Frequently asked questions about the effects of the coronavirus

 

Updates about the corona situation: migri.fi/coronavirus

Updated on 1 April 2020

Working in Finland 

I have employees who are staying in Finland with a work permit (first residence permit). If I need to temporarily lay off staff during the epidemic, will Migri consider that the work requirement has not been met?

The permit will stay valid for the duration of the lay-off.  

If someone with a first residence permit is temporarily laid off because of the coronavirus outbreak, how will this affect the work requirement and the possibility to obtain an extended permit?

If an employee who is in Finland with a first residence permit is temporarily laid off, the permit will stay valid. 

If the employee applies for an extended permit, one of the conditions for granting the extension is that the person has had secure means of support during the validity of the previous permit. If it seems like work cannot be offered in the future, for example due to the coronavirus outbreak, and the applicant has not found new employment, it is unlikely that the applicant is granted an extended permit. The Finnish Immigration Service or the TE Office will assess whether the person applying for an extended permit has sufficient means of support.

My employer is postponing the start date of my employment relationship because of the coronavirus outbreak. Can you make my residence permit come into effect when it is safe to come to Finland again?

We will not wait for the situation to be solved. All applications are decided when it is their turn to be processed. 

If the conditions for granting a residence permit are met, we will send the residence permit card to the Finnish mission, and you can come to Finland when travelling to Finland is allowed again. A first residence permit is usually valid for a year.

Follow the updates on the situation concerning the missions at the websites um.fi and finlandabroad.fi

I can’t come to Finland to work right now because of the coronavirus outbreak. Can you make my residence permit come into effect when it is safe to come to Finland again?

We will not wait for the situation to be solved. All applications are decided when it is their turn to be processed. If the conditions for granting a residence permit are met, we will send the residence permit card to the Finnish mission, and you can come to Finland when travelling to Finland is allowed again.

Follow the updates on the situation concerning the missions at the websites um.fi and finlandabroad.fi

My employment contract was terminated because of the coronavirus outbreak. Will the Finnish Immigration Service cancel my residence permit? 

At present, residence permits will not be cancelled only because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Will Finland permit the entry of seasonal workers?

Follow the websites of the Finnish Border Guard and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment for updates on the situation.

Is entry into Finland permitted to those who have been granted a work-based residence permit?

Follow the websites of the Finnish Border Guard and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment for updates on the situation.

Updated on 27 October 2020

Changing employer or the field of employment during the exceptional circumstances

Can I still change my employer and professional field temporarily to work in duties central to the security of supply and to the functioning of the labour market?

No, you cannot. The opportunity to temporarily change your employer and professional field ended on 31 October 2020.

I want to work permanently in the new field of employment after 31 October 2020. What should I do?

The change in legislation is temporary and valid until 31 October 2020. If you want to work in the new field permanently, you must apply for an extended permit accordingly.

Updated on 2 December 2020

Seasonal work during the coronavirus epidemic 

Can I speed up the processing of my application?

We are processing all applications for seasonal work as primary and urgent. You do not need to separately request us to speed up the processing of your application, and neither the employer or the employee needs to contact the Finnish Immigration Service separately. The starting date of your employment, which you have stated in your application, determines when we will decide your application. 

I have been granted a residence permit for seasonal work, how can I get my residence permit card while Finnish embassies are closed due to the coronavirus situation? 

For the time being, the Finnish missions cannot hand over residence permit cards as usual. If you have questions about your card delivery, contact the mission where you have handled your matter. For information about the situation with your mission, see the website finlandabroad.fi

Keep checking the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ and the Finnish Immigration Service’s bulletins for updates.

Can I travel to Finland without a residence permit card, since the Embassy is closed?

You can find information about cross-border traffic on the Finnish Border Guard’s website.

I’ve submitted a residence permit application in the Enter Finland online service, but I have not been able to visit a Finnish mission to prove my identity. Can I get a residence permit for seasonal work without a visit for identification?

Identification is mandatory if you have applied for a residence permit for seasonal work. A residence permit for seasonal work is intended for employment with a duration of three to nine months.

Identification means that before receiving a residence permit decision you must visit an Embassy where, among other things, you will be fingerprinted and your identity and necessary documents verified.

Since the situation is exceptional, identification times have been temporarily extended. We will tell you when the temporary arrangement ends. Follow the websites of the Finnish Immigration Service and embassies for updates.

For a seasonal work certificate, an identification visit at the embassy is not required. You can apply for a seasonal work certificate if the duration of your employment is less than three months and you are coming from a country whose citizens are not required to have a visa.

If you have applied for seasonal work in the Enter Finland online service, you will receive a notification by email and SMS text message when the request has been processed.

Can I apply for a first residence permit for seasonal work in Finland?

You must apply for your first residence permit for seasonal work abroad before arriving in Finland. 
If you already have a certificate or a visa for seasonal work and want to continue doing seasonal work in Finland directly after your certificate or visa for seasonal work expires, you can apply for a residence permit for seasonal work in Finland. In that case, you should apply for a residence permit for seasonal work before your certificate or visa expires. 

Make sure to check your right to work while your application is being processed

You cannot apply for a certificate for seasonal work, if you already  have a residence permit or have applied for a residence permit in Finland. 

My current seasonal work employment will end soon. Can I apply for a residence permit for seasonal work in Finland when my next employment relationship will not start until several months later? 

No, you cannot. You must leave Finland and apply for a residence permit for seasonal work abroad.

Follow the current situation at the Finnish missions on the websites of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, um.fi and finlandabroad.fi.

For which period will a first residence permit for seasonal work be granted?

A first permit is granted for the duration of the employment, but starting no earlier than from the date of the decision. 

I am an EU citizen. Can I come to Finland for seasonal work?

Yes. If you are a citizen of an EU Member State, you can come to Finland for seasonal work without restrictions in the same manner as other persons travelling for work. Information about border traffic can be found on the website of the Finnish Border Guard.

As a citizen in an EU Member State, you do not have to apply for a certificate or residence permit for seasonal work from the Finnish Immigration Service.

My visa/visa exemption is about to expire and I cannot travel to my home country because of the coronavirus situation. Can I stay in Finland as a seasonal worker and start working at a farm? 

You can apply for a residence permit for seasonal work if you have a seasonal work certificate or a seasonal work visa. Check whether you have the right to work while your application is being processed.

You cannot apply for a seasonal work certificate if you have a residence permit in Finland or a pending residence permit application.

If you do not have a seasonal work certificate or a seasonal work visa, you must apply for a residence permit for an employed person. You cannot start working before the permit has been granted if you have some other permit than a seasonal work visa or if you have resided in Finland visa-free. 

Updated on 2 December 2020

Visits to service points and Finnish missions 

I have booked an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service. Is it safe to go there?

Follow the instructions given by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). If you feel unwell, cancel your appointment in the appointment system

I have submitted my application in the online service Enter Finland. Do I have to visit a service point to prove my identity? Isn't there another way to do that?

You are usually required to visit a service point or a Finnish mission to prove your identity.

If you have applied for an extended permit in the online service Enter Finland and used strong electronic identification, you might not need to visit a service point to prove your identity and to have your fingerprints taken. The online service will tell you whether you have to visit a service point later or whether the electronic identification is enough.

I have booked an appointment at a Finnish mission abroad but the mission is closed. What should I do?

Follow the updates on the situation concerning the missions at the websites um.fi and finlandabroad.fiWhen the Ministry for Foreign Affairs announces that the special arrangements are over, book an appointment right away. For more information, see the page migri.fi/you-are-not-in-finland.

I'm supposed to go to a Finnish mission for an interview, but the mission is closed. Do I still need to go to an interview?

Follow the updates on the situation concerning the missions at the websites um.fi and finlandabroad.fi

I’m an asylum seeker and I need a certificate of my right to work in Finland. I heard that I can’t submit a request for a certificate at a service point any longer. How do I get my certificate?

You are right, certificates of an asylum seeker’s right to work cannot be submitted at service points any longer.

However, it is still possible for you or for your employer to send a certificate request to the Finnish Immigration Service in written form. To do that, fill in the form which is available on our website. For instructions on how to request a certificate and how to pay for it, see the page migri.fi/certificate-requests

I have submitted my application online in Enter Finland. According to the online service, I need to visit a service point to prove my identity within three months of submitting the application. I can’t do that within three months. What should I do?

Due to the exceptional circumstances, the time limit for proving your identity has been temporarily extended. We will publish an announcement when this temporary practice ends. Follow the websites of the Finnish Immigration Service and of the Finnish missions.

Do I still need to visit the Finnish Immigration Service in person?

Yes, a personal visit is still necessary. We will inform of any changes to this policy without delay. If you feel unwell, cancel your appointment in the appointment system and book a new appointment.

I have booked an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service. Are the service points still open?

Yes, they are still open. We will inform of any changes without delay. 

If the Finnish Immigration Service cancels your appointment, we will send a text message to the number you have given us or an email to the email address you have given us.

I have booked an appointment at a service point in the online appointment system but I didn't come for the appointment because of the coronavirus. Do I need to pay the cancellation fee?

If you did not cancel your appointment, we may charge you a fee of 50 euros.

We will not charge a fee if you did cancel your appointment in the appointment system or by email (in case you lost your appointment number or PIN code).

My employer has told me to work from home. Can I still travel within Finland? Can I be sure that the service point of the Finnish Immigration Service will still receive me?

Yes. All booked appointments are still valid. If the Finnish Immigration Service cancels your appointment, we will send a text message to the number you have given us or an email to the email address you have given us.

Follow the restrictions on movement imposed by the Finnish Government.

 

I’m in Finland and I can’t use Enter Finland. Can I send my residence permit application by email or by post? When does my application become pending?

You cannot send your application by email or by post. You can submit your application by booking an appointment for visiting a service point. If your matter is urgent, you can also visit a service point and take a waiting number. Read more about booking appointments and handling matters at the service points of the Finnish Immigration Service.

I cannot come for my booked appointment because I belong to a high-risk group for coronavirus. I cancelled my appointment. Do I need to book a new appointment? Do I need to send a message about my cancellation via Enter Finland?

Yes, you need to book a new appointment using our appointment system. You do not need to notify us via the online service Enter Finland if you cancel your booking or book a new appointment.

I cannot find any available appointments in the appointment system. I’ve been trying to book an appointment since the beginning of March. Will the Finnish Immigration Service book an appointment for me? 

Unfortunately no. You need to book the appointment yourself as soon as new appointments become available. 

I visited a Finnish mission to prove my identity, but the mission is now closed. Will my residence permit application be processed?

Yes. The missions will send all applications they have received to the Finnish Immigration Service.

Updated on 25 March 2020

Closure of borders 

Can the Finnish Immigration Service refuse to issue a residence permit on the basis of a danger posed to public health due to coronavirus?

At this moment, it is not possible to refuse a residence permit for reasons relating to endangering public health due to coronavirus. 

What does it mean that the Finnish borders are to be closed? When will they close?

The Finnish Border Guard is responsible for controlling the borders. For more information, visit the website of the Finnish Border Guard at raja.fi and see the frequently asked questions

Who are allowed to come to Finland?

The Finnish Border Guard is responsible for controlling the borders. For more information, visit the website of the Finnish Border Guard at raja.fi and see the frequently asked questions

I have a residence permit in Finland. Can I cross the border if I can arrange a flight to Finland?

The Finnish Border Guard is responsible for controlling the borders. For more information, visit the website of the Finnish Border Guard at raja.fi and see the frequently asked questions

Updated on 16 September 2020

Residence permit 

I cannot come to Finland because of the corona outbreak and I want to cancel my residence permit application. Will the fee that I have paid be refunded to me? 

As a rule, paid fees are not refunded. For more information, see the ‘Cancelling an application’ page. 

Can I apply for a temporary residence permit because of the coronavirus?

If it is not possible for you to return to your home country or country of permanent residence due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, you can, under certain conditions, apply for a temporary residence permit.

For more information, see the page migri.fi/you-are-in-finland.

Can I apply for a residence permit for my family on the basis of the coronavirus situation?

No, you cannot. If you want to apply for a residence permit for your family, follow the instructions given on this page: migri.fi/en/moving-to-finland-to-be-with-a-family-member.

I am in Finland and I have been granted a residence permit but I have not received my residence permit card. Will I not get it due to the coronavirus outbreak?

We will continue sending residence permit cards in Finland as usual. However, delays are expected due to the current situation with the coronavirus. Please wait patiently for your card to arrive.

I have applied for a residence permit for four months only. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, I probably cannot travel to Finland during the entire time for which I have applied for a residence permit. Am I still granted a permit?

The permit will be processed in a normal way. You will be issued with the permit if you meet the requirements for the permit.

I’m abroad, and I can’t come back to Finland before my residence permit expires. Can I apply for an extended permit abroad? What should I do?

Unfortunately, you can only apply for an extended permit in Finland. If you submit a residence permit application at a Finnish mission abroad, the application is always processed as a first residence permit application.

Follow the updates on the situation concerning the missions at the websites um.fi and finlandabroad.fi. Book an appointment immediately after the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has announced that the special arrangements are no longer in force. 

The coronavirus situation in my home country is so bad that I don’t want to return to my home country. Can I ask for my residence permit to be extended because of that?

Extending a residence permit requires, in every case, that a new residence permit application has been submitted.

Temporary residence permits on ‘other grounds’ are granted in exceptional cases. Other special reasons are required for issuing such permits which are granted very seldom. They cannot be used to get round other actual residence permit grounds.

As this permit is granted only in exceptional cases, a global coronavirus outbreak is not considered an ‘other special reason’ for issuing a temporary residence permit.

I have a certificate for seasonal work in Finland that is expiring soon. Can I stay in Finland?

You cannot stay in Finland without a permit. You can apply for a residence permit for seasonal work or a residence permit for an employed person, depending on the duration of your employment, 

  • if your new seasonal work continues right after the expiry of your certificate for seasonal work; or 
  • you have a new job in Finland.

Apply for a residence permit before your certificate for seasonal work expires. Check that you have the right to work during the processing of the application. 

If you no longer have a job in Finland, you must leave the country when possible.

I have applied for a first residence permit abroad. I’m now visiting Finland. If the decision is made while I’m in Finland, can the decision be served here?

Yes, it is possible. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we can make an exception in your case so that you can get the decision in Finland even if you had submitted your application to a Finnish mission abroad. For more detailed instructions, see the page migri.fi/you-are-in-finland

Can I apply for a temporary residence permit if I cannot leave Finland because of the coronavirus outbreak?

If it is not possible for you to return to your home country or country of permanent residence due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, you can, under certain conditions, apply for a temporary residence permit.

For more information, see the page migri.fi/you-are-not-in-finland.

My family member has refugee status in Finland. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, I cannot visit a Finnish mission to submit my residence permit application within three months of the service of my family member’s asylum decision. Will the income requirement be applied to my application?

The requirement for sufficient financial resources is not applied if the family member who applies for a residence permit submits his or her application within three months of the date on which the family member, who is the sponsor, was served his or her positive asylum decision. We advise you to submit your application in our online service Enter Finland, if possible, and to visit a Finnish mission to prove your identity when it is possible again. The requirement for sufficient financial resources does not apply if the application is submitted online within three months, even if you prove your identity a bit later due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you have not submitted your application within three months of the date on which your family member was served his or her asylum decision, the requirement for sufficient financial resources will be applied by law. In that case, you should attach a document to your application where you explain why you have been unable to submit your application within the time limit of three months. Each application is examined individually and the situation with the pandemic is naturally taken into consideration.

I got a letter from you asking me to book an appointment for my family member’s interview and DNA test at a Finnish mission. However, the mission is closed and they inform that they cannot schedule any appointments for interviews or DNA tests. What should we do? Can we get more time to book an appointment for the interview and the DNA test?

We know that some missions cannot schedule appointments for interviews or DNA tests due to the coronavirus pandemic. The important thing is to contact the mission in question. The mission will tell you what to do next. Your family member’s application can wait for the interview and the DNA analysis. We continue to process the application when the mission has carried out the interview and taken the DNA sample. You do not need to inform us if your family member’s interview or DNA test is delayed.

Updated on 7 May 2020

Residence permit card 

I have been granted a residence permit but I have not received my residence permit card. Will I not get it due to the coronavirus outbreak?

Finnish missions are responsible for card deliveries abroad. Read more at migri.fi/you-are-not-in-finland

In Finland, we continue sending residence permit cards as usual. However, delays are expected due to the current situation with the coronavirus. Please wait patiently for your card to arrive.

Updated on 2 December 2020

Finnish citizenship

I want to apply for Finnish citizenship, but my language proficiency test has been postponed due to changes in the language test schedules. What should I do?

Do not apply for citizenship before you have a language certificate and you meet the requirements for naturalisation. For updates on the schedule for language proficiency tests, please visit the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education

Updated on 3 July 2020

Processing times 

Will the coronavirus outbreak influence the processing times of the Finnish Immigration Service? 

It is very likely.

I have applied for asylum in Finland. Will my decision be delayed because of the coronavirus situation? 

It is possible that there will be delays. We aim to issue decisions normally, but as the situation will delay interviews, hearings and service of decisions, you may have to wait for your decision longer than usual.

Does the coronavirus outbreak affect the processing times for residence permit applications?

Unfortunately, processing times are likely to be longer.

The Finnish Immigration Service is issuing decisions at near-normal rates. However, there are likely to be delays in the postal service.

We cannot currently process or make decisions on applications that require a visit to a Finnish mission. Follow the updates on the situation concerning the missions at the websites um.fi and finlandabroad.fi

Updated on 2 December 2020

Visa 

I am currently visiting my spouse in Finland and cannot return to my home country. My visa is about to run out. Can I apply for a residence permit on the basis of family ties?

If you satisfy the eligibility criteria for a residence permit and wish to apply, you can naturally do so. Your best bet is to apply online at enterfinland.fi.

If you would rather extend your visa, please contact your local police department for information about extending the validity of your visa.

I’m in Finland on a visa. I can’t leave Finland before my visa expires because the flights are cancelled. What should I do?

Please contact your local police department for information about extending the validity of your visa. Visa extension matters are always assessed case by case.  

I have a visa that permits me to spend 90 days each year in Finland. I am now approaching my 90-day limit. What should I do?

Please contact your local police department for information about extending the validity of your visa. Visa extension matters are always assessed case by case.  

Updated on 30 March 2020

Leaving Finland 

I have received a negative residence permit decision and I’m being refused entry to Finland. Today is the last day for me to leave Finland but my flight has been cancelled because of the coronavirus. Can I stay in Finland legally?

The police are responsible for removals from the country and for monitoring of foreign nationals. Contact the local police in your area.

Updated on 25 November 2020

Asylum seekers 

How is the risk of corona infections taken into account with regard to asylum seekers?

The same instructions apply for asylum seekers as for Finns returning from abroad. Everyone coming from abroad must stay in quarantine for 10 days and in serious infections requiring hospital care, the minimum isolation period is 14 days. The reception centres will advise the asylum seekers.

My asylum interview is cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. What should I do?

You do not need to take any action. The Finnish Immigration Service will book you a new appointment as soon as it is possible again. You will receive a new invitation then.

I have not received any information about cancellation of my asylum interview. How do I know if my interview is cancelled?

The Finnish Immigration Service notifies the reception centre separately of each cancellation. Your reception centre will notify you if your asylum interview, service of asylum decision or other meeting at the Finnish Immigration Service is cancelled.

Which decisions will be interpreted when you are notified about them by phone or via a video connection?

The decisions that the Finnish Immigration Service would normally tell you about at the offices of the Finnish Immigration Service. Adult asylum seekers as well as minor asylum seekers unaccompanied by a guardian are, together with their representatives, notified about such decisions.

How will the Finnish Immigration Service notify me about the decision?

If the asylum decision can be sent to you by post and if it is not necessary to reserve an interpreter for the notification, you will only be notified by post, as usual. The decision will be sent with an advice of receipt.

If you are notified about the decision by phone or via a video connection, the Finnish Immigration Service and the reception centre will agree on a time for the meeting, where the decision will be interpreted to you. An employee of the reception centre will tell you the time when we will contact you. After that, the decision will be sent to you by post with an advice of receipt. Read more on the web page migri.fi/en/you-are-in-finland

How will the decision be interpreted to me?

An interpreter will interpret our discussion either by phone or via a video connection. 

When I am told about the decision, how do I know that the caller is from the Finnish Immigration Service?

The reception centre will tell you when and how we will contact you. An interpreter will interpret our entire discussion.

Will I get a copy of the decision for myself after the call?

We will send you the decision by post after you have been told about it by phone or via a video connection. The decision will be sent with an advice of receipt. 

How does being notified about the decision by phone or via a video connection affect my ability to appeal the decision?

You have the same right to appeal the decision as usual. You will receive instructions on how to appeal with the decision. 

Will the date of service be calculated from the time when I was told about the decision by phone or via a video connection?

No. The decision will be sent to you by post. The appeal period is calculated from the date when you have received the decision by post. 

Can the Finnish Immigration Service ask me for information about my asylum application or decision by phone?

We may ask you some questions related to confirming your identity at the start of the call. However, we will never ask you information about the grounds for your asylum application or decision by phone.

I was only notified about the decision by post. Will the Finnish Immigration Service still call me?

No. If the asylum decision can be sent to you by post and if it is not necessary to reserve an interpreter for the notification, you will only be notified by post.

I have applied for assisted voluntary return. What happens now, as I cannot return?

Those who are accommodated in reception centres may apply for assisted voluntary return at their reception centres as usual. The return will be arranged once there are again flights.

Where can I get information about voluntary return?

If you want to know more about voluntary return, call the number +358 295 433 348 from Monday to Friday at 9.00–11.00. 

You can also send your questions to us using WhatsApp (+358 50 413 8625) or by email ([email protected]). We will answer your questions in Finnish or in English. 

You can also book a personal appointment with us and with an interpreter.

Can I come to Finland and apply for asylum?

Yes, you can. Persons applying for asylum are allowed to come to Finland. Tell the border control authorities immediately that you wish to seek asylum. To apply for asylum in Finland, you must talk to a police or a border control official in person.

Updated on 24 March 2020

Telephone service 


Why doesn’t your customer service answer my calls?

At the moment, our telephone service is very busy answering questions about the coronavirus situation.