Living in Finland

Cities

Oikeutesi ja velvollisuutesi Suomessa
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Your rights and obligations in Finland

Foreigners living in Finland have nearly the same rights and obligations as Finnish citizens. The following rights and obligations also apply to foreigners living in Finland.

Rights

  • Everyone has the right to equal treatment. No one must be treated differently based on gender, age, religion or handicap, for example.
  • Everyone has the right to freely express their opinions verbally or in writing.
  • People are allowed to hold meetings and demonstrations and participate in them. The police must be notified of all demonstrations in advance.
  • No one can be sentenced to death or tortured.
  • All people can choose their place of residence and freely travel within the country.
  • Everyone has a right to the protection of their privacy. No one is allowed to read another person’s letters or listen to someone else’s phone calls.
  • Everyone is free to choose their own religion. Should you not want to, you do not need to choose any religion.
  • Those foreigners permanently residing in Finland who are over 18 have a right to vote in municipal elections. Read more about foreigners’ voting rights in Finland on the Infopankki web page Elections in Finland.
  • Foreigners who have the right to vote in municipal elections are also entitled to stand in the municipal elections.
  • EU citizens with a municipality of residence in Finland can vote in the European Parliament elections if they have been registered into the voting register (äänioikeusrekisteri). Read more about foreigners’ voting rights in Finland on the Infopankki web page Elections in Finland.
  • EU country citizens included in the Finnish voting register can also stand in the Finnish European Parliament elections.

Obligations

  • All persons living or residing in Finland must adhere to Finnish legislation.
  • The obligation for compulsory education (oppivelvollisuus) applies to persons between 7 and 17 years of age, i.e. they must complete the comprehensive school (peruskoulu) curriculum.
  • Often, those working in Finland must pay taxes to Finland from their salary. Read more on taxation in Finland on the Infopankki web page Taxation.
  • Everyone is obligated to testify in court should they be summoned to do so.
  • Parents have the responsibility to take care of their children.
  • Everyone is obliged to lend their aid in the event of an accident.

The rights and obligations of Finnish citizens

In addition to these, Finnish citizens have a number of rights and obligations that do not apply to foreigners living in Finland. Read more on the rights and obligations of Finnish citizens on the Infopankki web page Finnish citizenship.

linkkiMinistry of Justice:
Constitution of FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiOtakantaa.fi:
Information on democracy in FinlandFinnish | Swedish

linkkiVaalit.fi:
Elections in FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English