Citizens of the Nordic countries are entitled to enter, live and work in Finland without a residence permit. EU/EEA citizens must only register their right to reside in Finland at a police station if their stay exceeds three months. Otherwise, they are free to enter, live, seek work and practice a profession without a residence permit for up to three months.
Citizens of all other countries must apply for a residence permit at the Finnish embassy, or online, from within their home country. The embassy will provide all the forms and necessary information. A final decision will be made by the Finnish Immigration Service.
Residence permits in Finland can be issued on the following grounds:
- Employment and studies
- Family ties in Finland
- Finnish descent
- Remigration to Finland
- Humanitarian reasons
Applying for a residence permit in Finland
A separate form for each individual applying for a residence permit in Finland must be filled out. This includes children, even if they are listed on their parent or guardian’s passport. There is also an application fee to pay.
All application forms can be found from the Finnish Immigration Service website or you can fill out an online application form. Otherwise, you can get them from the Finnish embassy in your home country.
A valid passport or travel document is required in order to apply for a residence permit. Children who do not have their own passport or travel document will have their residence permit sticker attached to the passport or travel document of their parent or guardian.
Your residence permit sticker will include your photo and will be issued in either Finnish or Swedish. You must specify which language you would like your sticker to be issued in when you are filling out your application form. It is not possible to have the sticker issued in any language other than Finnish or Swedish.
What does a Finnish residence permit entitle me to?
With a Finnish residence permit you are free to live and travel in Finland as long for as long as your permit is valid. You may use the permit to enter other Schengen countries as long as you are not subject to any entry prohibitions.
The residence permit is always issued for a fixed period of time. They are generally valid for a maximum of one year or for the duration of your employment or studies.
Once you have resided in Finland continuously for four years you are able to apply for a permanent residence permit.