Immigration to Finland: eligibility requirements for residence permit and permanent residence applicants, Finnish citizenship
Finland is an economically developed country of the European Union. It has a calm political environment, a low crime rate and one of the most advanced social protection systems in the EU.
In order to reside legally in the Republic of Finland for more than 3 months, it is necessary to obtain a residence permit. The acquisition of property is not considered to be a legal ground for obtaining a residence permit, but it provides the opportunity to reside legally in the country for 6 months each year (based on a Schengen Visa).
Owners of a residence permit can apply for permanent residence after 4 years and for citizenship after 5 years.
Residence Permits in Finland: Beginning the process
A residence permit can be issued in Finland (at the migration service) or outside of the country (at a consulate).
The legal grounds for obtaining a residence permit include:
- A marriage with a resident of Finland;
- A family reunification (for cohabitants, spouses, adult children of Finnish citizens, foreigners with a residence permit or permanent residence in Finland);
- A Finnish heir or former citizen returning to their homeland (re-immigration);
- Employment (working for or running a business);
- Receiving a higher level or professional education, receiving special training, conducting scientific or research work;
- Receiving status as a victim (due to human trafficking) or a refugee, or other special reasons.
Residence permit applicants must confirm the grounds for their immigration and their knowledge of English or Finnish language and Finnish laws. The State Duty or fee is 470 €.
Residence Permit Categories:
- Temporary Residence Permits (Oleskelulupa «В») are granted for a limited period of time. Students and employees can hold a «B» permit for up to 1 year, executives and relatives for up to 4 years. This can be extended or changed into another type if circumstances change.
- Permanent (Extended) Residence Permits (Oleskelulupa «A») are usually obtained before the expiration of the first residence permit but only in the event that the legal grounds have not changed. This permit is valid for up to 4 years.
- If the legal grounds for staying in Finland change (marriage, a new place of work, etc.), you can submit a new application (for owners of temporary residence permits).
Business immigration has been popular in Finland for quite a long time because it creates an opportunity to obtain a residence permit. There are several ways to go about doing this:
- Open a branch of an existing company in Finland (this option is the easiest);
- Buy a ready-made business from residents of the country;
- Become an individual entrepreneur.
It is important to consider that in order to obtain and extend a residence permit in this manner, the newly made citizen will be regularly checked for the presence of income to make sure they have enough funds to cover their living expenses in the country.
Application processing time may vary depending on the category of permit. It takes about 4 months to obtain a residence permit via work, 30 days due to studying and 9 months due to family reunification.
Obtaining Permanent Residence Procedure
Permanent Residence (Oleskelulupa «P») can be obtained after living for 4 or more years in Finland with a permanent residence permit (Oleskelulupa «A»).
The date of reference is considered to be either the date of entry into Finland (when applying for documents through consulates) or the date of obtaining a residence permit in the Migration Service.
It is forbidden for permanent residence applicants to leave the country for more than two years out of the four years. The grounds on which the permanent residence permit (Oleskelulupa «A») was issued must remain in effect.
As for the Permanent Residence (Oleskelulupa «P»), there is no set time limit. It can be annulled however if the owner leaves the country for more than two years, commits a crime or it turns out that they provided false information on their application.
It is also possible to obtain an unlimited residence permit in the European Union («P-EU»). You can receive it if you have lived in Finland at least five years with an A permit, you have not lived abroad for longer than ten months during this time, and the grounds for the previous permits are still valid.
In order to become a Finnish citizen, immigrants must meet the following requirements:
- Reside in Finland for at least 5 years.
- Be Fluent in Swedish or Finnish and provide a certificate confirming their knowledge of the national language of Finland.
- Have a lack of criminal convictions.
- Not have any outstanding tax liabilities or alimony.
- Have a verified source of income.
The application is usually processed within 3-6 months. The amount of state duty is 350 €, plus 80 € for issuing a passport. Children of Finnish citizens receive citizenship automatically. Children who are born in a civil marriage receive it only after genetic testing, and place of birth is not taken into account. It is not necessary to refuse your country’s citizenship in order to get a Finnish passport. It is impossible to obtain a citizenship for investment purposes.