to any healthcare services deemed necessary. After receiving a residence permit on the basis of temporary protection, you have the right to access the same healthcare services as those permanently resident in Finland.
Applicants under 18 years of age are entitled to healthcare services on the same grounds as children who have a municipality of residence in Finland. Children under 7 years old can receive health and development screening at child health clinics. Also, vulnerable people (older people, pregnant women, people with disabilities, people with long-term illnesses, traumatised people) can access the health services they need.
If you are applying for temporary protection or asylum, accommodation can be provided for you at a reception centre. It will be organised so that you can be together with your family members. Unaccompanied minors are provided accommodation at a reception centre reserved for minors. There are a number of reception centres of different sizes across Finland. You will be directed to a reception centre with available beds. For more information, see Living in a reception centre.
You may also organise accommodation yourself. You can stay in private accommodation (with a relative or friend, for example) and still be registered at a reception centre. For more information, see Living in private accommodation. If you choose to stay in private accommodation, you will need to cover the cost of the accommodation yourself. Reception centres cannot provide financial support to cover the cost of private accommodation. If your situation changes and you need accommodation, it will be provided for you at a reception centre that has beds available.
There are different kinds of reception centres:
- reception centres with catering, where they offers meals to everyone who lives there
- reception centres with individual or shared kitchens where the asylum seekers cook their own meals
Reception centres are maintained by many operators: the Finnish Immigration Service, Finnish municipalities, organisations and companies. All reception centres offer the same reception services to the people who live there, and all operate according to the same principles.
Contact information on reception centres
- Reception centres for adults and families
- Reception centres for unaccompanied minors
- Reception centres on the map
More information is also available through the Association of Ukrainians in Finland (https://www.facebook.com/ukrainian.association.in.finland and https://ukrainians.fi/en/) and the Finnish refugee council (https://pakolaisapu.fi/).
In general, an application for a nursery should be submitted to the municipality of residence. Nursery is not free but the Social Insurance Institution of Finland might grant income support by application. Also, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland pays child support for all children under the age of 17 living permanently in Finland. If children permanently living in Finland are in the preschool education age range (5-6 years), they can participate in preschool education organised by the municipality. Preschool education for four hours per day is free of charge. Supplementary day care in the mornings and afternoons is not free.
You can contact the Finnish Immigration Services to get the most up-to-date information. In addition, Save the Children Finland (https://www.pelastakaalapset.fi), SOS Children's Villages (contact details only in Finnish: https://www.sos-lapsikyla.fi/yhteystiedot/),and the Vamlas Foundation (for young people with disabilities, https://vamlas.fi/in-english/) are non-governmental bodies which might be able to assist.
Schools are putting in place different schemes to help children who have fled Ukraine. You can enquire at reception centres and schools.
Some universities are arranging special schemes for Ukrainian students. For example, the Aalto University grants study rights and financial aid to Ukrainian students. The Aalto University can be contacted at email@example.com. The University of Helsinki grants the right to complete non-degree programmes to people who have arrived in Finland and whose degree studies have been suspended at their Ukrainian higher education institution, due to war. The University of Helsinki can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Universities are accepting applications until the end of 2022 without deadlines. The application must indicate the language skills of the applicant, the discipline and the extent of studies completed in the past, and other grounds for the application. A copy of the student's passport or similar document must also be attached to the application. Rights of completion will be granted until 31 July 2023 and no fees will be charged for non-degree studies.
Also, Ukrainian citizens will not be charged for studies at the Open University until autumn 2023.
The list of all Finnish universities and links to their contact information can be found here: https://okm.fi/en/universities.
Finland's state-owned rail operator VR has announced that all Ukrainian citizens can travel free of charge on long-distance and commuter trains by presenting their passport to the train conductor.
You will have the right to work and study as soon as you submit your application for temporary protection to the police or a border control authority.
- During registration, the police or border control authority will provide you with a printed certificate proving your unrestricted right to work. Keep the copy of this certificate.
- If you have already applied for temporary protection but have not received a certificate from the police or border control authority, the Finnish Immigration Service can send you a copy by email. Send your request for the certificate to email@example.com.
When you receive a residence permit, the Finnish Immigration Service will provide you with a Welcome to Finland guide or brochure (in Russian and English, and it will be available in Ukrainian later). For more information, see the Working in Finland brochure (in Ukrainian and Russian) or the As a foreign employee in Finland guide (also in Ukrainian and Russian).
Same-sex marriages and joint adoption by same-sex couples were approved by the Finnish Parliament in 2014, and the law took effect on 1 March 2017. Lesbian couples have been able to access in vitro fertilization (IVF) since 2007, and stepchild adoption became possible for same-sex couples in 2009. Finland is often referred to as one of the world's most LGBT-friendly countries, and public acceptance of LGBT people and same-sex relationships is high. Female couples have more parental rights than male couples. Surrogacy remains illegal for both opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples. People who want to get married should apply to the Digital and Data Service Agency that will consider possible impediments and will issue a marriage permission certificate. If at least one of the spouses is a Finnish citizen or resident, the impediments are examined only according to Finnish law. In these cases, same sex marriages are possible regardless of the spouses´ nationalities. If neither spouse is a Finnish citizen or resident, the impediments are examined according to both Finnish law and the law of the spouses' home countries: same-sex marriage in Finland is possible as long as it is recognised in the spouses´ home country. Lesbian women from Ukraine who have temporary protection status are not guaranteed the marriage permission, that will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Transgender people are allowed to have their legal sex reassigned on identity documents. However, unlike other Nordic countries, Finland requires transgender people to first be sterilised or infertile before they can apply for legal gender recognition. Transgender people must also receive a mental disorder diagnosis in order to have legal gender reassigned.
Several Finnish cities have organisations which campaign for LGBT rights: Seta, Trasek, and Rainbow Families (Sateenkaariperheet, Regnbågsfamiljer). These groups offer help, guidance and counselling.