Finnish residence permit

Finnish residence permit

A residence permit is a document issued to a foreigner for temporary stay on the territory of the respective country. The holder of a residence permit obtains the status of a resident and the corresponding list of rights, such as work, education, medical care and social benefits. A residence permit in Finland is granted to those who come to Finland for more than 90 consecutive days. The residence permit is issued on the grounds listed in the national Aliens Act (Ulkomaalaislaki) approved on 30.04.2004.

The residence status of the Republic of Finland entitles the immigrant to professional and educational activities, reunification with family members and visa-free travel within the Schengen States. Long-term residence permits are the first step on the way to further naturalization in the state and obtaining a passport of a citizen of the European Union. Detailed information about what kind of residence permit in Finland and what is necessary for its acquisition as of 2024 is presented further in the article.

It is possible to understand the nuances of migration policy of European countries with the help of international law specialists. Specialized lawyers conduct a detailed analysis of the applicant's request and his/her pedigree, on the basis of which they recommend the fastest, easiest and most affordable programs for obtaining residency or passport abroad.

Types of residence permit

Since 2012, Finland has been issuing plastic resident cards with biometric identifiers embedded in them. The document contains a photo and two fingerprints of the holder in encrypted form (electronic chip). Also, on the card is indicated basic information - personal data of the immigrant, the term of issue and validity of the residence permit, the place of registration in the republic and so on.

The following types of residence permit in Finland can be distinguished:

  • Immigrational

The document is issued for a period of one year and can be extended if the holder retains the basis for residence in the country. Such residence permits are counted in the period of stay required for subsequent entry into Finnish citizenship. Immigrational temporary residence permits are issued, for example, for work, study, family and humanitarian reasons, to foreign entrepreneurs, scientific researchers and highly qualified specialists.

  • Non-immigrational

The document is granted for a short period of time (usually from 6 to 18 months) and is not renewed. Such residence permits are intended for those who come to the country temporarily, not planning to naturalize later. A residence permit is issued to interns, volunteers, domestic helpers and foreigners who need to undergo medical treatment in Finland.

A letter code is also stamped on the residence card: B for temporary statuses and A for permanent statuses.

How to obtain a residence permit in Finland

The Aliens Act regulates the conditions for granting a Finnish residence permit, the ways of drawing up the document, the basic and additional requirements for the applicant. Also, the legal act specifies the authorized migration authorities, documents for acquiring resident status, reasons for refusal to issue and other important aspects. An immigrant may apply for a temporary residence permit in the republic if the following conditions are met:

  • absence of a criminal record for serious crimes;
  • a valid passport or its equivalent;
  • absence of diseases threatening public health;
  • having grounds for a long-term stay in the country;
  • passing the required immigration procedures, including fingerprinting;
  • not being on the list of persons banned from entering Finland.

Additional requirements depend on the grounds on which a foreigner is applying for a residence permit in Finland. In most cases, the applicant must also demonstrate financial security at the level of 1000 to 1400 EUR per month. To apply for a residence permit, the immigrant prepares a package of documents, applies to the diplomatic mission of the Republic, pays an administrative fee and waits for the decision. If the application is approved, the applicant receives a D visa, with which he/she moves to Finland and picks up the residence card at the Migration Service.

Choosing the grounds for a residence permit application

In order to apply for a residence permit in Finland, a foreigner must decide on the reason for the application. The reason depends on how long the residence card is valid and whether it can be renewed. Not all types of residence permits, for example, give the right to a permanent paid activity. Also the basis affects the cost of registration of the document, for example, most often a temporary resident card costs the immigrant 520 EUR, but students pay 450 EUR, entrepreneurs - 690 EUR. It is impossible to buy a residence permit legally.

  • Work
    A Finnish residence permit is issued to those who come under an employment agreement with a local employer. A company can only invite a foreigner if he or she has a diploma in the chosen profession and/or work experience. For all professions, except for shortage occupations, the approval of the national Employment and Economic Office is required. The applicant's income must be in accordance with the collective agreement for the respective position, but not less than 1400 EUR per month. The applicant supplements the basic dossier with an employment contract and a document on education. The standard term of validity of a residence permit is up to 2 years.
  • EU Blue Card
    A special residence permit is granted to highly qualified employees who move to Finland for employment and enter into a contract for a period of one year or more. The minimum salary of the immigrant must be 1.5 times the average wage for the relevant profession in the country (before taxes). The document is granted to those who are able to prove proper qualifications. The EU Blue Card is granted for a two-year period and entitles the foreigner to immigrate with his/her spouse and children, without the family reunification procedure.
  • Special activities
    A residence permit is granted to those who come to Finland to perform professional tasks with flexible employment conditions. These may be accredited foreign journalists, representatives of religious denominations, artists, musicians, guest teachers. The applicant must have means of subsistence in the amount of 1000 EUR per month and confirm the tasks performed by an invitation from the relevant organization (university, sports club, church). The residence permit is issued for one year, but no longer than the planned period of work.
  • Highly skilled jobs
    In addition to the EU Blue Card, Finland grants two-year residence permits to immigrants as specialized experts, managers, senior or middle management, or as part of intra-corporate mobility. These types of residence permits are granted to applicants in an accelerated procedure (in 2 weeks), and require special skills from the foreigner. The document is issued to those whose salary is at least 3638 EUR per month as of 2024. The residence permit is valid for 2 years.
  • Work without the right to naturalization
    Finland grants a non-immigrant residence card to those who come to Finland to perform short-term employment tasks or within the framework of certain agreements. This can be a domestic helper, seasonal work (up to six months), volunteer work, paid or voluntary internships. A residence permit for work is granted for a period of up to 12-18 months without the possibility of extension.
  • Study
    A student residence permit is granted to those who are enrolled in a licensed Finnish university. The document is also granted to participants in exchange programs between universities from different countries. The applicant must be a full-time student and provide a certificate of enrolment, as well as proof of financial security and payment of the first year's tuition fees. This type of residence permit is also issued to participants of advanced training programs and applicants for scientific or doctoral degrees. The document is usually renewed annually and gives the holder the right to work up to 30 hours per week without affecting the educational process.
  • Business
    A temporary residence permit is granted to foreigners who register a company in Finland. The legislation does not stipulate the size of the share capital and the scope of the company's activities, but applications from immigrants are considered after approval from the State Center for Economy, Transport and Environment. The authorized body assesses the prospects of the project and its interest for the republic. The residence permit is also granted to startup entrepreneurs with the support of the Business Finland Innovative Financial Center. The term of validity of the document is 2 years.
  • Family circumstances
    Finnish residents and citizens may invite close relatives to live with them. A residence permit is available for a child under 18 years of age and a spouse. Family reunification is available to temporary residents with an immigration-type document, e.g., a study or work permit. The host party must be sufficiently provided for to support the persons invited. It is also possible for other relatives, e.g., guardians or parents of minor citizens, to move to Finland.
  • Research activities
    Those who come to Finland to carry out research, defend a thesis or obtain a license in a relevant field can apply for Finnish resident status. The foreigner must have a suitable education and a formal contract with the host country, e.g., a research institute. In case of paid activity, the applicant's salary must be from 1400 EUR per month. In other cases, the applicant must demonstrate a financial reserve at the level of 1000 EUR for each month of residence permit validity. The document is most often valid for 12 months.
  • Humanitarian grounds
    Finland provides temporary and subsidiary protection to foreigners who cannot remain in their home country because of armed conflict, a death sentence, discrimination for racial, religious, political or other reasons. Requests from refugees are considered on an individual basis without standard requirements for the applicant. A residence permit is also granted to victims of human trafficking or gender exploitation.
  • Repatriation
    Foreigners who can document their Finnish origin are granted permanent resident status in a simplified procedure. Former soldiers of the state army involved in World War II and Ingermanlanders (a sub-ethnic group of Finns) who were forcibly evicted in the USSR have a similar right.
  • Other grounds
    The Finnish migration authorities may approve a residence permit for foreigners for other reasons, e.g., if they intend to marry a citizen of the Republic or to undergo long-term medical treatment. The applicant has to justify his/her request with documentation and prove that he/she is wealthy enough to move to the country.

Finland does not grant residence permits for reasons that are popular among immigrants, such as buying real estate, for financially independent persons, through investments or for pensioners and rentiers with passive income. Alternatively, a foreigner can apply for a passport of another EU country and move to the Finnish city he or she likes without additional requirements. Detailed information for the applicants is provided by specialized lawyers.

Document`s preparation

The package of documents for a Finnish residence permit depends on the basis on which the applicant requests the status. The completed dossier with translation and notarized certification must be submitted to the Finnish diplomatic mission in the country of permanent residence. Find detailed instructions and sample application forms on the official website of the Finnish Immigration Service. The basic list of documents is as follows:

  • a standard application form;
  • valid passport and its copies;
  • passport-size photo;
  • receipt of administrative fee payment;
  • criminal record certificate;
  • civil status certificates (if applicable);
  • proof of the grounds for residence permit.

Additional documents may include a certificate of income or its equivalent confirming financial security, an invitation from the host country, a contract on renting real estate in Finland (as proof of residence). Medical insurance is not usually required for a residence permit.

Arrangement of Finnish residence permit

The process of obtaining a residence permit in Finland is as follows:

  1. Documentary and information preparation.

The applicant chooses the basis for immigration, makes sure that he/she meets the requirements for the applicant, collects a package of documents, organizes their translation, certification and apostille legalization (if applicable).

  1. Making an appointment at a diplomatic mission.

Immigrants abroad apply for a residence permit through a consulate or embassy in the country of permanent residence. The applicant must make an appointment in advance and pay an administrative fee.

  1. Filing of documents.

On the appointed day and time, the foreigner personally visits the diplomatic mission, where he fills out the questionnaire and submits the application for temporary resident status.

  1. Waiting for the decision and receiving a national visa.

On average, the processing period for residence permit applications in Finland is about two months. Certain types of documents (e.g., for special experts) are processed in up to 14 days. When the request is approved, the foreigner receives a D-category visa in his passport, which he uses to enter the country

  1. Obtaining a residence card.

Upon arrival in Finland, the applicant visits the migration service at the place of address registration, where he/she receives a temporary residence permit.

Denial of issuance a Finnish residence permit

A request for a residence card in Finland is rejected if the applicant has previously been banned from entering the country, is considered an undesirable person and/or poses a threat to national security or the health of the local population. The document is not issued if it contradicts the international interests of the state. An application may be rejected if the required documents are missing from the file or if they are incorrectly executed. Also, those who do not comply with at least one of the legal requirements are denied. Foreigners have the right to a judicial appeal, but it is rarely approved.

What gives a residence permit of Finland?

The holder of a Finnish residence permit receives the following privileges:

  • residence in the state for an appropriate period of time without additional conditions;
  • travel to Schengen countries without a visa;
  • access to official employment (for certain types of residence permits);
  • the right to be reunited with family members;
  • social benefits and state support;
  • free conduct of business within the Single European Market;
  • the possibility of subsequent naturalization (with an immigration-type residence permit);
  • service in local banks and hospitals on favorable terms.

There is also a simplified program of obtaining an EU passport. It is possible to obtain a second citizenship with the right to reside in Finland within a year or more, without opening a residence permit or demonstrating the level of income.

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