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Frequently asked questions: Residence permits in general

Application conditions

I wish to move to Finland. May a foreigner who is not an EU citizen or equivalent move to Finland?

To be allowed to move to Finland for longer than 90 days, you need a residence permit. A residence permit may be granted on certain grounds.

Select the right application from the list below. If you are not sure what application form you should use, use the Application Finder to find out.

May I be granted a residence permit or a citizenship on the grounds of owning land in Finland?

No. Owning land, property, or shares in a housing company in Finland is not sufficient grounds for being granted a residence permit or a citizenship.

Application procedure

For how long a period may I be granted a Finnish residence permit?

The purpose of your residence in Finland has an effect on what type of residence permit you may be granted and for how long.

What does applying for a residence permit cost?

For the fees currently charged for the processing of residence permit applications, see Processing fees and payment methods.

The fee will not be refunded even if your application is rejected. The fee will also not be refunded if the application is withdrawn after the processing has begun.

What should I do to prevent my residence permit from being cancelled while I am away from Finland?

Your fixed-period or temporary residence permit will be cancelled if

  • you move from Finland permanently
  • you otherwise reside outside Finland for a permanent purpose for two years uninterrupted.

Working abroad for at least two years is not considered a continuous residence that leads to the cancellation of your residence permit if you were sent there by a Finnish employer and are working for this employer on secondment while you are abroad.

If you are planning to move from Finland, for example, to work or study abroad for at least two years, you should send an application to the Finnish Immigration Service to prevent the cancellation of your residence permit. You must submit the application before you have stayed abroad for two years.

Fill in the form OLE_PER. You can find more information on the subject on page Cancellation of a permit.

May I wait for the decision on my resident permit application in Finland?

When you submit your application to a Finnish embassy, you may visit Finland during the time your application is pending, but you must return to your home country when your visa or visa-free period expires

If you submit your application to the Finnish Immigration Service, you may reside in Finland while your application is pending, even if your visa or visa-free period expires during this time. If you are not granted a residence permit, you may be refused entry to Finland.

I have applied for a residence permit in a Finnish embassy abroad. If I am granted a residence permit, can receive the decision and the residence permit card in Finland? Or in another Finnish embassy?

You cannot receive the decision and the residence permit card in Finland. You must wait for the decision abroad. If you wish to change your service point abroad, you must contact the embassies concerned, in order to do this.

For how long does my passport need to be valid?

You may be granted a residence permit, if you have a valid passport. If your passport expires while the residence permit is valid, remember to renew it early enough. Your residence permit may be withdrawn if you don’t have a valid passport while residing in Finland.

My citizenship application is pending and my passport/residence permit is expiring soon. What should I do?

You have to renew your passport and residence permit normally. The expiration of a passport or of a residence permit is not a ground for expediting a citizenship application.

Travelling / residence abroad

Can I travel with a Finnish residence permit in Europe (Schengen area) before entering Finland for the first time?

Yes, you are allowed to stay a maximum of 90 days at a time in the Schengen area using a residence permit granted by Finland, including before you enter Finland for the first time. You will not need a separate visa. The ninety days time limit concerns the total time spent in the Schengen area, not an individual country

I have a continuous residence permit that will expire during a holiday trip I am planning. Will this cause me problems?

You should apply for an extended permit before the validity of your previous residence permit expires. Please submit your application in good time, so that you can make arrangements for your trip and make sure that your permit does not expire while you are away.

You can only apply for an extended permit in Finland. If you submit your residence permit application abroad at a Finnish mission, it will be processed as a new application for a first residence permit. If you are required to have a visa, it is possible that you will not be issued a visa to return to Finland. The Finnish mission makes the decision to grant a visa.

I would like to travel in Finland for a short time after the expiry of my residence permit. Should I apply for a new permit or what should I do?

If you are a foreign national free of visa you may stay in Finland and Schengen area for a maximum period of 90 days. Other foreign nationals must leave Finland when the residence permit expires. Residence permits cannot be granted for holiday travel.

I have submitted an application for a residence permit in Finland. May I leave Finland and then return to Finland to await my decision?

Yes, if you are able to return to Finland without a visa or if you have a valid visa that enables several arrivals in the Schengen area. 

If you are unable to return to Finland, you will be informed of your residence permit decision by a Finnish mission. 

I have applied for a residence permit but I have not yet received a decision. I will soon be travelling abroad for a holiday. Can I speed up the processing of my application?

No. A trip or a family visit abroad is not a well-founded reason for expediting an application. Read more about expedited processing

Processing time

How can I expedite the processing of my residence permit application?

Fill in all the required information on the application form carefully and append any required appendices. Providing insufficient information slows the processing of your application because additional clarification is required from you. Giving insufficient information may also lead to an unfavourable decision.

Telephone enquiries and visits to any of the service points do no expedite the processing of your case. We will contact you if additional information is required. Processing situations for applications and the average processing times can be found on the Processing times page.

I have applied for a permanent residence permit but I have heard that it would go faster to get an extended permit. Can I apply for an extended permit (an A permit) even if I already have applied for a permanent permit?

The processing times of applications for permanent permits and extended permits are different. You can apply for an extended permit even if you already have applied for a permanent permit. In that case, you do not need to cancel your application for a permanent permit. Cancelling your application for a permanent permit may result in a gap between your residence permits. That is why it is advisable to wait until decisions on both applications are ready. If a permanent residence permit is then granted, you can cancel your application for an extended permit after that.

Changing the grounds for application

I have applied for a residence permit on the grounds of work and I have not yet received a decision. I just got married. Do I need to fill in a new application?

You do not need to fill in a new application, unless you wish to change the grounds for your residence permit application. You must, however, inform the Finnish Immigration Service of your marriage. This is especially important if you are changing your name

Send a certified copy of your marriage certificate to the Finnish Immigration Service, either directly or via a Finnish embassy. Certificates issued by authorities of countries other than Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark or Iceland must be legalised. If the certificate is not in Finnish, Swedish, or English, please also send a translation of the certificate in one of these languages, certified by an authorised translator.

I have applied for a residence permit on the grounds of work and I just got married. May I change the grounds for my application?

No, you may not. If you wish to change the grounds for your application, you must submit a new application on the basis of marriage. Read more about issuing a residence permit on the basis of marriage.

If you apply for a permit on new grounds, you must pay the processing fee for the application and visit a Finnish mission abroad or a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service in Finland to prove your identity. When you apply for a permit on new grounds, the processing time starts to run again from the beginning. The processing time depends on the type of your application.

Remember to cancel your previous application if you wish to apply for a permit only on your new grounds.

I have applied for a residence permit on the basis of an established intimate relationship. After submitting the application, I have married my partner. Can I change the grounds for my application?

You can change the grounds for your application if you have applied for a residence permit on the basis of an established intimate relationship and 

  • you have married the same partner
  • you have lived together for at least two years or 
  • you live together and have a child in your joint custody. 

Send your marriage certificate, evidence on living together or evidence on the custody of your child to the Finnish Immigration Service. We will then assess whether you meet the requirements for a permit on the basis of marriage or cohabitation.

Submitting the application

 Can I submit my application by post?

No, you cannot. The application must be submitted in person. Submit your application at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) abroad before coming to Finland. If you are already in Finland, submit your application at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

How do I book an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service?

Book an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service in advance in our appointment system. Fill in the application form in the e-service Enter Finland or fill in a paper form before visiting the service point.

Extended permits

I am abroad, and cannot come to Finland to apply for an extended permit. What should I do?

You can only apply for an extended permit if you are in Finland.

If you submit your application for a residence permit abroad and visit a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) to prove your identity, your application will be processed as a first residence permit application. The fee charged is the processing fee for a first residence permit application.

You will find more information about applying for an extended permit on the page migri.fi/extended-permit.

I have submitted an application for an extended permit in the online service Enter Finland before my current residence permit has expired. I am not able to book an appointment at a service point before my current residence permit expires. Can I wait for the decision in Finland?

You can wait for your decision in Finland. 

You have submitted your application in Enter Finland before the expiration of your current residence permit, which means that you have applied for an extended permit in time. 

You still need to prove your identity in order for us to be able to start processing your application for an extended permit. 

Book an appointment at one of our service points in our appointment system as soon as there are available appointment times. You are required to visit a service point to prove your identity within three months of the date when you submitted your application.

We cannot start processing your application before you have proved your identity.

Changes in the Alien act 23.2.2023

I submitted my application before the legislative amendments entered into force, and the application is still waiting to be processed. How do the amendments affect the processing of my application?

The amendments to the Aliens Act are not subject to a transition period, which means that your application will be processed in accordance with the new rules as soon as they enter into force. See the web pages concerning the type of application you submitted for information about how the requirements for granting the permit have changed. 

If you notice that important information is missing, you can supplement your application with additional information. If you submitted your application using the Enter Finland online service, you can add information and attachments by selecting ‘send additional information’. If you applied for a residence permit using a paper form, you can send us additional information by email to migri@migri.fi. If more information is needed for your application, we will also send you a request for additional information. This will extend the processing time of your application.

If you have applied for a residence permit using the application for an employed person, specialist, the EU Blue Card, athlete, person with a degree or research completed in Finland, or other employment, and meet the requirements for the residence permit based on your application documents, the Finnish Immigration Service will grant you the permit without additional steps. In other cases, we will contact you or your employer.

What happens if my application, which is already pending, does not meet the requirements set in the new law?

If you have, for example, 

  • applied for a  residence permit for a specialist, but your salary no longer meets the criteria set for specialists, or 
  • applied for a residence permit on the basis of other employment as the employee of an association, but do not work in the service of a religious community in a position that involves practising the religion, 

it is possible that you cannot be granted the residence permit for which you have applied. 

In such cases, the Finnish Immigration Service will contact you asking you to change your application and apply instead for a residence permit for an employed person (TTOL), for example. You will also receive instructions on how to pay the difference in the processing fees for the permits. If you do not agree to change your application or pay the difference in the processing fees, we may not be able to grant you a residence permit.

The legal provision printed on my residence permit card regarding the grounds for my right to work does not match the provision in the new law. Do I need to apply for a new residence permit card?

No, you do not. See our work in Finland page for a table of all old legal provisions regarding the right to work. No changes have been made to the actual right to work, and only the legal provisions of the Aliens Act regarding the right to work have changed. You or your employer can use the table to check the new legal provision on the right to work.  

You will receive a new card with the new legal provision printed on it when you apply for 

  • an extended permit, or 
  • a new card after your card expires or goes missing, for example. 

My employer is unable to use the Enter Finland for Employers service. How can the terms of employment be added to my application?

Your employer can complete the ‘Terms of Employment’ paper form (pdf), which you can then attach to your application.

How do I know if there have been changes to my residence permit application?

If you are applying for a residence permit on the basis of work, there may have been certain changes to your application. See the application page of the residence permit for which you are applying to check 

  • the requirements for the residence permit, and
  • the necessary attachments to the application.

Please note that your employer must supplement your application by filling in the terms of employment.

If you have already submitted your residence permit application and notice that information such as the terms of employment is missing, you can add this information to your application. If you submitted your application using the Enter Finland online service, add the missing information by selecting ‘send additional information’. If you applied for the residence permit on paper, you can send us additional information by email to migri@migri.fi.  

I have applied for a residence permit for studies before the changes to the Aliens Act, and my application has not yet been processed. My passport is valid for another two years. Can I be granted a residence permit for the entire duration of my studies, or until the expiry date of my passport?

You can be granted a residence permit for the entire duration of your studies. Make sure that you renew your passport early enough before it expires, and that you have a valid passport while you are in Finland. 

I have completed a degree in Finland and started a company. Which permit should I apply for?

You should apply for the residence permit for persons with a degree completed in Finland.

I sent my residence permit application on the basis of work before the law was amended on 23 February 2023. According to the new law, the processing time is two months. Will my application be processed within two months in accordance with the new law?

If your application was sent before 23 February 2023 and it included all the necessary information and attachments, the decision must be made within four months by law. If your application, including all the necessary information and attachments, was sent on 23 February 2023 or later, the decision must be made within two months by law. 

However, the expected processing times for applications may vary, as applications are not comparable. The processing time depends, among other things, on how much time examining the matter requires, whether other authorities take part in the decision-making and whether additional information must be requested for processing the application.

Note also that your employer must add the terms of employment to your application and you must prove your identity.

For more information, see the pages Processing times and What affects the processing time of your application?

Post-decision monitoring of residence permits

 

How does the Finnish Immigration Service know how I earn my income?

We may conduct register checks in different national registers. Information on the salaries and benefits paid to you comes from, among other sources, the Incomes Register. You can read more about the Incomes Register on the website of the Finnish Tax Administration: Incomes Register (vero.fi).

How does the Finnish Immigration Service know if I have committed crimes in Finland?

We may conduct register checks in different national registers. Information on fines and prison sentences in Finland comes from the Legal Register Centre. You can read more about the register on the website of the Legal Register Centre: www.oikeusrekisterikeskus.fi.

I have a residence permit for studies. How does the Finnish Immigration Service know the status of my studies?

We can, for instance, check the status of your studies using the Koski register (oph.fi)

I have a residence permit for a startup entrepreneur. Setting up a company has taken longer than expected, and my business is not in operation yet. Will I lose my residence permit?

If you have moved to Finland but your company is not in operation, we will ask you about it. In your reply, you can explain your situation and your plans. We will then make an overall assessment of your situation.

I have a permanent residence permit in Finland but I had to travel to my home country and stay there a long time for personal reasons. Will I lose my residence permit?

If you are temporarily residing outside Finland for special and exceptional reasons, there is an application that you can file to prevent the withdrawal of your residence permit. Please read more here: Withdrawal of residence permits