Photo: Mika Meskanen

International news

Finnish expatriates have expressed significant dissatisfaction with the steep cost of obtaining a Finnish passport abroad, a recent digital survey by Suomi-Seura ry, an organization representing Finns living overseas, has revealed. The survey, conducted on the Virta digital platform, saw nearly 300 active participations, highlighting the urgency of the issue among the expat community.

The price for a Finnish passport obtained outside Finland rose sharply from €175 to €235 as of September 1, 2023. This hike has exacerbated an already existing disparity, as obtaining a passport within Finland costs significantly less: €50 for a standard application and €44 for an electronic one.

Respondents unanimously criticized the increased fees as exorbitant, demanding better justifications for the price rise. Many felt that the higher costs unfairly discriminate against Finnish citizens based on their place of residence.

A popular solution proposed in the discussion was extending the passport's validity period. A longer validity would mitigate the financial and logistical burdens of renewing passports at embassies, which include substantial costs and, often, extensive travel. The ten-year passport, a standard in several other EU countries like the Netherlands, Norway, France, and Germany, and previously available in Finland, was frequently suggested as a more equitable and practical option.

Pekka Sauri, the chairperson of Suomi-Seura ry, emphasized the need for more cost-effective and cross-border solutions. "Instead of continual price hikes, we should develop solutions that are economically viable and cater to the needs of expatriates. Reinstating the ten-year passport in Finland and enabling digital passport applications from abroad would significantly ease the lives of Finnish expats," stated Sauri.