Permanent residence in Finland

Permanent residence in Finland

Permanent residence in Finland is a status of an inhabitant of the state, which is granted indefinitely after the period of prior residence with a residence permit and if related requirements have been met. The holder of a residence card is equal in most rights to a citizen of the country, except for the possibility to participate in the electoral process and work in state structures. Unlike a temporary residence permit, a permanent residence permit is not canceled, does not require regular reissuance with proof of the grounds for living in the state.

Moving to Finland for permanent residence implies opening a national visa, temporary resident status, its extension and registration of a permanent residence permit. To immigrate, a foreigner needs to select a legal basis, which makes it possible to apply for a local residence permit. It is possible to apply for permanent residence status in the Republic of Finland after 4 years of continuous residence with a temporary document. The applicant must be law-abiding and not pose a threat to national security and public health.

Citizens of any other European Union member state can immigrate to Finland quickly and safely. The holder of an EU passport receives the same rights in the Republic as the native population and does not have to look for a reason to live on its territory. You can find out more about the simplified program of accession to EU citizenship from dedicated experts.

Rights and opportunities of a Finnish resident

Finnish permanent resident status gives an immigrant access to the following advantages and privileges:

  • residence in one of the most developed and prosperous countries in the world without any time limits or additional conditions;
  • travel to the European Union and Schengen area without a visa for up to 90 days out of six months;
  • the possibility to invite family members to live with you and issue resident cards for them;
  • the use of social and state support, from integration courses to financial subsidies, according to status;
  • official employment in a country where the average salary is about 3500 EUR;
  • the right for subsequent naturalization and issuance of a Finnish and EU passport;
  • unrestricted access to local banking institutions, including loans and international transfers;
  • access to medical care on the basis of an insurance policy at a reduced rate, usually unavailable to non-residents.

How to move to Finland for a permanent residence?

The procedure of emigration from other countries to Finland step by step looks like this:

  1. Determining the purpose of moving and preparing documents.
  2. Filing a request for residence permit and obtaining a national visa.
  3. Moving to Finland and issuing a residence card.
  4. Renewal of the residence permit within 4 years.
  5. Obtaining permanent residence status.

Determining the purpose of the relocation

The reason for which a foreigner is moving to Finland determines the type of residence permit he or she can obtain. For example, an ordinary worker's residence permit does not entitle a person to simplified family immigration, unlike a Blue Card. In some cases, when applying for a residence permit, the applicant may need to demonstrate an income level of 1000 EUR or more for each month of validity of the document.

Some types of Finnish residence permit (e.g., study permits) limit the right to work to 30 hours per week. The validity period of resident cards also differs, e.g., for one year for special activities (journalists, volunteers, religious workers) or up to 2 years when starting a business. Applicants should compare the terms and conditions of suitable types of residence permits and choose the best one according to the requirements for the applicant, rights and privileges. The following are common grounds for immigration to the Scandinavian Republic.

  • Citizenship of the EU
    Passport holders from any EU or Nordic country (including Norway) have the right to move to Finland for permanent residence without any additional conditions. The applicant does not need to look for a reason to open a local residence permit. Some EU states offer foreigners simplified citizenship programs without renouncing the status in the home country, passing language tests and demonstrating the level of income. You can assess the chances of acquiring a second EU passport at a free consultation with international law specialists.
  • Work
    Those who sign a work contract with a company registered in Finland can move to Finland. Depending on the level of income and qualifications, a foreigner can apply for a standard working residence permit or a document with extended powers, including family relocation. Immigrants in Finland are employed by the Employment and Economic Development Office, which assesses the demand for a vacancy among the local population and the professional abilities of the applicant. Exceptions are high-skilled professionals, such as senior managers or Blue Card applicants.
  • Study
    A foreigner can be enrolled in a Finnish educational institution and apply for a residence permit on that basis. The applicant has to pay the first year's tuition fees and demonstrate that he or she can afford to live in Finland. Those who come as interns, doctoral students, for professional development or as part of an international student exchange can also immigrate on the basis of study. For subsequent naturalization, you will need to complete your education in Finland.
  • Entrepreneurship
    Finland grants the right to immigrate to those who start and run a business in Finland. The state does not restrict foreigners in the choice of the field of activity and the amount of the authorized capital, but conducts a preliminary study of the business plan to assess its prospects. If approved by the Center for Economy, Transport and Environment, the applicant is granted a residence permit.
  • Start-up
    Start-up entrepreneurs can submit a project of interest to the Finnish economy, which will be studied by the Business Finland Innovation Finance Center. If the authorized body finds the start-up idea promising, it will finance it and the applicant will be able to obtain a residence permit in the country.
  • Certain activities
    Immigration to Finland is open to applicants who will be engaged in professional activities in certain areas defined by law. These may include researchers of the local market for goods and services, sportsmen, artists and cultural workers, employees of religious communities, leaders of public organizations and others. Employment in this case is possible without the approval of the Employment and Economic Development Office.
  • Family reasons
    It is possible to move to Finland to live together with a close relative who is a resident or citizen of Finland. Family reunification is usually requested for spouses or de facto cohabitants, minor and unmarried children, parents (if the host is under 18 years of age). Other relatives may also be approved, e.g., if they need constant care. When moving in with a Finnish citizen, it is possible to obtain permanent residence status immediately, bypassing the step of opening a residence permit.
  • Humanitarian grounds
    Refugees, temporary or subsidiary protection applicants who cannot stay in their home country for objective reasons, such as a death sentence, military conflict or racial discrimination, can apply for residence in Finland. A residence permit may also be issued to those who need to enter the Republic outside the standard grounds, for example, for long-term medical treatment. Requests are considered individually in this case.
  • Scientific researcher activity
    Immigration to Finland is available to those who come to Finland to conduct research according to their qualifications at the invitation of an accredited institution with a relevant work profile. The foreigner must document the planned activity and receive at least the minimum wage, i.e., from 1399 EUR in this case as of 2024. If the work is not paid, the immigrant should have a bank account of 1000 EUR for each month of planned residence.

Obtaining a residence permit

To immigrate to Finland, a foreigner must apply for a residence permit at a diplomatic mission (embassy/consulate) in the country of permanent residence. The applicant makes an appointment in advance, visits the authorized body, pays the administrative fee and submits the documents. On average, it takes about 1-3 months to review the application, depending on the basis and workload of the embassy or consulate.

If the request is approved, the applicant can obtain a national visa D, which gives the right to move to Finland and apply for a residence permit at the Migration Service office at the place of registration. The visa sticker is placed in the foreigner's passport. The cost of a Finnish residence permit depends on the basis for which the document is requested and the age of the immigrant, on average it ranges from 450 to 740 EUR for adult applicants.

Prolongation of residence permit and registration of permanent residence status

Most often, a Finnish residence permit is issued for a period of up to 2 years, but not longer than the duration of the planned stay in the country (e.g., the duration of a work contract). Immigration-type residence permits are subject to re-issuance if the reason for staying in the country is retained. The applicant applies to the migration service at the place of registration, where he/she submits the application together with a package of documents. It is possible to carry out the online procedure through the website of the authorized body Enter Finland.

It is possible to request the status of permanent resident 4 years after entering Finland and obtaining the initial residence permit. Of this period, at least half of the time must actually reside in the state. The process of applying for a Finnish residence permit also involves visiting the migration service and submitting an application together with a dossier. The cost of the document is 150 EUR for children and 220-270 EUR for adult applicants. The expected time of consideration of the request is from 9 to 13 months.

Execution of citizenship

Naturalization in Finland is possible after 5 years of continuous residence. This period includes only 50% of the time spent in the country with a temporary residence permit. In fact, the period of obligatory residence takes from 7 calendar years, of which at least 12 months must be spent in possession of a residence permit card. Also, the applicant for citizenship must fulfill the following conditions:

  • having a registered place of residence in the Republic;
  • law-abiding;
  • a permanent income of at least the minimum level;
  • successful completion of a Swedish or Finnish language test;

You can also apply for a Finnish passport through the Finnish Migration Service. Minor children may be included in the application if the other parent approves. The processing time of the application is between 7 and 30 months. The application fee is between 490 and 690 EUR, depending on the method of submission (in paper form or online via Enter Finland).

Illegal stay

Staying in Finland without an official document (visa, residence card or passport) can lead to forced deportation abroad. Foreigners who are deported from the Republic are usually banned from re-entering the country, including other Schengen areas. Illegal immigrants may also be provisionally detained for the duration of the trial before deportation. The Immigration Service decides on deportation at the request of a police or border control office, as well as on its own initiative.

What is required to relocate to Finland

Before the immigration to Finland, the following things should be considered:

  • Finding sources of income
    It is important for applicants to consider how they will be financially secure to live in Finland. An immigrant can look for a job in advance by using special websites such as duunitori.fi or the services of recruitment agencies. If a foreigner has a passive or remote income, he or she should consider how he or she will receive funds while living abroad.
  • Changes in taxation
    If an immigrant plans to transfer his or her existing business, he/she will need to know the specifics of tax residency in Finland. If you are employed in Finland, you will also need to pay mandatory contributions to the Finnish tax authorities.
  • Preparing a place of residence
    The real estate market in Finland does not attract a variety of offers, so it is worth looking at offers in advance. You can find rental or purchase options with the help of realty agents, on the websites asunnonvuokraus.com, asunnot.oikotie.fi and similar.
  • Choosing the best city to move to
    An immigrant should compare the development of infrastructure, availability of kindergartens and schools, the number of offers on the labor market in different settlements. Also, when choosing a suitable Finnish city, one should take into account the climatic and environmental conditions, the cost of renting or buying real estate.

Professionals provide comprehensive support when immigrating abroad. With their help it is possible to minimize costs and efforts in organizing the relocation and registration of legal status in Finland and other European countries.

Why Finland is popular among immigrants?

Relocation to Finland attracts foreigners with the following advantages:

  • Favorable living conditions
    Finland has repeatedly been named the happiest country in the world, according to studies by the United Nations. In the independent Numbeo quality of life ranking, the republic ranks 5th out of all the world's countries. Individual index of the country is 196 points out of 200, which is a very high score. The state has a high level of health, personal and public safety.
  • Financial solvency
    Finland is a permanent member of the European Union and NATO and has a high GDP per capita (about 59,000 EUR, which is excellent). The average salary in the republic is about 2500 EUR after tax deductions. The country has a high level of purchasing power of the population - 110 points, according to Numbeo.
  • Good employment prospects
    The salary level in Finland is much higher than in other countries of the world. Even low-skilled workers can earn from 1400 EUR per month, after tax deductions. Teachers, drivers, construction workers earn about 3200-3300 EUR, middle managers - from 5000 EUR, doctors, senior managers and narrow specialists - 7500 EUR and more. Foreigners are employed on equal terms with the native population, including income level, schedule and social package.
  • Opportunities of business development
    Entrepreneurs in Finland can develop their company within the framework of the Single European Market, with simplified logistics and no customs duties. The state sponsors entrepreneurs, helps with business in special counseling centers, provides grants and subsidies. Investment organizations can fully finance a promising project of an immigrant. Access to business visas abroad, including the USA, also facilitates business development.
  • Optimal combination of salary and expences
    Expected expenses per person in Finland are about 920 EUR per month excluding rent, which is 3 times lower than the average salary in the country after deduction of taxes. Rental prices in the country start at 500-700 EUR for a one-bedroom apartment. Even those who earn minimum wage can provide themselves with everything they need to live.
  • Quality education system
    Finnish educational institutions are aimed at the all-round development of the personality and an individual approach to each student. Immigrants with children can count on free places in schools and kindergartens. Many universities in the country are public and provide the right to study with a scholarship. In addition to universities, Finland has free vocational colleges.
  • High level of healthcare
    The country's health care index is 77.49, which equates to a score of "Very High". Most medical services are provided free of charge to residents, at the state's expense. The cost of an insurance policy per year does not exceed 700 EUR. Residents are partially paid for medicines, if their costs exceed 600 EUR per year. Preferential service conditions are intended for pregnant women, students, minors, pensioners.
  • Social support
    Immigrants in Finland can expect help with integration into society, including attending language classes and further education courses at the state's expense. Socially disadvantaged categories receive Kela, a financial benefit in case of maternity leave, temporary incapacity for work and other benefits.

Feedback from foreigners who have migrated to Finland

In the reviews of foreigners who have moved to Finland for permanent residence, positive statements about the state as a whole and its migration policy prevail. Immigrants note wide opportunities for employment even without special qualifications and knowledge of the national language, friendly attitude of the population, high quality of services provided by local hospitals, universities, banking institutions. Foreigners like the services of the educational sector, the right to develop business on the international market, the level of infrastructure even in small towns.

The disadvantages of moving to Finland include the long decision-making process of the national immigration services. Many people claim that the Finnish language is very difficult to learn, and without its knowledge it is difficult to get a highly paid position. The cold Scandinavian climate with a high level of humidity is not suitable for all immigrants. Also, to the disadvantages of living in Finland often include high prices for buying real estate in large cities (from 2500 EUR per square meter) and the need to pay taxes of up to 45% of wages.

Support in relocation to Finland

To guarantee a permanent residence in Finland, you can enlist the support of international law specialists. Specialized lawyers analyze the applicant's request and his wishes, and then recommend the best immigration programs in a short period of time. Step-by-step professional support minimizes the costs and participation of the foreigner in the necessary procedures. Specialists thoroughly understand the nuances of international law, which guarantees approval of the application for foreign citizenship or residency.

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