Smoothly functioning services for immigrants: those who have fled Ukraine can apply for a municipality of residence online from March onward
As of March and April, some 13,000 people fleeing the war in Ukraine will have lived in Finland for a year, making them eligible to apply for a municipality of residence here. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency wants to make applying for a municipality of residence as easy as possible; it is now possible to submit an application online without visiting an agency. The agency also provides advice in Ukrainian when applying for a municipality of residence.
During the past year, the situation of Ukrainians has touched Finns, and helping them has become a common cause in our society.
Applying for a municipality of residence is a step towards an independent life in Finland for Ukrainians. After receiving a municipality of residence, they will cease using reception services and become a resident and a client of the services of a certain municipality and wellbeing services county. The municipality of residence is determined based on where they live.
A person who has fled Ukraine can apply for a municipality of residence to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (DVV) after they have lived in Finland for a year. In other words, the first of them can already start applying at the beginning of March. Additionally, the applicant must have a Finnish personal identity code and a residence permit for temporary protection applied for at least a year ago.
“For Finland as a whole, it is important that those who have fled Ukraine integrate more closely in the Finnish society. DVV also aims to provide functional services for immigrants,” says Timo Salovaara, Director General of DVV. “DVV has been carefully preparing for the applications for a municipality of residence with various ministries and agencies since last summer.”
It is easy to apply for a municipality of residence online
Last year nearly 47,000 Ukrainians escaped the war to Finland. DVV has been preparing to process thousands of applications for a municipality of residence during the spring. The abundance of applicants has accelerated the digitalisation of the process, and it will soon be possible to apply for a municipality of residence in Finland online for the first time.
“Working with authorities should be as easy as possible. This is particularly relevant in the case of Ukraine, as those who have fled from there may be very stressed for various reasons. DVV strives to make using our services as easy as possible. In practice, the easiest solution is often to manage affairs online,” Timo Salovaara continues.
Applying for a municipality of residence is voluntary
Applying for a municipality of residence is based on your own discretion; it is not compulsory to do this. Having a municipality of residence is useful if you intend to stay in Finland longer. It brings along rights and obligations to citizens. For example, children’s day care organised by the municipality and compulsory education only apply to residents of the municipality.
Having a municipality of residence in Finland does not affect citizenship and is not an obstacle if the Ukrainian person wants to return to Ukraine later.
Guidelines and advice in Ukrainian
For those who have fled Ukraine, DVV has prepared guidelines and a website. DVV will also introduce four Ukrainian-speaking advisors to help with matters related to the municipality of residence. With their help, the Agency will be able to better serve and assist those who have fled Ukraine.
Timo Salovaara, Director General of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, tel. +358 295 535 303, [email protected]