Backlogs in the processing of residence permit applications based on family ties

3.7.2019 10.15
Press release

There are currently backlogs in the processing of residence permit applications based on family ties. According to law, these applications must be processed within nine months from the date on which the application was submitted. At the moment, the processing time is unfortunately longer for some of the applications. The processing time of nine months was exceeded in approximately every fourth application that was decided during the early part of 2019.

The backlogs concern especially applications where the applicant has a Finnish spouse. However, the processing times vary between different application grounds. For example the average processing times for applications of minors are shorter. You can calculate when the decision is expected to be ready using the Processing Time Checker on our website

Wait for the decision

We understand that our decisions greatly impact people’s lives, and we aim at processing applications as efficiently as possible.

If you have not yet received a decision to your application, please wait patiently. We will contact you if additional information is needed for your application.

When processing applications, we always pay attention to the best interest of children and the protection of family life. Residence permit applications on the basis of family ties may involve a situation where a child and another parent are apart from their family member during the application process.

Unfortunately we cannot expedite the processing of an application due to this.

Why are there backlogs?

The backlogs of residence permit applications on the basis of family ties began to build up in 2017 when all permit matters for foreign nationals were concentrated to be handled by the Finnish Immigration Service, including applications from the police. During the same year, the number of asylum seekers and applications grew temporarily, which lead to a backlog that we could not completely clear. 

We have tried to improve the situation by recruiting staff, and in 2019 we have, for example, reorganised our work to process applications more efficiently.

Unfortunately there are still backlogs of applications, and we apologise for the situation.

Most applicants receive a positive decision

In 2018, the number of new residence permit applications on the basis of family ties was 11,036. In 2018, the highest numbers of applications came from Russia (1,208), India (936), Iraq (846) and Somalia (558).

A total of 11,305 decisions were made in 2018. The majority of these decisions (approximately 80%) were positive.  

FACTS: How is the processing time calculated?

  • The calculation of the processing time starts when the applicant has visited the Finnish Immigration Service or a Finnish mission to submit his or her application or to prove his or her identity after submitting an online application.
  • The processing time ends when the applicant has been served with the decision.

”How is the processing time calculated” has been revised on 3 July 2019.