Moving to Finland to be with a family member

If you have a family member who lives in Finland and you want to move in to live with him or her, you need a residence permit on the basis of family ties. If you do not have a residence permit, you can visit Finland and stay for a maximum of 90 days. For a visit, you usually need a visa.

Your family member who lives in Finland is called a ‘sponsor’. The sponsor cannot apply for a residence permit on your behalf. You need to do it yourself.

A requirement for getting a residence permit is that you must lead a family life with the sponsor.

All relatives cannot act as sponsors, as the Finnish law defines the persons considered to be family members. The concept of family is narrower in Finland than in many other countries.

These are the family members of a Finnish citizen and a foreign national who is not an EU citizen:

  • a spouse
  • a registered partner
  • a cohabiting partner
  • a guardian of a child under 18 years of age
  • a child

In Finland, a person you are dating is not considered to be your family member. However, the person you are dating may get a residence permit on other grounds.

EU citizens do not need a residence permit in Finland. The legal definition of an EU citizen’s family members is also different. Read more on the page EU registration.

Your residence permit depends on your family ties

When you apply for a residence permit on the basis of family ties, the application you should use depends on the following facts:

  • Your relationship to the sponsor – is he or she for example your spouse or your child?
  • Is the sponsor a Finnish citizen, does he or she have a residence permit in Finland, or has he or she been granted asylum in Finland?

Read more about the requirements for getting a residence permit, and find out what you should do, on the specific page of each application. If you are not sure what application form you should use, use the Application Finder to find out.

In most cases, you must have secure means of support

‘Secure means of support’ means that you have sufficient funds for you and your family to live in Finland. Your income can come for example from employment, a private enterprise, assets or pensions.

The required amount of income depends on the size of your family. Not everyone who applies for a residence permit on the basis of family ties is required to have secure means of support. Read more on the page Income requirement.

Changes in your family ties

If your family ties change during your application process, tell the Finnish Immigration Service about the changes. Changes in family ties include:

  • birth of a child
  • changes in a child’s custody
  • marriage
  • divorce
  • death of a family member

See the page Changes in your family ties.

You are allowed to work if you have a residence permit on the basis of family ties

If you have been granted a residence permit on the basis of family ties, your right to work and study in Finland is not limited in any way. If your residence permit was granted to you on the basis of your dating relationship, you may work under certain conditions. Read more on the page Right to work.

Application process when you are applying for your first residence permit on the basis of family ties