273 Finns arrested or imprisoned abroad in 2018
The release published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives no details about the types of offences perpetrated by the Finns or of which the Finns were victims abroad
“Finns are travelling to all corners of the world”. At least that is said by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says, which has just published its latest figures on the demand for consular services.
According to those statistics, over 241,000 Finns registered in 2018 at the Matkustustilmoitus service, which means that they submitted their travel plans and contact details to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Those who had submitted their travel details received information and instructions from the Foreign Ministry in 92 crisis situations occurred in different parts of the world in 2018. Most of those alerts (70) were related to natural disasters, but messages were sent also in connection with terrorist attacks and accidents related to means of transport.
In 2018, the Finnish missions (Embassies and Consulates) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received reports of 572 deaths abroad. Missions provided help to 427 persons who had fallen ill or been in an accident abroad.
The figures show also that Finnish missions helped 147 travellers who had become victims of crime and 273 Finns who had been arrested or imprisoned abroad. The biggest number of requests for assistance was made in Spain (676), followed by Estonia (196), Thailand (128), Sweden (123) and Germany (101). The information provided today by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives no details about the types of crimes perpetrated by the Finns or of which the Finns were victims abroad.
A growing demand
The demand for consular services provided by Finland’s missions abroad and the Foreign Ministry is growing at a steady pace. Missions are primarily responsible for giving advice and for helping customers handle matters independently.
The missions also provide assistance to Finnish nationals in distress abroad. In 2018, consular assistance was given in over 75,200 cases, up from 67,400 recorded in 2017.
The Governmental release informed that “in most cases, providing advice helped resolve the problem; however, in many cases the Foreign Ministry or the mission had to deal with the matter in one way or other”. The Ministry’s 24/7 Service Centre (+358 9 160 55555) receives approximately 100 calls per week. It handles requests for consular assistance made outside the office hours of all Finland’s missions abroad.
The most common reasons for requesting assistance from Finnish missions are expiry or loss of a passport or other travel document problems. For many countries, the passport must be valid for six months after the date of travel.
In 2018, the number of passports issued by Finland’s missions rose to 17,986 (the corresponding figure in 2017 was 18,795). In 2018, the missions issued 1,819 identity cards (1,875 in 2017).
The Ministry remarks that is preparing an amendment to the Decree of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on Fees for Services Produced by the Foreign Service. The aim is to enable joint issuance of a passport and an ID card by Finnish missions and offer a discount on the price of the ID card for the customer. This reform is expected to ease for expatriate Finns to use electronic services in cases in which strong electronic identification is required.
On the Foreign Ministry’s website, the most frequently visited content page is the travel advice bulletins, which provide information of, for example, countries’ security situation. Travel advice bulletins are published on over 150 countries.
The Foreign Ministry recommends that all Finns travelling abroad take out a comprehensive travel insurance and that they get familiar with the terms and conditions of their insurance policy in advance.
If you want to register at the Matkustusilmoitus Service and submit your contact and travel details in order to receive security information about the place you are travelling to, you can do it by clicking HERE