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11 years, 11 months, 1 week and 3 days…

September 9, 2010
What is the significance of this period of time?
 
Last week I joined the privileged group of people who are Finnish citizens – 11 years, 11 months, one week and three days after setting foot in this country with the intention of working here. The idea about staying here to live followed soon after, I was determined to stay.
 
I filed my citizenship application in April 2009 and it took more than 16 months to make a decision, so be warned that should you attempt to go through this arduous process, it takes time. I was truly beginning to wonder if I was going to be rejected and even lamented about it on Facebook. Had I been too political in my rants in this blog and had someone in the Immigration Service read them? Believe me, all sorts of things ran through my head in the last few weeks. I was beginning to get a complex!
 
So how did I get this far? Well I did tell you about the test back in November 2008: http://carmenbk.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!6822918775CA7A47!720.entry
Applicants must pass a test in one of the two official languages of Finland (Finnish or Swedish) at level 3 or higher: CHECK.
 
Applicants must have lived in the country uninterrupted (short absences for travel are fine) for six years – at A status or through permanent residency. (It took me over four years to finally qualify for A status. After that I had to be here for six more years before I could apply.): CHECK.
 
Those were the two biggies behind filing the application. These are things that many Finns do not know. I have fielded many incredulous questions and looks when I told people what I had to go through just to join the citizenry of Finland.
 
I told you about the application back in April 2009: http://carmenbk.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!6822918775CA7A47!752.entry
 
A few days ago, the Mr. and I happened to drive home from work together and he went to check the mail when we arrived. As I was parking the car, he thrust the letter from the authorities against the car window and my reaction was a typically Finnish, “OHO.” I opened the envelope and then handed it to him, I couldn’t look at it. The certificate came with a cover letter stating that Finnish citizens cannot possess residence permits issued for the other nationality… Yes, AND?… A short statement indicated that I, a Canadian-born citizen fulfilled the requirements for Finnish citizenship… Smile
 
TIME FOR SOME WOBBLY TO CELEBRATE! Party smile
 
The day after, I had to go to the immigration unit at the police station and have my permanent residence permit cancelled, easy beesy. The lady there said, “You never need to come to this side of the station ever again,” and that I could go to the “other side” and file an application for my Finnish passport… One picture, citizenship certificate, picture ID, Canadian passport with cancelled permit and EUR 48 – the application is prefilled! Surprised smile
 
Incredible – at this time next week I will be holding a Finnish passport in my hands – near 12 years after setting foot in this country to live.
 
Finland has been very good to me… Red rose
 
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