How to apply for Finland Residence Permit

Finland Residence permit

If you going to Finland from outside the EU for more than 90 days, you must apply for a residence permit. If you plan to work, you may need a residence permit even if your stay will be shorter than 90 days.

You need to apply for your residence permit personally. You cannot for example apply for a residence permit for your spouse or employee. If you are a citizen of an EU Member State, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you do not need a residence permit for Finland but you must register your right of residence in Finland.

If your first residence permit is going to expire but you want to stay in Finland, apply for an extended permit or a permanent residence permit in good time.

Types of Finland Resident Permit 

A residence permit may either be for a fixed term or be permanent. A fixed-term residence permit is granted as a temporary or a continuous residence permit. The first residence permit is always issued for a fixed term.

The type of residence permit is indicated on the residence permit with a letter. A continuous residence permit bears the letter A, while a temporary residence permit bears the letter B. A permanent residence permit bears the letter P. An EU residence permit for third-country nationals with long-term EU resident status bears the letters P-EU or P-EY.

Finland First residence permit

When you apply for your first residence permit in Finland, the right application form for you depends on your reason for coming to Finland:

  • Working in Finland
  • Moving to Finland to be with a family member
  • Studying in Finland
  • Remigration
  • Coming to Finland on other grounds
  • Residence permit for a victim of human trafficking

You will find the application form at the bottom of the application page of each residence permit. If you are not sure which application form you should use, use the Application Finder to find out.

You need to apply for your residence permit personally. You cannot for example apply for a residence permit for your spouse or employee.

If you already have a residence permit and wish to continue your stay in Finland after it expires, apply for an extended permit.

If you are a citizen of an EU Member State, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you do not need a residence permit for Finland but you must register your right of residence in Finland.

This is what you should do

1. Make sure you meet the requirements for the residence permit you are applying for.
2. Make sure you have all the attachments needed. If necessary, have them translated and legalised. The processing time may be longer if you have not filled in your application sufficiently.
3. Fill in your application.
4. Pay for your application in the online service Enter Finland, at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) or at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.
5. If you are abroad, visit a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate). If you are already in Finland, book an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.
6. Wait for a decision. The Finnish Immigration Service will contact you if necessary.
7. Read what happens after you have applied. Check the estimated processing time of your application here. You can follow the processing of your application with the help of the chatbot Kamu. In addition, you will usually receive automated messages at the different processing stages of your application.
8. You should wait for the residence permit in the same country or locality where you submitted your application and proved your identity.

Finland Extended permit (new fixed-term residence permit)

If you wish to continue your stay in Finland but your residence permit is going to expire, apply for an extended permit. An extended permit is granted for up to four years. If you have lived in Finland long enough and also meet the other requirements, you may apply for a permanent residence permit or a long-term resident’s EU residence permit for third-country nationals.

If you still meet the same requirements you met when your previous residence permit was granted to you, the Finnish Immigration Service will grant you an extended permit.

Alternatively, you can apply for an extended permit on new grounds. Remember that you need to meet the requirements for the residence permit you apply for.

In most cases, you can apply for an extended permit using the same application you used for your previous residence permit. In some cases, you need to submit a different application.

Apply for an extended permit on the main grounds of your residence in Finland. For example, if you study or work, or if you are married and work, select the most important reason why you are in Finland, and use it as the grounds for applying for an extended permit. Doubting what application form you should use, use the Application Finder to find out.

If you apply for an extended permit online, you do not necessarily need to prove your identity at a service point

If you are applying for an extended permit in the online service Enter Finland and are using strong electronic identification, you do not necessarily need to visit a service point to prove your identity and to have your fingerprints taken.

Strong electronic identification means that you verify your identity in the e-service Enter Finland with your online banking credentials, citizen certificate or mobile certificate.

After you have submitted your application, the e-service will tell you whether you have to visit a service point or whether the electronic identification is sufficient.

Apply for an extended permit about three months before your residence permit expires

Apply for an extended permit before your residence permit expires. Once you do so, your application will be pending and your right to work will remain in accordance with your old permit.

Please notice that the processing of applications and your visit to a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service will take some time. If you submit your application for an extended permit online in Enter Finland in time, you do not need to visit a service point to prove your identity before your permit expires.

However, we do not recommend that you apply for an extended permit earlier than three months before the expiry date of your residence permit. If you apply earlier, we may not necessarily be able to assess whether you meet the requirements for an extended residence permit and may be unable to grant the permit. If you have a residence permit for studies, do not apply for an extended permit before you have completed the necessary ECTS credits.

Working while your application is being processed

Whether you are allowed to work while your application is being processed depends on the grounds on which your previous residence permit was granted to you. If you only apply for an extended permit after your residence permit has expired, you are not allowed to continue working. Read more about the right to work while an application for an extended permit is being processed.

You may legally reside in Finland during the processing of your application and the possible appeal process. If you receive a negative extended permit decision and a decision on your removal from the country, you must leave Finland.

New residence permit card from a service point

If you already have a continuous residence permit that is still valid but your residence permit card is broken or gets lost, do not apply for a new continuous residence permit. Instead, you need a new residence permit card. Read the instructions for applying for a new card before you visit a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

You can only apply for an extended permit in Finland

If you submit your application abroad, your application will be processed as an application for a first residence permit even if you have already had a residence permit in Finland. The application will be subject to a processing fee for a first permit.

Finland Permanent residence permit

A permanent residence permit is valid until further notice. In other words, its period of validity is not limited. You may get a permanent residence permit if:

  • you have lived in Finland continuously for four years with a continuous residence permit (the A permit); and
  • the requirements for granting a continuous residence permit still exist.

The time period of four years begins:

  • on the day of your entry into Finland if you had a continuous residence permit when you came to Finland; or
  • on the first day of your first continuous residence permit if you applied for the permit in Finland; or
  • on the day of your entry into Finland if you have been granted a continuous residence permit on the basis of refugee status or subsidiary protection.

If you have not yet been in Finland for four years, you may apply for a new fixed-term residence permit (extended permit).

In order to get a permanent residence permit, you need to be able to get a continuous residence permit

The Finnish Immigration Service can only grant you a permanent residence permit if you have the grounds and meet the requirements for a continuous residence permit (the A permit). In most cases, your grounds for a permanent residence permit are the same as they were for your previous, continuous residence permit.

Alternatively, you can apply for permanent residence permit on new grounds. Remember that you need to meet the requirements for the residence permit for which you apply. You may for example get a permanent residence permit on the grounds of family or work.

A permanent residence permit can be refused if you have committed crimes.

You can only apply for a permanent residence permit in Finland

If you submit your application abroad, your application will be processed as an application for a first residence permit. The application will be subject to a processing fee for a first permit.

Your continuous residence permit must still be valid when you apply for a permanent residence permit

Apply for a permanent residence permit before your previous residence permit expires. Please reserve some time for the processing of your application and your visit to a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

However, we do not recommend that you apply for a permanent residence permit earlier than three months before completing your four-year period of residence.

If you apply earlier, we may not necessarily be able to assess whether you meet the requirements for a permanent residence permit and may be unable to grant the permit.

If you only apply for a permanent residence permit after your previous residence permit has expired, you cannot get a permanent residence permit. In such a case, you may however apply for a new extended permit.

You may legally reside in Finland during the processing of your application and the possible appeal process. If the Finnish Immigration Service does not grant you a permanent residence permit due to, for example, crimes or insufficient period of residence but you meet the requirements for a continuous (A) residence permit.

Right to work

Whether you are allowed to work while your application is being processed depends on the grounds on which your previous residence permit was granted to you.

If you only apply for a permanent residence permit after your previous residence permit has expired, you are not allowed to continue working. After you get a permanent residence permit, you have an unrestricted right to work.

EU residence permit

A long-term resident’s EU residence permit issued to a third-country national is also a permanent permit that is valid until further notice.

You may get an EU residence permit after you have lived in Finland for five years without interruption. You must have secure means of support regardless of the grounds on which you apply for an EU residence permit.

 

Right of permanent residence of EU citizens and their family members

An EU citizen has the right of permanent residence in Finland after he or she has legally resided in Finland for an uninterrupted period of five years.

A family member of an EU citizen has the right of permanent residence in Finland after he or she has legally resided in Finland with the EU citizen in question for an uninterrupted period of five years.

New residence permit card from a service point

If you already have a permanent residence permit but your residence permit card expires, is broken or gets lost, do not apply for a new permanent residence permit. Instead, you need a new residence permit card. Read the instructions for applying for a new card before you visit a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

Application process when you are applying for a permanent residence permit

1. Submitting an application
2. Processing of the application
3. Supplementing or cancelling your application
4. Decision and notification of the decision
5. Appealing a decision

How to apply for Finland Residence Permit

1. The applicant applies for a first residence permit and selects suitable grounds for the application.

2. After this, the applicant visits a Finnish embassy or consulate abroad or a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service in Finland to prove his or her identity.

The applicant must wait for the decision in the same country where he or she submitted the application.

3. The Finnish Immigration Service processes the application and makes a decision.

4. If the application was submitted in the Enter Finland e-service, the applicant gets an email or a text message when the decision is ready. Applicants who submit paper application will get the decision by post or via Finnish embassy or consulate.

5a. Negative decision: The applicant may appeal the decision.

5b. Positive decision: A residence permit card will be issued to the applicant, and the applicant’s details will automatically be recorded in the Finnish Population Information System.

6. Later, the applicant may apply for an extended permit or a permanent residence permit.

General requirements for entry into Finland

Make sure you meet the general requirements for entry into Finland before you submit an application.

1. You have a valid passport.
2. You have not been prescribed a prohibition of entry.
3. You are not a danger to public order and security.
4. You are not a danger to public health.
5. You are not a danger to Finland’s international relations.

Residence permit entries

Finland introduced biometric residence permit cards at the beginning of 2012. Biometric identifiers stored on the residence permit card chip include a facial image and two fingerprints.

Residence permit stickers for travel documents are no longer issued but they may still be used until the expiry date of the sticker.

Read also: How to apply for Denmark Student Visa

Residence permit card

If you are granted a residence permit, you will receive a residence permit card. You will get a residence permit card in about 2 to 3 weeks after a positive decision.

If you submitted your application in Finland, the card will be sent to you as a letter to a Finnish address. It is not possible to collect the card from a service point. If you submitted your application abroad, you will get the card through a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate).

Note! If you have not received your residence permit card within six weeks of the making of the decision, send a notification with a description of the situation by email to the address migri@migri.fi.

The chip of the residence permit card contains biometric identifiers, for example a facial image and two fingerprints. To ensure data security, the card has to be renewed every five years.

The period of validity of your residence permit is printed on the residence permit card. If your permit expires, you cannot apply for an extension by applying for a new residence permit card. You need to apply for an extended permit instead.

If you have a permanent residence permit and your card is about to expire, you do not need to apply for a new permanent residence permit. You only need to apply for a new card. A permanent residence permit card must be renewed every five years.

Contents of a residence permit card

The period of validity of the residence permit is printed on the card.

1. Permit type, or the grounds for issuing the permit:

  • A = continuous residence permit
  • B = temporary residence permit
  • P = permanent residence permit
  • P-EU or P-EY = a long-term resident’s EU residence permit issued to a third-country national.

2. The date before which the card must be renewed.

3. The period of validity of the residence permit is printed on the card. If the residence permit is permanent, the card bears the words PYSYVÄ/PERMANENT.

4. The section of the Aliens Act printed on the card reveals the extent of the card holder’s right to work. TTOL means a residence permit for an employed person. This is followed by a list of industries where the permit holder may work.

5. Finnish Immigration Service customer number.

Renewal of residence permit card

A residence permit cardLink to an external website is valid for up to five years. This is due to the fact that the card’s chip contains biometric identifiers.

To ensure the data security of the chip, the card has to be renewed every five years.

If you have a fixed-term residence permit, the period of validity of your right of residence, or your residence permit, is printed on the residence permit card. Apply for an extended permit before your residence permit expires.

If you have a permanent residence permit, the period of validity of your residence permit card is printed on the card. Apply for the renewal of your residence permit card before it expires.

If you apply for the renewal of your card in Enter Finland, send your application before your old card expires. When you send your application in Enter Finland, you do not have to visit a service point to prove your identity before your card expires. Instead, you can visit the service point later.

You can only renew your residence permit card in Finland.

How to Renew Finland Residence Permit Card

Identify yourself or apply for a new card in person at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service

If you apply for a card through Enter Finland, complete the application “Renewal of residence permit card or residence card for a family member of an EU citizen.

You can pay for your application through Enter Finland or later at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

Submit your application through Enter Finland and book an appointment for identification at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

If you are unable to use Enter Finland, please book an appointment directly in our appointment system. The only way to complete the application form in advance is on Enter Finland.

At the service point, your fingerprints will be taken and a processing fee will be charged, unless you have already paid for your application through Enter Finland.

You can hand over your previous residence permit card at the service point or later after the validity of the card has expired.

  • Renewal of a residence permit card 54 euros.
  • New residence permit card to replace a lost one 120 euros.

Documents for Renewal of Finland Residence Permit

  • a valid passport
  • a passport photo that is no more than six months old or a photograph retrieval code you received from a photo shop
  • a copy of your passport page containing personal data and copies of all your passport pages with notes
  • a written consent of a guardian when you are applying for a residence permit card for a child and not all guardians are coming with the child to the service point
  • the report you filed with the police, if your card is lost or stolen
  • When applying for a residence permit card for a child, you have to bring the child with you to the service point.

If you have to collect your card from the post office, you must show your identity card there. A list of identity documents accepted by Posti can be found on Posti’s website.

If you do not have an identity document accepted by the post office, you can give a power of attorney to a person who has one. More information on written authorisations can be found on Posti’s website.

Only apply for a new Finland Residence Permit card in the following situations:

You have a permanent residence permit and the validity of your residence permit card is about to expire.
  • You can check the validity on the back of the card.
  • Your right to work will not end even if you submit your residence permit card application late. However, if you do not renew your residence permit card within the given time limit, you may be punished with a fine.
You have a valid residence permit and your residence permit card is lost or stolen.
  • If your card is lost or stolen, report it to the police.
  • If your card is lost or stolen outside Finland, report it to the authorities in the country in question and to the police in Finland.
You have a valid residence permit and your residence permit card is so worn out that the information on it is unreadable.
You have a valid residence permit and the personal data printed on your residence permit card has changed, for example after you have renewed your home country’s passport.
Or you have a permanent residence permit sticker on your passport and the validity of your passport is about to expire.

 

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