Frequently asked questions: Residence permits in general
- Applications conditions
- Application procedure
- Travelling / residence abroad
- Processing time
- Changing the grounds for application
- Submitting the application
- Extended permits
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.
- Residence permit application
- Registration of an EU citizen
- Residence card of a family member of an EU citizen
May I be granted a residence permit 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.
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 The fee will also not be refunded if the application is withdrawn after the processing has begun.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?
Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay in Finland. First fixed-term residence permits cannot usually be granted for a longer period than the period of validity on your passport.
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.
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, you may, if a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) grants you a visa or if you can return visa-free. Please remember that you will not necessarily be granted a visa for the purpose of returning to Finland.
The Finnish mission decides whether to grant you a visa or not. If the mission does not grant you a visa or you for some other reason are unable to return to Finland, you will be informed of your residence permit decision by the 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.
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 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? How do I do that?
You may change the grounds for your application if you have not yet received a decision on your application.
If you wish to change the grounds for your application to family ties, you need to fill in a new application. Your spouse must fill in the clarification of family ties form. In the field reserved for additional information, state that you are changing the grounds for your application. For further information on submitting an application, see Moving to Finland to be with a family member.
We also recommend withdrawing your earlier application. A new application fee will be charged for the new application on the basis of the grounds for the application. Do not delay the application. If a decision is made on your old application before you initiate your new application, the new application will be placed last in the processing queue
If you wish, you may stay in Finland with a residence permit granted on the grounds of work and apply later for a permit extension on the grounds of marriage. Please note that the residence permit type (A or B permit) makes a difference when you are applying for a permanent residence permit. A permanent residence permit may be granted after you have stayed in Finland with a continuous residence permit (A permit) for four years without interruption.
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.
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.
Update concerning the coronavirus, 3 July 2020: The Finnish missions have been temporarily closed. Follow the current situation at the Finnish missions on the websites of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, UM.fi and finlandabroad.fi.
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. Normally, you are required to visit a service point to prove your identity within three months of the date when you submitted your application. Exception due to the coronavirus, updated on 29 September 2020: Due to the coronavirus situation, the time limit for proving your identity has been extended for the time being until 31 December 2021. If needed, the time limit will be revised later. Follow our customer bulletins.
We cannot start processing your application before you have proved your identity.