Role of the sponsor in the permit process

Members of your family are:

  • your spouse or registered partner
  • your cohabiting partner, if you have lived together continuously for two years or have joint custody of a child
  • an unmarried child under 18 years of age who is in your or your spouse’s custody
  • if you are an unmarried child under 18 years of age, your guardians are your family members

Other relatives are not considered family members. Your other relatives can be granted a residence permit only if you are a Finnish citizen or you have a residence permit based on international protection. You can find more information on the pages Other relative of a Finnish citizen and Other relative of a recipient of international protection.

You have received a residence permit on the basis of international protection if you have been granted one of the following:

  • asylum in Finland on the basis of an asylum application or as a quota refugee
  • a residence permit on the basis of subsidiary protection
  • a residence permit on the basis of temporary protection
  • a residence permit prior to 1 June 2009 on the basis of the need for protection

A person you are dating is not a family member. However, the person you are dating can apply for a residence permit on other grounds.

Applying for a residence permit

You cannot apply for a residence permit on behalf of your family member but you can advise him or her on how to apply. You can also help your family member choose the right application form. If your family member sends us the wrong form or does not fill in the right form properly, the handling of the application will slow down.

There are different kinds of forms for applying for a residence permit based on family ties. Your own citizenship or the grounds for your residence permit determine what the right form is. When your family member is applying, you should personally fill in the form for clarification of family ties. Send this form to the applicant so that he or she can attach it to his or her application. Fill in the form in detail. Use full sentences.

The application form lists all the attachments your family member has to have when he or she submits the application. Please remember that the certificates you attach to the application must be legalised if they have been issued by an authority (such as marriage and birth certificates).

Your family member pays the processing fee in the e-service Enter Finland, at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) or the service point of the Finnish Immigration Service, when he or she submits the application. Find out in advance from the mission or the Finnish Immigration Service how to pay the processing fee of a paper application. If your family member does not pay the processing fee, the application will not be processed and it will expire.

The more complete the application is, the faster we can make a decision on it.

You are a Finnish citizen

Your family member can apply for a residence permit in the e-service Enter Finland, at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service in Finland or abroad at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate). The precondition is that you are living in Finland or are moving to Finland together with your family. If you are married or in a registered partnership, the marriage or partnership has to be registered in the Finnish Population Information System. Your family member does not have to have secure means of support.

Your other relatives can apply for a residence permit online in the e-service Enter Finland or by submitting a paper application at a Finnish mission. They also do not have to have secure means of support.

You can find the paper forms for applying for a residence permit here. Your family member fills in the application form for a residence permit. You fill in the form for clarification of family ties. The guardian of an underage child fills in and signs the application on behalf of the child. If the child is already 15 years of age, he or she must also sign the form.

You are an EU-citizen

Your family member who resides in Finland can apply for a residence card for an EU citizen’s family member in the e-service Enter Finland or at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

You have been granted international protection in Finland

Your family member has to apply for a residence permit before moving to Finland at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) in his or her home country or in a country he or she is legally residing with a residence permit or visa. The precondition is that you are living in Finland or are moving to Finland together with your family.

Your family member’s means of support have to be secure. It can be secured with your income from employment, private enterprise or pension, or with your and your family member’s other assets (such as bank deposits or regular income from rentals) which can be accessed from Finland. Your family’s income has to be sufficient so that your family member is not at risk of becoming dependant on income support or some other benefit that secures income. Social security benefits compensating for expenses such as housing allowance, financial aid for students and child benefits are, however, considered to be income.

Your family member is not required to have secure means of support if:

  • you have been granted asylum or you were accepted as a quota refugee before 1 July 2016 and your family has been started (for example you have been married) before you came to Finland. If your family has been started after you came to Finland, your family member has to have secure means of support.
  • you have been granted asylum on or after 1 July 2016 and your family has been started before you came to Finland and your family member submits the application for a residence permit within three months of you being informed of your asylum decision
  • you were accepted as a quota refugee on or after 1 July 2016 and your family has been started before you were accepted as a quota refugee and your family member submits the application for a residence permit within three months of you being informed of your acceptance as a quota refugee

If you have been granted subsidiary or temporary protection, your family member always has to have secure means of support.

Your other relatives can apply for a residence permit at a Finnish mission. They have to have secure means of support. However, your family member who is applying for a residence permit does not need to have secure means of support if you came to Finland alone, as an unaccompanied minor, and your family member is your sister or brother who is also under the age of 18 and lives abroad, and you have lived together with him or her earlier, and your parents have died or disappeared.

You can find the forms for applying for a residence permit here. Your family member fills in the application form for a residence permit. You fill in the form for clarification of family ties. The guardian of an underage child fills in and signs the application on behalf of the child. If the child is already 15 years of age, he or she must also sign the form.

You have been granted a residence permit in Finland on other grounds (for example as an employee, a self-employed person or a student)

Your family member has to apply for a residence permit before moving to Finland at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) in his or her home country or in a country he or she is legally residing with a residence permit or visa. The precondition is that you are living in Finland or are moving to Finland together with your family.

Your family member’s means of support have to be secure. It can be secured with your income from employment, private enterprise or pension, or with your and your family member’s other assets (such as bank deposits or regular income from rentals) which can be accessed from Finland. Your family’s income has to be sufficient so that your family member is not at risk of becoming dependant on income support or some other benefit that secures income. Social security benefits compensating for expenses such as housing allowance, financial aid for students and child benefits are, however, considered to be income.

Your other relatives cannot be granted a residence permit in Finland on the basis of family ties.

You can find the forms for applying for a residence permit here. Your family member fills in the application form for a residence permit. You fill in the form for clarification of family ties. The guardian of an underage child fills in and signs the application on behalf of the child. If the child is already 15 years of age, he or she must also sign the form.

Inquiries about the processing time

Information about pending residence permit applications is given to the parties that is, to you as a sponsor and to the applicant himself or herself.

According to the Aliens Act, the applicant must be informed of the decision on a residence permit application on the basis of family ties within nine months of submitting the application. For more information, please see Processing times.

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