Foreign nationals need to have a residence permit to stay in Finland for three months or longer. If you will be working in Finland, you will also need a residence permit for a shorter stay.
A residence permit may be granted on grounds of family ties in Finland, employment or studies, Finnish descent, return migration, on humanitarian grounds or for other exceptional reasons.
Nationals of other Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland) can enter Finland without restrictions and stay in the country without a residence permit. They also do not require a worker’s residence permit.
EU and comparable nationals (Liechtenstein, Switzerland) do not require a residence permit. However, they must register with the local police station no later than three months after arriving in the country.
Residence permit application based on employment and study can be filled online. Online application requires
registration with the Finnish Immigration Service and
a personal visit to the Finnish Embassy in the country of origin.
Applications for a first residence permit can also lodged personally with the Finnish Embassy or Consulate in the country of origin. The decision to grant a permit rests with the Finnish Immigration Service. Honorary Consuls cannot receive applications.
In some cases applications for a residence permit based on grounds of family ties or other reasons can be filed with the local police in Finland.
Applications must be carefully completed and signed. All necessary attachments must be obtained in advance before filing the application. Applications may be submitted in Finnish, Swedish or English. All attachments must be translated into one of these languages. Applicants will be fingerprinted at the time of filing the application.
Applications cannot be submitted by an agent or sent by post.
Almost all the applications can be submitted online. The direct address is https://enterfinland.fi/.
The residence permit fee is payable in advance and will be charged at the time of filing the application.
The fees are listed on the Finnish Immigration Service website and on the Embassy’s website.
Processing fees are not refunded for rejected applications.
It is difficult to give any exact guide on processing times. Requests for supplementary documentation are bound to affect the processing time. The Embassy or Consulate has no influence over processing times taken by the Finnish Immigration Service.
Average processing times are listed on the Finnish Immigration Service website.
Applicants whose permit application is approved will receive a biometric residence permit card. The card is valid for up to five years and must subsequently be renewed. Applications for a renewed residence permit card can only be filed with the local police in Finland.
The residence permit card is not tied to a specific passport, but the personal information in both documents must be identical. In other words the residence permit card must be renewed to reflect any changes in the passport’s personal information.
Applicants who have a residence permit sticker in their old passport and who get a new passport must apply for a residence permit card.
The card holder must report a stolen or lost card to the police.
A person who holds a residence permit may live and travel in Finland and leave the country and re-enter during the validity of the residence permit. Persons who hold a worker’s residence permit are furthermore entitled to work in Finland.
A person who holds a residence permit may also stay and travel within the Schengen area for up to three months, provided they are not subject to an entry ban to the country in question.
A fixed-term residence permit is issued for either temporary (a so-called B permit) or continuous residence (A permit). The type of permit granted and its validity will depend, among other things, on the nature and purpose of the stay.
The worker’s residence permit is either temporary (B) or continuous (A), depending on the nature of the job.
Students’ residence permits are always temporary, B permits.
Residence permits issued on grounds of family ties will be issued for periods not exceeding the validity of the sponsor’s permit. The type of residence permit (A or B) depends on the sponsor’s permit. The first residence permit is usually issued for one year, unless the application is expressly for a shorter period. A person with a continuous residence permit may be granted an extension of no more than three years at a time.
Residence permits are issued for continuous residence after two years of temporary stay, provided there have been no changes in the conditions on which the permit was granted.
Foreign nationals with a fixed-term residence permit and planning to stay beyond the validity of the permit must apply for an extension well ahead of time. Applications for an extension can only be submitted to the police in Finland.
A permanent residence permit can be granted when the applicant has been resident in Finland for four consecutive years on a continuous residence permit. A permanent residence permit is valid for an indefinite period.
A fixed-term or permanent residence permit is revoked if the foreign national has moved permanently out of Finland or if they have remained outside the country for two years without interruption, with the intention of staying there permanently.
Under the newly revised Population Information Act, persons planning to move abroad for three months or longer are required to notify the local register office that they are moving temporarily or permanently.
A residence permit may be granted on the basis of family ties, studies, gainful employment or pursuing a trade or profession.
A processing fee is charged for each residence permit application. The fee is payable by credit card when the application is submitted to the Embassy. The Embassy only accepts credit or debit card payments (cash, Diners Club and Amex cards are not acceptable). The fee is not refunded if the application is withdrawn or refused. The processing fees are subject to change on a monthly basis in accordance with the Ministry's official exchange rate, so the applicants are asked to check the current service fees from the Embassy's website.
Please see the Finnish Immigration Service's website for more information: http://www.migri.fi/working_in_finland
⇒No residence permit processing fee is collected from the citizens of New Zealand due to the agreement on the abolition of visas concluded between Finland and New Zealand in 1973.
In Australia and New Zealand, all residence permit applicants are to attend an interview at the Embassy of Finland in Canberra to finalise their application. The applicants must present the following during the interview.
If necessary, the mission may request further information. All forms are available in Word and PDF formats. The form in Word format may be completed on the screen, saved on one's computer and processed further at a suitable time. The PDF form is meant to be printed and completed by hand. The forms cannot be sent electronically.
NOTE: The Embassy does not deal with issues related to entry into Australia. Information is available at: www.immi.gov.au.