Registering an EU citizen's right of residence

Frequently asked questions

 


Brexit terminology

For more terms used by the Finnish Immigration Service on the website and their definitions, please visit migri.fi/en/glossary.

What is the transition period? 

Once the UK left the European Union, it became what is known as a ‘third country’, and its citizens became ‘third-country nationals’. The withdrawal agreement entered into force on 1 February 2020. This initiated the transition period, lasting until 31 December 2020, during which the Union’s rules on freedom of movement continue to apply to UK citizens just like before Brexit. 

What is the application period?

The application period is the time from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021, during which UK citizens may apply to have their registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence converted to right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. 

What is a third-country national?

A third-country national is a citizen of a country that does not belong to the European Union. They must have a residence permit to stay in Finland for more than 90 days. 

Applying for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement

I am British and will be arriving in Finland in December 2020. I have not registered my EU citizen’s right of residence in Finland, and I have not previously lived in Finland. What kind of a residence permit should I apply for?

You must apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement if you arrive in Finland before the end of the transition period on Thursday 31 December 2020 and if you intend to continue living in Finland after the end of the transition period. If you arrive in Finland for the first time after the transition period has ended, i.e. on or after 1 January 2021, you can no longer apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. You will have to a apply for a residence permit as a person arriving from outside the EU. For instructions on how to apply for a residence permit, see migri.fi/residence-permit.

I am a UK citizen and have already registered my right of residence in Finland. I have understood that I do not need to do anything more. 

Actually, yes – you do. You must apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement or right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement if you wish to stay in Finland beyond the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. 

Previously, your right to residence in Finland was based on the freedom of movement of EU citizens. As the UK has now left the European Union, you are no longer an EU citizen. After the entry of the withdrawal agreement into force and until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, UK citizens will be treated as if they are EU citizens. Thereafter, the freedom of movement within the EU shall no longer apply to UK citizens. 

If you are granted right of residence under the withdrawal agreement in Finland, you will be issued a residence permit card to certify your right of residence.

I am applying for right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement. According to the application, I am required to have resided legally in Finland for five years. What does ‘legally’ mean?

In this context, residing legally means that you have not posed a threat to public order or security and, on the other hand, you have resided in Finland for a continuous period of five years as per the requirements laid down in the Citizens’ Rights Directive, i.e. that you have resided in Finland as an employee, a self-employed person, a student or a family member, or alternatively that you have had sufficient means to provide for yourself and your family whilst residing in Finland, and your livelihood in Finland does not depend solely on income support or other similar benefits.

The police / Finnish Immigration Service have issued a certificate of an EU citizen’s right of permanent residence to me. Do I need to do anything more?

Apply to change your status to right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement, free of charge. You will then be issued with a residence permit card certifying your right of permanent residence. With the residence permit card you can prove your right of residence in Finland based on the withdrawal agreement.

I will arrive in Finland on 31 December 2020. My intention is to settle permanently in Finland. I have savings in my bank account, allowing me to provide for myself. Can I apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement on 31 December 2020, even though I will not be able to identify myself at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service until Monday 4 January 2021? 

Yes, you can apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement in the Enter Finland online service on Thursday 31 December 2020 if you are permanently resident in Finland before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) and continue to reside in Finland after the end of the transition period (1 January 2021). If you intend to apply for right of residence with an application on paper, you must book an appointment in person at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service no later than 31 December 2020. 

My UK passport is not currently valid. However, I have a Finnish ID card issued to me. Can I apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement by presenting an ID card, KELA card or driver’s licence issued in Finland?

No, you cannot. You must present a valid travel document issued by the UK to you when applying for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. A UK citizen may present a valid passport or ID card issued by the UK. If you do not have a currently valid travel document, you must apply to the UK authorities for one as soon as possible.

Why has my application still not been processed, even though I submitted it in Enter Finland three months ago? 

Have you already booked an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service or, if abroad, at a Finnish mission or an application centre of an external service provider? We cannot process your application until you have presented yourself at a service point to confirm your identity, have your fingerprints taken and show the original documents needed for your application. 

I will arrive in Finland on 1 January 2021. My intention is to settle permanently in Finland. I have savings in my bank account, allowing me to provide for myself. Can I apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement on 31 December 2020, even though I am not yet resident in Finland and will not be able to identify myself at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service until Monday 4 January 2021?

No, you cannot. You will not have been permanently resident in Finland before the end of the transition period. The rights guaranteed in the withdrawal agreement will not apply to you. You may apply for a residence permit under the same terms and conditions as all other persons arriving from outside the European Union.  

Can I visit a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service without booking an appointment?

No, you cannot. You must book an appointment to visit a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service. See the customer bulletins of the Finnish Immigration Service at migri.fi/customer-bulletins. You can apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021. Family members of UK citizens may also apply for right of residence after the end of the application period (30 September 2021). If you are abroad, visit the finlandabroad.fi website to find the contact information for your nearest Finnish mission or application centre of an external service provider.

I live in Helsinki. Can I go to International House Helsinki to deal with Brexit matters and to apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement? 

No, you cannot. International House Helsinki (IHH) caters to registration of EU citizens. Right of residence under the withdrawal agreement is a different type of permit. You must have your fingerprints taken when applying for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, and for technical reasons this cannot be done at IHH.

I have only just relocated to Finland, and I understood that I could expedite the processing of my case by phoning the Finnish Immigration Service helpline. 

You cannot expedite the processing of your application by calling our helpline. What you can do to streamline your application is to fill in all the details carefully in the Enter Finland online service. For instructions on how to apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, visit www.migri.fi/brexit. 

Isn’t the registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence the same thing as right of residence under the withdrawal agreement?

No, they are not the same thing. The registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence, right of residence under the withdrawal agreement and a residence permit are three different types of permit and are subject to different rules. The requirements for applying for and granting these permits also differ.

What if I was not granted registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence before the beginning of the application period (1 October 2020)? Can I reapply?

If your application has been rejected, you may appeal to the Administrative Court. Directions for appeal were appended to the decision given to you. If your application was rejected but you have now found employment, for instance, i.e. you now comply with the requirements for right of residence, you can apply directly for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement as of 1 October 2020 and by 30 September 2021 . In order for you to be granted right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, you must be resident in Finland and must fulfil the requirements for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. For more on the requirements for right of residence and how to apply, visit migri.fi/brexit

My EU citizen’s right of residence has already been registered in Finland, and I wish to apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. What do I do if I cannot manage to book an appointment at a service point?

Just wait until appointments become available. The Finnish Immigration Service has allocated appointment times specifically for applications for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. Not all these appointment times will be made available at once: more will be posted later. There may also be cancellations. You can see all available appointment times in the booking system. Please also follow our customer bulletins. You cannot visit a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service without booking an appointment. If you are abroad, visit finlandabroad.fi to find the contact information for your nearest Finnish mission or application centre of an external service provider.

You can apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021. Because you have a year within which to apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, your matter is not urgent, and therefore you cannot visit a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service by just turning up and taking a waiting number. Also, Finnish Immigration Service employees on the helpline cannot book an appointment for you. In other words, you cannot book an appointment by phoning the Finnish Immigration Service helpline or by contacting us by email.

If you are abroad, visit finlandabroad.fi to find the contact information for your nearest Finnish mission or application centre of an external service provider.

I will arrive in Finland on 1 October 2020. Can I apply both for registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence and for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement during the same visit, before the end of this year? 

No, you cannot. You do not need to apply for registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence. You can apply directly for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. 

I have been resident in Finland since 2001 and have a spouse and three children here. I registered my EU citizen’s right of residence at a local register office in 2001. What do I need to do to convert my right of residence to a right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement?

Check with the Finnish Immigration Service to see whether your registration is valid. It is possible that you have registered your address with a local register office that has then entered your domicile and permanent address into the Population Information System. However, local register offices do not and never have handled registrations of an EU citizen’s right of residence. Up until 2017, registrations of an EU citizen’s right of residence were processed by the Police. The Police were also responsible for issuing certificates for an EU citizen’s right of residence up until 2017. 

Since 2017, the Finnish Immigration Service has handled these registrations and certificates. If you have never registered your EU citizen’s right of residence with the police or with the Finnish Immigration Service, then contact the Finnish Immigration Service by email immediately to find out whether your right of residence has been registered. Then, apply for right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement from 1 October 2020 by a separate application.

I have a permanent residence permit, and I have had a sticker in my passport. My passport expired in 2016, and I have not received a new sticker. I was previously informed that I do not need to apply to the Finnish Immigration Service for any further permits. 

Some UK citizens who relocated to Finland before the entry into force of the current freedom of movement rules on 29 April 2004 may still have a residence permit issued pursuant to the Aliens Act, as at the time it was not converted to a certificate of the registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence. 

You may also have a permanent residence permit. You may have a sticker in your passport to show that you have a permanent residence permit. The passport sticker was replaced with the residence permit card in 2012. You should have either applied for registration of your EU citizen’s right of residence or renewed your residence permit card when your passport expired.

Apply for changing your permanent residence permit into a right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement, free of charge. For instructions on how to apply, visit migri.fi/en/changing-status-of-right-of-permanent-residence

I have lived in Finland for five years. Don’t I already have permanent resident status by law? Your website says I do. 

UK citizens who have not previously applied to register their EU citizen’s right of residence must apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement or right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement. For those who already have a certificate of registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence, converting this to right of residence under the withdrawal agreement is free of charge.

An EU citizen who has resided legally in Finland for a continuous period of five years is entitled to right of permanent residence. Applying for a such a certificate is voluntary for EU citizens; they automatically have right of permanent residence even if they do not apply for the certificate if they fulfil the requirements for continuous and legal residence. Since the UK has left the European Union, UK citizens are no longer EU citizens, and the freedom of movement rules do not apply to them. 

I am a UK citizen, and I have registered my EU citizen’s right of residence in Finland. I am going to work abroad for a fixed term and will return to Finland next year (2021). I do not have time to apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. What should I do? Do I need to come to Finland in order to apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement?

If you wish to continue to reside in Finland, you must apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement during the application period, 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021. If you are temporarily living outside Finland, you can apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement while outside Finland. In this case, submit your application to a Finnish mission or an application centre of an external service provider. For particularly weighty reasons, you may apply for right of residence even after the application period has ended. In that case, you must justifiably explain why you were not able to apply for right of residence during the application period.  The Finnish Immigration Service will evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, whether your explanation for a delayed application for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement is acceptable. 

Do I need to have a certificate of my EU citizen’s right of permanent residence before I can apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement?

No. You can apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement if you are permanently resident in Finland before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) and continue to reside in Finland after the end of the transition period (1 January 2020). If you have already been issued a certificate of an EU citizen’s right of permanent residence, apply to change your certificate for a right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement, free of charge. You will then be issued with a residence permit card that proves your right of residence in Finland. 

I am a UK citizen, and I have registered my EU citizen’s right of residence in Finland. Under the withdrawal agreement, the right of UK citizens to freedom of movement will end when the transition period ends, on 1 January 2021. If I do not apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement until July 2021, will I have been residing legally in Finland between 1 January 2021 and 1 July 2021? What would be the basis of my right of residence in Finland during that period?

If you are a UK citizen and you have registered your EU citizen’s right of residence in Finland, you and your family members will be legally resident in Finland during the application period, 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021. Your residence will be legal after the transition period until your right of residence under the withdrawal agreement is granted or until you have received a legally valid decision to your application. However, if you do not apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement by 30 September 2021, thereafter you will no longer be resident legally in Finland.

Freedom of movement under EU rules as guaranteed by the withdrawal agreement will cease to apply to UK citizens and their family members when the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. After the transition period, their residence in Finland is based not on freedom of movement but on right of residence granted on the basis of EU law, whether granted previously or applied for before the end of the transition period, or on right of residence under the withdrawal agreement.
When you apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, you will be given a certificate of your pending application. 

I am applying for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. Do I have the right to work or study in Finland after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020?

You will continue to be allowed to work, operate a business or study in Finland. 

I have been granted right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. The basis for residence given on my application was studying. I have been offered a job. Since the basis for my residence is changing, do I need to reapply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement as an employee?

No. Once right of residence under the withdrawal agreement is granted to a UK citizen, they and their family members do not need to reapply for right of residence if they change jobs, start a business, go from studying to employment, or go from employment to retirement. The right of residence under the withdrawal agreement includes the right to study, the right to work and the right to operate a business.

Residing outside Finland

For how long can I be away from Finland once I have been granted right of residence under the withdrawal agreement? 

You must be permanently resident in Finland in order to be granted right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. Your right of residence may be revoked if you are temporarily absent from Finland for too long.

Also, your period of residence in Finland must be continuous enough to gain you right of permanent residence. The following types of absence are allowed:

  • temporary absences that do not exceed six months per year
  • longer periods of absence on the account of completing military service
  • a single absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months due to an important reason such as:
    • pregnancy and childbirth
    • serious illness
    • academic studies or vocational education
    • transfer to another EU Member State or a third country for a work-related assignment.

The rights granted under right of residence under the withdrawal agreement will be yours in perpetuity, unless you cease to fulfil the relevant requirements. If you reside continuously outside Finland for more than five years, your right of permanent residence will be revoked.  

Can I reside and work in other EU Member States once I have been granted right of residence under the withdrawal agreement in Finland?

The right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, including the right to employment, is only valid in Finland. Freedom of movement will not apply to UK citizens after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. You may freely move within the Schengen area by displaying a passport and your right of residence certificate for a maximum period of 90 days within any continuous period of 180 days, but you will no longer have the right pursuant to EU law or your right of residence under the withdrawal agreement to live and work in another EU Member State. After 1 January 2021, please consult the authorities of the country to which you wish to relocate concerning residence permits.

I have not yet resided in Finland for five years. I am temporarily moving away from Finland for work. Can I still get right of permanent residence after the transition period ends? In what way? How long can I stay abroad until it will no longer be possible for me to get right of permanent residence?

If you fulfil the requirements for right of permanent residence, you may apply for right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. If you have not yet resided in Finland for five years by the end of the transition period, you can still accumulate this time after the end of the transition period and obtain your right of permanent residence later.

In order for you to be granted the right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement, you must have had a legal basis for residing in Finland for a period of five years: you must have been an employee, self-employed person, family member or student while residing in Finland. If none of the above apply to you, then you are required to have had sufficient means to provide for yourself and your family members. There is no specific sum of money that you are required to have had, but you must have had enough to be able to live on your own funds. This means that your livelihood has not been primarily based on income support or other similar benefits. Individual circumstances will be considered in the assessment of the income level. In order to gain the right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement, you must prove with documents that you have been legally residing in Finland for at least five years. The grounds for your residence in Finland may have changed over the period of five years. For instructions on how to apply, visit migri.fi/application-for-right-of-permanent-residence

In some cases, you may reside abroad temporarily without interrupting the accumulation of your period of continuous residence in Finland. The following types of absence are allowed:

  • temporary absences that do not exceed six months per year
  • longer periods of absence on the account of completing military service
  • a single absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months due to an important reason such as:
    • pregnancy and childbirth
    • serious illness
    • academic studies or vocational education
    • transfer to another EU Member State or a third country for a work-related assignment.

You are required to have had grounds for your residence in Finland for the entire duration of the five-year period. 

Temporary absences do not impact the continuity of the five-year residence period if they do not exceed six months in any one year; nor does a longer absence for the completion of military service or one absence of no more than twelve months that is accounted to an important reason, such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, academic studies or vocational training, or being posted to another EU country or a third country on a work-related assignment. 

I travelled to the UK on 31 August 2020. I would like to return to Finland. Does it matter whether I return to Finland before 31 December 2020 or in April 2021? 

Depending on your specific situation, the time of your return to Finland may be relevant. If you were permanently resident in Finland before 31 December 2020, you can return to Finland in April 2021 and apply then for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. You may apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement until 30 September 2021, the end of the application period. By contrast, if you do not return to Finland until April 2021, you cannot apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, because this would only be possible until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020; instead, you must apply for a residence permit like any other third-country national. 

I am a British citizen. I live in Haparanda in Sweden but I work in Tornio in Finland. Can I continue working in Finland after the transition period? 

Yes, you can. The withdrawal agreement protects also frontier workers. A frontier worker works, or pursues activities as a self-employed person, in an EU Member State but lives in another EU Member State to which he or she returns usually daily or at least once a week. You can continue working in Tornio although you live in Haparanda. You can apply for a document under the withdrawal agreement certifying that you are a frontier worker protected by the withdrawal agreement. Submit the application to the Finnish Immigration Service. When you have the document, travelling to Finland, working in Finland and returning to Sweden will be easier for you. 

Permanent residence permit card under the withdrawal agreement

I have a certificate of an EU citizen’s right of permanent residence and may thus apply to convert my certificate to right of permanent residence under the withdrawal agreement, free of charge. However, according to the Finnish Immigration Service website the residence permit card is only valid for five years. If I have a permanent residence permit card under the withdrawal agreement, does that not mean that my residence permit card is valid indefinitely?

Even if you have right of permanent residence, the residence permit card certifying this is itself only valid for five years at a time. The residence permit card contains a chip in which biometric identifiers are stored. Biometric identifiers recorded on the residence permit card chip will include a facial image and two fingerprints. To guarantee the data security of the card chip, the residence permit card must be replaced every five years.

Family members

I am a UK citizen. My spouse is a third-country national resident abroad and will not be able to come to Finland before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. We were married in 2007. Can my spouse apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement after 31 December 2020? What needs to be done?

Your family members may apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 and even after the end of the application period on 30 September 2021 if:

  • you are a UK citizen and you have been granted right of residence under the withdrawal agreement in Finland;
  • you were resident in Finland before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 and continue to be resident in Finland thereafter.

Your family members may also apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement while they are abroad. In this case, their applications must be submitted to a Finnish mission or an application centre of an external service provider. 

The withdrawal agreement does not cover ‘future spouses’, i.e. cases where a marriage or registered partnership is established after the transition period, i.e. after 31 December 2020. This means that provisions for third-country nationals will apply regarding their entry into the country and residence, i.e. they must apply for a residence permit.

I am a UK citizen and met my spouse in April 2019. My spouse is not an EU citizen. We lived in separate countries while we were dating, i.e. we were in a long-distance relationship. We will marry on 1 March 2021, after which my spouse will come to live with me in Finland. Can my spouse apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement as my family member at that time?

No. You will not have lived together for two years by then, and you will not have been married before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. The withdrawal agreement does not cover ‘future spouses’, i.e. cases where a marriage or registered partnership is established after the transition period, i.e. after 31 December 2020. This means that provisions for third-country nationals will apply regarding their entry into the country and residence, meaning that your spouse will have to apply for a residence permit.

I am a UK citizen, and I have registered my EU citizen’s right of residence in Finland. I am pregnant, and my child will be born after the end of the transition period, in April 2021. Can I apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement for my child?

Yes, you can. Under certain conditions, the withdrawal agreement covers children born or legally adopted after the end of the transition period, i.e. after 31 December 2020.

I am a UK citizen and have resided in Finland for 2 years. I originally came to Finland because of family ties, my spouse being a UK citizen, but we are now getting a divorce. We have two children in Finland. How will Brexit and the divorce affect my residence?

Divorce has no impact on your right of residence. However, any future family members that you may acquire will not be able to apply for right of residence under the withdrawal agreement as your family members, because your right of residence in Finland is based on family ties. 

A family member of mine needs a visa to enter Finland, but I cannot find any information on how to apply for a visa on the Finnish Immigration Service website?

The Finnish Immigration Service does not issue visas, and therefore we do not provide advice on visa applications. For more information on applying for a visa, visit the website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at um.fi/visa-to-visit-finland.

I am a British citizen. I am married to a Finnish citizen. I am not an employee, a self-employed person or a student, and I do not have sufficient financial resources to support myself and my family members. I started dating my spouse, who is a Finnish citizen, when we were living in Spain, where we were working for the same employer. Which permit should I apply for?

You  do not have independent grounds for a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. This means that you cannot apply for a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement.

If your spouse, who is a Finnish citizen, lived in Spain, which is another EU Member State, for more than three months and the relationship that led to you becoming family members started during that time, he or she has exercised his or her right of free movement. In this case, you can apply for a residence card for a family member of an EU citizen

If your spouse, who is a Finnish citizen, lived in Spain for less than three months, he or she has not exercised his or her right of free movement. In this case, you can apply for a residence permit as a spouse of a Finnish citizen.
 

Citizenship of another EU Member State

I am British and have been granted the citizenship of another EU Member State, Ireland. Can the Finnish Immigration Service update the Population Information System to show that I am a citizen of another EU Member State?

No. You must yourself update your citizenship details in the Population Information System and book an appointment with the Digital and Population Data Services Agency if necessary to take care of the matter. Once your citizenship details have been updated in the Population Information System, you need to notify the Finnish Immigration Service. The Finnish Immigration Service cannot record details of your second EU citizenship unless these details have also been correctly entered into the Population Information System.

How to proceed:

Make sure that your domicile and second nationality have been correctly entered into the Population Information System at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. Then notify the Finnish Immigration Service:

  1. Send us a copy of your passport’s personal identification page by email. We recommend that you use encrypted email: securemail.migri.fi. You can also send the copy by post to: PO Box 10, 00086 Maahanmuuttovirasto, or drop the copy off at our service point.
  2. We will record the details of your other EU citizenship. If you wish to receive written confirmation that you have been registered on the basis of another EU citizenship, you can request a certificate. Certificate requests are subject to a fee. However, we do not require you to have written proof of your registration.