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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.

Before applying, watch our webinar on applying for a residence permit on the basis of family ties. The topics covered in the webinar include residence permit applications, income requirement and extended permits.

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.

My spouse is applying via the fast-track service

If your spouse is applying for a residence permit via the fast-track service and you apply at the same time, you can get a residence permit in two weeks. Your spouse can submit a fast-track application, if he or she is applying for

  • a residence permit for a specialist
  • an intra-corporate transferee permit (‘ICT residence permit’) as a specialist or a manager
  • a residence permit for work in the top or middle management of a company
  • an EU Blue Card or
  • a residence permit for a start-up entrepreneur.

Choose the correct application on the basis of family ties. When your spouse has submitted his or her application, you will receive an email containing a fast track ID number that you should add to your application. You must submit your application within two days after your spouse submits his or her application.

Fast-track applications can be submitted only in the online service Enter Finland. For more information, see the page Fast track.

In most cases, you must have sufficient financial resources

‘Sufficient financial resources’ or '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 sufficient financial resources. 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

The D visa allows you to travel to Finland immediately after being issued with a residence permit

You can apply for a D visa if your spouse or your parent or guardian is applying for one of the following residence permits:

In addition, you can apply for a D visa if your family member is already living in Finland and has one of these residence permits.

Prepare for your life in Finland