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New Finnish citizenships double

The number of granted citizenships saw a sharp increase in 2012. This reflects more lenient citizenship criteria introduced in autumn 2011.

Passports. Image: Yle

Some 9,518 people were granted Finnish citizenship last year. The number has doubled from 2011, when 4,974 individuals were made citizens.

Two major factors are behind the increase. Firstly, the time of required residency was shortened from six to four years in the autumn of 2011. Secondly, former citizens of Finland could reclaim their citizenship merely by giving notice on the matter, and without having to move to Finland.

The number of citizenship applications grew by 39 percent in 2011, while the number of those reclaiming their citizenship leaped by 26 percent.

Topping the list of nationalities that applied for citizenship were 2,432 Russians, 593 Somalis, 508 Afghans, 483 Estonians, and 439 Iraqis.

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