Both the Military Service Act (74-77§) and the Civilian Service Act (27-30§) contain similar legislation regarding exemption from service on grounds of foreign nationality. These allow the dual citizen to be exempted on three different grounds. In addition, there is a specific agreement between Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark.

(1) A person with dual nationality shall be exempted if he has resided outside Finland for the last seven years. In other words, in this case, the person is not even called in and does not have to apply for exemption. However, if a person returns to Finland before the end of the year in which he reaches the age of 30, he may nevertheless be ordered to perform the service. By the end of that year, on the other hand, the obligation to perform service in Finland has expired because of age, and there is no problem with conscription even when returning to Finland.

(2) A dual national resident in another state may be exempted from application even if he has not resided abroad for seven years. If he is "not living in  Finland and proves that his actual ties with his family, studies, livelihood or other personal matters are outside Finland."

The detailed statement of reasons in the Military Service Law states that these 'de facto ties' are as follows: 'Actual personal ties would be considered to be outside Finland, inter alia, if the person concerned had attended school and studied abroad, and lived and worked abroad.' In the detailed explanatory memorandum to the Civilian Service Law, however, it is defined as follows: "The examination of the ties shall take into account, inter alia, the interests and circumstances of the civil servant as regards living, family, work and study as a whole." The application is made to the army regional office for those who are in the army books and to the Civilian Service Center for those who apply for civilian service. In this case too, the dismissed person may be called to perform his service if he returns permanently to Finland before the end of the year in which he turns 30.

In any event, the law does not state that a seven-year stay outside Finland is a condition for dismissal. The seven-year limit only distinguishes those who must be automatically released from those who have to apply for exemption. Nor does the law require that the applicant for an exemption be resident in the same country as his other nationality.

The Union Of Conscientious Objectors has occasionally become aware of cases where applications for the exemption of non-resident dual nationals have been rejected for dubious reasons. In such situations, it is worth considering an appeal; the appeal routes are the same as for health exemptions. You should also contact the Union Of Conscientious Objectors, we can assist you with your application and also provide other assistance.

3) Release on the basis of service abroad. Military conscripts can be exempted from applying if they have or have had the nationality of another state and have completed "at least four months' military service in that other country - either local military or civilian service." In this case, it is not necessary for the nationality of the other country to remain valid.

4) If you have Swedish, Norwegian or Danish nationality in addition to Finnish citizenship and are habitually resident in one of these countries, you are bound by the agreement between the four Nordic countries on "conscription and nationality". By convention, the person concerned is only a conscript in his residence. If a person has moved abroad the Contracting States, he shall be obliged to perform military service only in the Contracting State where he was last habitually resident. Sweden, Norway and Denmark also have military conscription, but in practice it is voluntary and it is much easier to avoid it than in Finland. The agreement stipulates that "the necessary proof" must be provided of the existence of the conditions for release, that is, it must be shown to the Finnish military officials that they have dual nationality and live in another country. An agreement with the same content is also available. Between Finland and the United States.

If no exemption is granted ...

If, even after complaints, based on dual citizenship exemption  is not granted and service in Finland is not a realistic option for life or other reasons, there are opportunities to obtain a exemption on health grounds, to renounce Finnish citizenship or to stay abroad despite a pending entry order. If you are trying to obtain an exemption on health grounds, it is important to note that the statement by the foreign doctor for an exemption may be problematic in that he is unlikely to be familiar with the Finnish military service system or the criteria for release. However, the diagnostic classification that serves as the basis for exemption decisions is in use around the world.

It is possible to renounce Finnish citizenship if the person concerned has (or is about to acquire) another nationality. The renunciation of citizenship must be applied for and the application must state the reason for the willingness to renounce Finnish citizenship.

The Citizenship Act states that citizenship is not exempt if the applicant is resident in Finland and the purpose of the application is to avoid fulfilling the obligation arising from Finnish citizenship (eg military service). However, this restriction can only mean people living in Finland (the word "and" is explicit in the text). However, the law is drafted in such a way that the authorities are also under no obligation to release non-residents from their citizenship (citizenship exemption "can" be granted).

Only Finnish citizenship and living abroad

The possibility of exemption is therefore limited only to dual nationals.  Persons with Finnish nationality who are permanently resident abroad are legally obliged to serve in the same way as residents of Finland.

If you are in such a situation and returning to Finland to complete a service would seem pointless, then the first option would be to acquire another country's citizenship. The criteria for granting citizenship vary from country to country, but usually require at least several years of residence in that country.
The spouse with the nationality of residence usually speeds up the acquisition of nationality. Some countries (including some Caribbean island states) also offer the option of buying citizenship without any of its previous ties, but these are usually referred to as six-digit euros.

If you do not succeed in acquiring citizenship of another state  or exemption on health grounds does not succeed, possibilities are to either serve in Finland or avoid it by staying abroad. The later includes a number of points to consider. If you are drifting into a situation where this may occur, we recommend that you contact the Union Of Conscientious Objectors.