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Effects of the coronavirus on customers who are in Finland

On this page, you will find updated instructions on how the coronavirus outbreak affects the submission of applications and visits to service points.
 
See the instructions for different situations:
 

You are in Finland and applying for a residence permit or an extended permit 

  • If your permit is about to expire soon, you can submit your application in the online service Enter Finland. If you are applying for an extended permit or a permanent residence permit, you must be in Finland. You cannot apply for an extended permit or a permanent residence permit if you are outside Finland.
  • Normally, you would be required to visit a service point within three months of the date when you submitted your application.
  • Due to the coronavirus situation, the time limit for proving your identity has been extended until 30 April 2021. If needed, we will make changes to this time limit, depending on how long the current state of emergency will last.

Many matters can be dealt with online

Most applications can be submitted using the online service Enter Finland at enterfinland.fi. 
  • The online service Enter Finland is the quickest and most affordable way to apply. 
  • The online service will guide you through the whole process of filling in the application. 
  • Use Enter Finland to pay the processing fee and to follow the status of your application. 
  • You will get a certificate of a pending application from Enter Finland.
You can use Enter Finland even if you do not have online banking credentials. You only need an email address.
 
Book an appointment at a service point in our appointment system. New appointments become available all the time. As a rule, you should book the appointment for proving your identity yourself. When you have booked it, tell us in Enter Finland when your appointment will be. 
 
If there are no available appointments, please wait patiently and check the available appointments again later. If your matter is urgent, you can visit a service point and take a waiting number. The waiting numbers are only intended for submitting applications. 
 
If you are applying for an extended permit and have used strong electronic identification in Enter Finland, you do not always need to visit a service point. However, you must be in Finland, because you cannot apply for an extended permit if you are outside Finland. You can use strong electronic identification in Enter Finland by logging in with your online banking credentials, citizen certificate or mobile certificate. The online service will tell you whether you have to visit a service point or whether the electronic identification is enough. If you have to visit a service point, book an appointment in our appointment system. 
 
You can apply for an extended permit in Enter Finland even if you applied for your first permit with a paper application.

You are applying for Finnish citizenship 

You cannot send your citizenship application by post or by email. Submit your application in Enter Finland as usual, or fill in a paper application and book an appointment for visiting a service point. 
 
We hope that our service points can provide enough appointments for customers whose residence permit is about to expire. If your matter is not urgent, you could consider waiting until the coronavirus epidemic is over.
 

Do not submit your application before you meet the requirements for naturalisation and you have all the necessary certificates, such as a language certificate.

You need to have a valid residence permit and a valid passport even when your citizenship application is pending.

If you already have applied for Finnish citizenship, please wait patiently for the decision. In this current situation, processing times may be longer than estimated. At the moment, we cannot process some of the applications, as we work remotely and have no access to paper documents. Such applications will be processed as soon as we are able to work at the office again.

Visit the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education for information about changes in language test schedules

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, language proficiency tests are not arranged as planned, which is why you may be unable to get a language certificate for the time being. For more information about changes in language test schedules, visit the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education

You need a new residence permit card 

We will start processing your application after you have proved your identity. 

You can renew your residence permit card only in the following situations:

  • You have a permanent residence permit and your residence permit card is about to expire; or
  • You have a valid residence permit and:
    • you have lost your residence permit card;
    • your residence permit card is so worn out that the information on it is unreadable
    • the personal data printed on your residence permit card has changed.

If you need to apply for an extended permit, choose the right application based on what permit you are applying for. If you are applying for an extended permit, you must be in Finland. You cannot apply for an extended permit if you are outside Finland.

You are applying for an alien’s passport or a refugee travel document

You are applying for an alien’s passport in connection with your residence permit application

In certain situations, you can be issued with an alien’s passport if you are applying for a residence permit in Finland and cannot obtain a passport from the authorities of your home country due to the restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. This exception is temporary and applies to applications that have been submitted before 31 October 2020.

You can be granted an alien’s passport in connection with your residence permit if

  • you meet all the other requirements for the residence permit you are applying for and you are not suspected of or have not committed an offence
  • your identity has been verified 
  • you cannot obtain a new passport from your home country while you are in Finland.

By introducing this temporary practice, we want to ensure that you do not get a negative decision on your residence permit application only because you cannot get a passport from your home country due to the coronavirus restrictions. It may be that you, for example, cannot travel to your home country to submit a passport application, or your home country’s embassy in Finland is closed. If you have been unable to obtain the passport of your home country in Finland before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, you can now due to this exception apply for an alien’s passport when you apply for a residence permit. The exceptional practice is applied to alien’s passport decisions made in connection with decisions on first residence permits and extended permits. This practice applies to applications that have been submitted before 31 October 2020.

An alien’s passport is issued for a maximum of one year for obtaining a passport from your home country. A residence permit issued at the same time is also valid for one year. 

You must show reliable proof of your identity

If you have not presented a passport of your home country, you are required to present an identity document issued by the authorities of your home country including the following details:

  • your full name
  • your date of birth
  • your place of birth
  • your photo
  • your citizenship.

As documents vary from country to country, we evaluate case by case whether we can establish your identity on the basis of the documentation you have presented. The identities of, for example, Iraqi customers can usually be established on the basis of a citizenship certificate and an identity card. We investigate the authenticity of the documents. 

This is what you should do to apply for an alien’s passport:

  • Book an appointment at one of the service points of the Finnish Immigration Service in our appointment system.
  • Bring with you to the service point:
    • a passport photo
    • a written statement on why you are applying for an alien’s passport and why the coronavirus pandemic hinders you from applying for a passport from your home country
    • your identity documents
    • money (cash or card) to pay the processing fee.

The temporary practice does not concern you if

  • you are only applying for an alien’s passport, or
  • you have already been issued with an alien’s passport for obtaining a passport from your home country. We will not grant you a new alien’s passport automatically. Instead, you need to present an explanation for why you have not been able to obtain a passport from your home country during the period of validity of your alien’s passport.

If your previous residence permit application was rejected only because you did not have a passport issued by your home country and you have appealed the matter at an administrative court or the Supreme Administrative Court,

  • you must wait until the court decides your appeal. This does not prevent you from reapplying for a residence permit and applying for an alien’s passport at the same time. These can be granted to you if you meet the requirements described above. 

If you have submitted your application by email or by post before 1 September 2020.

If you have submitted your application by email or by post before 1 September 2020, you do not need to book an appointment or visit a service point to handle your matter with a waiting number. We will send you an invitation to an appointment at a service point for proving your identity. Please be patient and wait for the invitation.

You have received a request for additional information 

As a rule, you should log in to  Enter Finland and reply to the request for additional information there.
 
If you have received a request for additional information that is reminding you to pay the processing fee, you can, exceptionally, pay it into the bank account of the Finnish Immigration Service: FI50 5000 0121 5029 82. Write your customer number and the name of the permit you are applying for in the message field. Send a receipt of the paid processing fee by email to the address [email protected] or by post to the address Finnish Immigration Service, PO Box 10, 00086 Maahanmuuttovirasto. 
 
If you have received a request for additional information asking you to show your passport or some other document at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service, send your document by post to the address Finnish Immigration Service, PO Box 10, 00086 Maahanmuuttovirasto. Attach the letter that you received from us to the document. We recommend that you send your document as a registered letter.

 

You have applied for a permit abroad but you cannot travel to get the permit

If you, for some reason, are in Finland and you cannot travel to the country where you have submitted your application, we can make an exception in your case so that you can get the decision in Finland. 
 
The Finnish Immigration Service needs to know an address where to send your decision in Finland. Notify us immediately of your situation.
 
Send us your address in the same way as you would reply to a request for additional information.
 
The service points of the Finnish Immigration Service cannot give you the decision or the residence permit card.
 

You are staying in Finland because restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic prevent you from returning home

If you are staying in Finland with a valid visa, contact the Police. The Police provide answers regarding the extension of visas. For further information, visit the website of the Finnish police.

In certain situations, you can apply for a temporary residence permit if you cannot travel to your home country or country of permanent residence because of the restrictions introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic. You can also apply for an extended permit on the basis of travel restrictions if you cannot travel to your home country or your country of permanent residence due to the coronavirus restrictions. If you have, for example, a temporary residence permit that expires on 31 October, you can apply for an extended permit if you cannot travel to your home country.

Apply for a temporary residence permit or an extended permit on the basis of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, if:

  • the police cannot extend the validity of your visa;
  • your visa-free residence period has ended; 
  • your previous temporary residence permit is about to expire and you do not have grounds for permit extension; or
  • you are not planning to remain in Finland on other grounds, such as work, studies or family ties.

Temporary residence permits with a short validity period can only be granted to those who are genuinely unable to leave Finland or who would seriously risk their health in doing so.  

The temporary residence permit or extended permit granted on the grounds of restrictions due to the coronavirus will be valid until 31 March 2021. The date the application becomes pending does not affect the validity period of the residence permit.

You can apply for a first temporary permit and an extended permit with a paper application (form OLE_MUU). Fill in the application and book an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service using our appointment system. There is currently a high demand for appointments. If your application is urgent and you cannot find any available appointments in the appointment system, you can also come to our service point and take a waiting number.

You cannot apply for a first temporary residence permit or an extended permit on the basis of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic in Enter Finland. 

The processing fee for both applications is 150 euros for adults and 100 euros for children until 31 December 2020. If the fee changes in January 2021, we will update the fee on this web page. These fees apply only to temporary residence permits and extended permits that are applied for on the basis of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Please enclose the following documents with your application:

  • An explanation on why you cannot return to your home country or country of residence. 
    • An explanation on why you cannot leave Finland. The format of the explanation is free. We will ask you for a statement from the authorities if we consider this necessary. 
    • Documents regarding purchased tickets (such as email confirmation).
    • A notification by a travel agency or another statement regarding the cancellation of a trip.
  • Proof of secure livelihood – documents that prove from where you receive the funds for living in Finland, how you ensure your livelihood until 31 October 2020 and where and on what funds you will be residing in Finland. Read more about the income requirement.
    • Explanation or proof of income or funds.
    • A free-form account of your accommodation during your stay in Finland.
    • Your bank statement or the bank statement of the person who provides your maintenance, showing transactions from the last three months.
    • Your employment agreement or the employment agreement of the person providing your maintenance (if you or they have one), as well as wage slips from the last three months.

If your health prevents you from leaving Finland, also provide the following documents:

  • A medical certificate that states why your health prevents you from travelling, with an estimate on how long it will continue to do so.
  • A free-form explanation from you as to why your health prevents you from travelling, with an estimate on how long it will continue to do so.

The following in themselves are not sufficient grounds for obtaining a residence permit:

  • Financial reasons, such as high travel costs
  • The fact that there are no direct flights or other direct transport connections available to your home country or your country of residence
  • The fact that the coronavirus situation is worse in your home country or country of residence than it is in Finland

Asylum seeker 

You have applied for asylum in Finland

To apply for asylum in Finland, you must talk to a police or a border control official in person. Even during the coronavirus situation, you can come to Finland and submit an asylum application. Persons applying for asylum are allowed to come to Finland. Tell the border control authorities immediately that you wish to seek asylum.

The Finnish Immigration Service arranges only a limited number of asylum interviews, due to the coronavirus situation

At the moment, we cannot arrange interviews with all of those who would normally be next to receive invitations. We are starting with the applications that are estimated most urgent and where the interview can be held. We make a separate assessment for each customer on whether or not the interview can be held, despite the exceptional arrangements due to the coronavirus situation. These exceptional arrangements include an assistant participating in the interview via a video connection or holding the interview in a room with a transparent screen between the interviewer and the customer.

If you are about to have an asylum interview, we will make you an appointment and you will receive an invitation to the interview. The exact address and time of the interview is given in the invitation.

How to obtain the decision

If the asylum decision can be sent to you by post and if it is not necessary to reserve an interpreter for the notification, you will only be notified by post, as usual. The decision will be sent with an advice of receipt.

If you would normally be notified about the decision at the offices of the Finnish Immigration Service, you will subsequently be notified by phone or via a video connection

The Finnish Immigration Service and the reception centre will agree on a time for a meeting, where the decision will be interpreted to you. An employee of the reception centre will tell you the time when we will contact you.

When we have made a decision on your asylum application, we will make an appointment with you so that you can hear the decision.

  • An employee at the reception centre will tell you when the meeting will take place.
  • We will call you or contact you through a video connection; the reception centre will tell you when this will happen. 
  • An interpreter who will interpret all of our discussion has been reserved for the event. The interpreter will use a telephone or video connection to do the interpreting.
  • After that, the decision will be sent to you by post. The decision will be sent with an advice of receipt

Minor asylum seekers unaccompanied by a guardian and their representatives will also be notified about the decisions in this way.

Telling you about the decision by telephone or through a video connection will not affect the time period during which you can appeal the decision. The appeal period is calculated from the date when you have received the decision by post.

The bulletin ‘Finnish Immigration Service tells clients about asylum decision by phone or via a video connection’ can be found in several languages at migri.fi/en/brochures-and-publications.

Asylum seeker’s right to work in seasonal work

The legislation on an asylum seeker’s right to work in seasonal work has been temporarily amended as of 29 June 2020. The act will remain in force until 31 October 2020. Read more on the page migri.fi/en/asylum-seeker-s-right-to-work-in-seasonal-work