Residence permits to Finland
If you want to stay in Finland for a longer period than three months, you need a residence permit. Nationals of an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland do not need a residence permit to come to Finland.
How to apply for a residence permit
- You can apply for a residence permit in Finland if you have a job, a study place or a family member in Finland. Apply for a residence permit before you come to Finland.
According to the EU visa rules, one of the requirements for granting a Schengen visa is that the person must leave the Schengen area before the visa expires. For this reason, a visa cannot be granted to a person who has come to Finland in order to obtain a residence permit or to wait for the decision on a pending residence permit-related matter. This also applies to family members of Finnish citizens.
- Only you may initiate the application.
- Apply for a residence permit electronically at enterfinland.fi or on paper at migri.fi
- Choose the correct application form based on why you are coming to Finland (job, study place or family member in Finland).
- Fill in the residence permit application carefully. Make sure that the appendices are correct.
- Once you have filled in the application, book a time at a Finnish mission for the purposes of authentication. Book an appointment by e-mail.
- A Finnish foreign mission may be located in a different country to where you are. You may need to submit a visa application for the country in question.
- Go to the mission, authenticate yourself, and pay the fee collected for the residence permit application. This fee will not be refunded even if you cancel your application or receive a negative decision.
- After this, your application will be transferred to the processing queue at the Finnish Immigration Service
- You can follow the progress of the processing online. You may be asked for further information and you may be invited for an interview.
- Processing the application takes time. Please be patient. Waiting times are usually long, but each application will be processed.
- You will be notified once a decision has been made.
- If you receive a positive decision, the residence permit card will be delivered to the mission. A negative decision means that is was considered that you do not have sufficient grounds for a residence permit.
- You can get further information about applying for a residence permit at the Finnish Immigration Service website migri.fi
If you lose your residence permit card
If you are a visa national and lose your residence permit card when abroad, you must primarily apply for a first residence permit at a Finnish diplomatic or consular mission to be able to return to Finland, even if you already have a valid residence permit. Applications for an extended permit cannot be lodged at missions. As a rule, a visa cannot be granted for this purpose, because the return requirement set out in the Visa Code is not met.
A visa may be granted only in situations referred to in the Visa Code, such as in a serious humanitarian situation – not because the applicant is in a hurry, has lost his or her air ticket or cannot pay the residence permit fee, for example. In other words, if a mission does not grant a visa, you must apply for a new residence permit to be able to return to Finland.
Expired residence permit
If your residence permit has expired while you have been abroad, apply for a new residence permit at a Finnish diplomatic or consular mission. A visa cannot be granted for this purpose, because the return requirement set out in the Visa Code is not met. A visa may be granted only in situations referred to in the Visa Code, such as in a serious humanitarian situation – not because the applicant is in a hurry, has lost his or her air ticket or cannot pay the residence permit fee, for example.
If a mission cannot grant a visa under the Visa Code, you must apply for a residence permit before returning to Finland.