Guideline to get Finland residence permit
There are two groups of people. The first one doesn’t know much about Finland and life there. Or at least nothing beyond the fact that it is the homeland of the beloved Santa Claus that resides beyond the Arctic circle in Lapland. The second one is aware of the high standard of living and how it gets unbearably cold and dark in winters. The latter also knows about how the Finns find simple pleasures in life by treating their bodies with a hot sauna and just slowing down when nature does, too. They also might have heard something about the birth country of Nokia, being the happiest nation globally and having the cleanest air and best education system across the globe. Quite impressive, isn’t it? It makes it rather easy to understand why anyone wants to obtain a Finland residence visa to ensure all of these goodies in their lives. Keep in mind the lack of sun and frivolous vibes that other destinations further South would offer, of course.
It seems that you must belong to the latter group or at least do your research to make sure you could be one of those people trading the warmth and beaches all year long for a stable, good life. That’s why you’re here, aren’t you? If you are looking to find more information about Finland visa requirements and ways to make sure there is even a chance to make a Finland visa application for a long-term stay successfully, I might help you with this. Here you will get all the basic information combined to give an impression about your candidacy to become a permanent resident in this Northern country. Some practical information on how to get a visa for Finland, how much is Finland visa fee and other information to make the process of researching a bit easier for you, too. Let’s start with the basics!
Do I need a visa for Finland?
Currently, 93 countries are Finland visa free countries, and their nationals can take the advantage to visit Finland for tourism, visiting family or friends, business trips, medical examinations or treatment, short-term education, exchange programs, or other non-permanent reasons for up to 90 days. However, if you intend to stay longer or perform any paid activities, even the nationals from Finland visa free countries will need to make some arrangements to make their stay is legal. So the formula is simple. Short travel - you might or might not need a visa. Permanent stay? You will need a visa, residence permit, or another type of document to reside in Finland.
Do I need a visa for Finland if I am from the EU?
No, for short-term trips, no visas are needed. However, as I mentioned beforehand already if you intend to stay longer (for example, for studies or work), you will have to ensure the formalities are set according to the law. Citizens of EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, won’t need a residence permit. Still, you do have to register your residency with the officials as soon as you arrive. That is a standard procedure required in most cases if you decide to move between the EU countries.
What should I know about the Finland residence visa?
Applying for your Finnish residence permit means you will have to specify the particular reason you intend to stay in Finland. It is possible you would want to work or study in Finland, move there to be with a family member, re-migrate (move if you have Finnish roots or another close connection to this country), or be there on other grounds (for example, an established relationship with a Finnish resident to get married). In all of these cases, you will need a particular proof of your intentions (more on that in the paragraph about requirements) that might as well limit the duration of your stay. For example, getting a residence permit to work, you might be allowed to reside in Finland only as long as you work with a particular company or within the mentioned industry. However, each case is different - be clear about your objectives.
If you have successfully been granted a permit once and wish to extend it, you may apply for a residence permit extension Finland. If all goes well, you might be granted the chance to stay for up to four years. Alternatively, if all requirements fit the law and you have lived in Finland long enough, you can apply for a permanent residence permit or a long-term resident’s EU residence permit (applies to the third-country nationals). What it means is that you won’t need to extend your residency permits every few years or worry about meeting the terms of your visa. You should know about these types of visas because you should apply well ahead - about three months before your previous visa expires (but not much sooner). Also, you are not allowed to apply for a residence permit extension outside Finland - your application will be considered a first-time one. You should do it on the spot in Finland.
How to get a visa for Finland?
To put it simply - the procedure is pretty standard. You either apply in Enterfinland online service or make an appointment in an embassy or visa service centre. You will fill the application, hand in the necessary documents, and pay Finland visa fees. Remember that all of the documents have to be in English, Finnish, or Swedish. If they are not, you have to get them translated and legally notarized. Even if you applied online, you would have to visit an embassy or visa processing entity to prove your identity. They will take your fingerprints and make sure of other details in an electronic chip within your permanent resident card. After that, you have to wait until your request is processed, and you might be asked for additional information. The official website says that you should wait for the answer in the country where you applied, and to me, it looks like it is for practical reasons - exactly for the cases if you do get asked for explanations, etc. Hopefully, sooner than later, you get permission to enjoy the benefits of being a Finnish resident!
What are Finland visa requirements for potential residents?
The general list of the entry requirements is quite straightforward. You have to meet these requirements before submitting any Finland visa application. These are the following: you have a valid passport, are not prohibited from entering the country, are not a danger to public order and security, public health, or Finland’s international relations.
The list of Finland visa requirements for aspiring residents doesn’t offer too many surprises. Besides the application form (filled online or on paper), you will need a valid passport and a recent passport type photo. You will have to prove your legal residency status in the current country you are applying for this permit and the financial means that prove you will be able to sustain yourself while residing in Finland. Then just documents that prove your intentions - letters and insurance from an employee, a confirmation letter from the school, or a marriage license. Basically, each situation will require a different set of papers - just make sure your application has all of those that correspond to your particular case.
How much is Finland visa fee?
Ok, I have seen many visa policies from countries around the world. And I have to say that Finland visa fees fall into slightly “pricier” ones. Considering the higher level of living and the salaries, it makes sense that a residence permit might cost you around 450-500 EUR for an electronic application and 500-700 EUR for a paper one. The fees differ depending on the reason for your application and the country you are doing it in.
What is a long-term Finland visa application processing time?
Applying for a Finland residence visa or residency permit well ahead is an absolute must. Depending on your documents and nationality, it will take 2-6 months to apply online or 3-10 months if the application is made on paper in a diplomatic mission. That means - start planning early!
All of that doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Arranging formalities for a potential move to this land of the lakes is not as complicated as one might imagine. Just be aware of the process and get the necessary prerequisites ready. Who knows, maybe after a successful first run, you’ll even want to arrange a residence permit extension Finland. Either way - I wish you all the best with your decision about moving to another country, and a comfortable life wherever you decide to end up!
* Please consider that the current situation with Covid-19 might impose a few restrictions on travel or other activities. It seems to affect the immigration procedures greatly, too, as every country wants to make sure their wellbeing is not being put at risk. This is why you might experience some delays and hick-ups also when submitting your Finland visa application. The procedures described in this article are most relevant for the standard situations, but if you would like to find out more about the current changes to those, just visit the official website of the Finnish Immigration Service.
Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday.