Scandinavian countries are gaining popularity among potential migrants. The main reason is stable development indicators over the last decades, social security and high standard of living of the population. Finland occupies a special place among immigrants from different countries.

A residence permit in Finland for foreigners from third countries (from outside the EU) is a mandatory document for legal stay in the country for more than 3 months. The main reasons for moving are related to work, study and family reunification. According to the official statistics of the Finnish immigration service, every year local authorities accept about 25-27 thousand applications for residence permits.

Residence permit in Finland

A negative decision on granting a residence permit in Finland is made in 15-20% of cases. Further, we will answer the question of how to get a residence permit in Finland in 2024 and familiarize ourselves with the main requirements for foreigners.

How to get a residence permit in Finland

Citizens of the European Union countries, as well as Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, can freely come to Finland, live and work for 3 months, after which it is only necessary to register the right to stay in the country through a special electronic service.

Unfortunately, for applicants from other countries who intend to stay in Finland for more than 90 days, there is a different procedure, which involves pre-registration of a residence permit before arriving in the country.

As a rule, the application process and collection of the required documentation is carried out through the Finnish Consulate staff. In exceptional circumstances, e.g. in the case of an asylum application, the application for a residence permit may be submitted while on Finnish territory.

In order for a residence permit application to be accepted, there must be specific reasons for moving to Finland. Local laws provide for the following reasons:

  1. Family reunification.

  2. Education.

  3. Employment.

  4. Business.

  5. Repatriation.

If the purpose of obtaining a residence permit is employment or study, the application can be submitted via the special website of the Finnish Immigration Service. In other cases, the application and the application package must be submitted in paper form through the Finnish Consulate. Depending on the circumstances, there are the following types of residence permits in Finland:

  • Temporary (B). Issued for a period of 1-2 years or less. Each subsequent extension does not exceed 12 months. Subsequently, if the conditions allow, it is allowed to be replaced by a continuous one. As a rule, marriage to a Finnish citizen and employment or business activity for at least 2 years are sufficient grounds for replacement.

  • Continuous (A). It is not time-limited, but it is issued for 1 year at the first time and requires periodic renewal, usually every 4 years.

Since 2012, the residence permit in Finland is issued in the form of a biometric card, with built-in digital photos and fingerprints. Holders of a continuous residence permit after living in Finland for 4 years can obtain permanent residence status and after 1-3 years Finnish citizenship.

The cost of a residence permit in Finland in 2024 is:

  • for employees – 740 euros, electronically 490 euros;

  • for students – 450 euros, electronically 350 euros;

  • for minors – 270 euros, electronically 240 euros;

  • for other categories – 520 euros, electronically 470 euros;

  • prolongation of residence permit – 80 euros.

The maximum processing time for residence permit applications in Finland varies from 1 month (for students) to 9 months (for family reunification). The period for issuing a residence permit in connection with employment does not exceed 3-4 months. The card can be renewed at the Finnish police station in the place of residence.

Important. The purchase of real estate or a plot of land in Finland is not a basis for granting a residence permit.

Conditions for obtaining a residence permit in Finland

Conditions for obtaining a residence permit in Finland

Residence permit in Finland for the purpose of family reunification

The following categories of persons may join the holder of a residence permit in Finland if they have family ties:

  • Spouses, in the case of a valid registered marriage;

  • Partners, meaning persons of the same sex, if the relationship is registered;

  • Cohabitants, provided they have lived together for at least 2 years or have a child in common;

  • Children under 18 years of age who are under guardianship.

The main condition for obtaining a residence permit in Finland by means of family reunification is the ability to prove financial security to cover the costs of living with relatives. This means being officially employed or owning a business in Finland.

Residence permit for education in Finland

Foreign students who plan to study in Finland for a long term (more than 3 months) must obtain a residence permit. As a rule, this involves studying at Finnish universities and vocational schools. The main conditions here are related to proof of enrollment in a university and financial security.

Officially, the Finnish authorities require foreigners to have funds of at least 560 euros per month. Since 2017, students from countries outside the European Union, free higher education in Finland has become unavailable. The minimum tuition fee is 1,500 euros per year.

Residence permit in Finland for employment purposes

Official work in Finland requires a residence permit on this basis. The main difficulty here is competition with Finns and citizens of the European Union, who are favored by local authorities and employers in the first place.

In order to find a job successfully, you need to have sufficient qualifications, education and Finnish language skills or at least a good level of English. A work permit issued by the Finnish authorities usually allows you to work only in the specific field specified in the document.

Residence permit for business purposes in Finland

Foreign businessmen can obtain a residence permit in Finland for business purposes if they fulfill two main requirements:

  • A competent business plan confirming the profitability and prospects of the business.

  • Financial means sufficient for living in Finland and realizing the project.

Alternatively, you can apply for a residence permit as an employee of your company registered in Finland.

Residence permit in Finland by repatriation

Foreigners who have Finnish origin or other close ties with Finland are entitled to a residence permit without additional conditions. For this purpose, documentary evidence must be provided. Two main categories are distinguished:

  • Descendants of native Finns and former Finnish citizens.

  • Ingermanlanders. Persons who mainly live in the post-Soviet area and have ethnic Finnish roots.

Minimum Finnish language skills are required to successfully obtain a residence permit by this method.

What gives a residence permit in Finland

  • Free movement within the Schengen area for up to 90 days within 6 months.

  • Depending on the conditions of relocation, the right to education, employment and business in Finland.

  • Access to the European credit system, quality medical care and real estate in Europe.

  • An important step on the way to permanent residence and Finnish citizenship.

  • Living in a country with a developed market economy, low crime rate and transparent legal system.

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