Åland is an autonomous region in Finland with a constitutional self-government, which grants Åland certain powers and legislative rights.
Åland has legislative authority in several areas, including regulations for building and land use, the right to conduct business, and ownership/control of real estate. The legal requirements are outlined in the following legislation:
- The right of domicile on Åland (Hembygdsrätt)
- The right to conduct business (Näringsrätt)
- Land acquisition permits (Jordförvärstillstånd)
- Principle decision of consent to conduct surveys of maritime areas (Principbeslutet om undersökningsmedgivande för havsområden)
The following sections give an overview of the Åland specific principles, regarding governance and conducting business.
The right of domicile on Åland
Natural persons who have had permanent residence on Åland for five years and hold Finnish citizenship can apply for the right of domicile (hembygdsrätt) on Åland. This provides the right to vote in local parliamentary elections, own land and conduct business on Åland. The Government of Åland can however grant the right of domicile in special circumstances.
Natural persons without the right of domicile can apply for permission to own land from the Government of Åland. The conditions to be met are specified in the legislation (see section Land acquisition rights).
Legislation regarding the right of domicile on Åland can be found on the government's website (In Swedish):
The right to conduct business
Natural persons need to have the right of domicile on Åland to conduct business activities of their own. Natural persons without the right of domicile, who have had permanent residence in Åland for five years without interruption, can apply for the right to conduct business. Natural persons can conduct business through legal entities that meet the requirements and have been granted permission by the Government of Åland to conduct business.
The principles for granting permission to conduct business stipulates that at least one regular board member or their substitute, must have the right of domicile or have had uninterrupted residence in Åland for the past five years.
When conducting business activities in Åland, customers should be guaranteed service and product information in Swedish. Employees stationed in Åland should be able to use Swedish in their daily work and receive all employment-related information in Swedish.
The applications for the right to conduct business are to be sent to the Government of Åland. The application form is in Swedish.
Legislation regarding business law can be found on the government's website (In Swedish):
Land acquisition permit
To own real estate in Åland, a permit for land acquisition (jordförvärvstillstånd) is required. Natural persons who do not have the right of domicile on Åland, as well as legal entities are not allowed to acquire or possess real estate in Åland without the permission from the Government of Åland. However, both natural persons and legal entities may apply for a land acquisition permit, as long as they meet the conditions specified in the following legislation.
Legislation regarding land acquisition permits can be found on the government's website (In Swedish):
Principle decision of consent to conduct surveys on maritime areas
The Government of Åland strives to support activities that aim at establishing offshore wind power in Åland. To this end, the Government of Åland took a decision August 23, 2022, regarding principles for granting consent for conducting surveys pertaining to offshore wind farms in government-controlled waters. An application for conducting surveys on the government-controlled waters, must be submitted to the Government of Åland. Granted consent is needed prior to conducting any investigations, such as:
- Hydrographic surveys/bathymetric mapping (Mapping of the seabed)
- Wind measurements
- Sample fishing
- Water sampling
- Noise measurements
- Biodiversity inventories
It is essential to note that even though the Government of Åland can grant permission to conduct surveys on its waters, the hydrographic surveys can only be permitted by the Finnish armed forces headquarters for security reasons.
The legislation regarding territorial surveillance and permission to conduct sea bed mapping can be read on the ministry of justice's website (In Swedish):
The principle decision can be read on the government's website (In Swedish):