Demonstrating language skills when applying for Finnish citizenship

Please note that The Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE) does not decide what kind of certificates can be used to prove the required language skill to acquire Finnish citizenship. Also, FNBE is not liable for any part in the acquisition of Finnish citizenship and there for cannot influence the decisions on citizenship.

Provisions covering language skills required to acquire Finnish citizenship are laid down in the Nationality Act (359/2003).

Acquisition of Finnish citizenship requires at least satisfactory oral and written skills in the Finnish or Swedish language. The easiest way to demonstrate such skills is to complete a general language proficiency test to attain the National Certificate of Language Proficiency at intermediate level. This means that you have to have at least a skill level three on one of the following subtest combinations:

  • Speaking (3) and writing (3)

OR

  • Listening comprehension (3) and writing (3)

OR

  • Reading comprehension (3) and speaking (3)

Notice that you must attend the entire test to have a certificate on your language proficiency and that the test is always performed during one day. Nevertheless, you can prove that you have the required combination with more than one certificate (certificates issued after 1 January 2012).

Other test certificates or course diplomas than the National Certificate of Language Proficiency, the Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate or the ‘Finnish/Swedish as the mother tongue’ (see above) do not count to demonstrate language skills when applying for the Finnish citizenship. These include for example Employment office’s (TE -toimisto) Finnish courses or Finnish courses done in Universities .

Along the decree on the National Certificate of Language Proficiency (1109/2011) the general level of language has been removed from the certificate following 1.12.2011. If you have completed the National Certificate of Language Proficiency between 2002 and 2011, the general level of language proficiency indicated on your certificate must be no less than 3. If it is less than 3, that certificate is not sufficient for being granted citizenship. For detailed information on the test grades prior to 2002 and it’s correspondence look here. More information on the language requirements for applying for citizenship, please consult the Finnish Immigration service.

Other ways to demonstrate sufficient language skills

It is also possible to demonstrate sufficient language skills for the acquisition of Finnish citizenship in the following ways:

  • By completing the examination for the Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate at least at the satisfactory level. The Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate assesses the language proficiency required in public office. Therefore it demands knowledge in vocabulary used in public governance. Hence it is not suggested to attend the Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate test but rather the National Certificate of Language Proficiency test if the purpose is solely to demonstrate language skills.
  • By completing the ‘Finnish/Swedish as the mother tongue’ syllabus in basic education, high school or in vocational education.
  • Through Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificates which are an integral part of some curriculums in Finnish universities or universities of applied sciences.

For more information on the language requirements for the Finnish citizenship please visit the The Finnish Immigration Service's webpage or contact them.