Residence permits in Finland

Citizen of an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you are not required to have a residence permit for Finland. Note that Finland is a EU Member State, so directives and regulations are applicable.  

Stay lasting longer than 90 days, you need a residence permit. Residence permits are granted on the following grounds: 

  • Moving to Finland to be with a family member;
  • Studying in Finland;
  • Working in Finland;
  • Other grounds;
  • Re-emigration. 

Owning land, property, or shares in a housing company in Finland is not sufficient grounds for being granted a residence permit. 

Application must be submitted for your first residence permit to the Finnish embassy in your home country before entering Finland. You cannot apply for a residence permit at a mission of another country. A fee will be charged for the processing of the application.

1. Moving to Finland to be with a family member

For short visits, no more than 90 days, you do not need a residence permit. In most cases, you may need a visa.  

A residence permit can be granted on the basis of family ties. The family member residing in Finland with whom you intend to lead a family life is referred to as the sponsor. Must be noted that, the Finnish concept of family is narrower than that of many other countries. 

The family members of Finnish citizens and of non-EU (third country) citizens and comparable persons are:

  • spouse;
  • registered partner;
  • cohabiting partner;
  • guardian of a child under 18 years of age;
  • child.

A broader definition is applicable for family members of EU citizens. 

Family members of Finnish citizens have the same status as family members of citizens of third countries.

2.  Studying in Finland

If studies take less than 90 days to complete, residence permit is not needed, but VISA may be. You may study in Finland for 90 days without a visa or residence permit if you are a citizen of a visa-free country. 

Since the application form or attachments do not have to be sent by post, using the e-service will speed up the application process.

3. Working in Finland

If you intend to work in Finland, you usually need a residence permit based on employment, granted by the state of Finland. 

If you intend to employ yourself in Finland, you need a residence permit for a self-employed person, granted by the state of Finland.  

Working in Finland with a permit granted by another country is usually not allowed, especially if the duration of the job is longer than 90 days.

When is a residence permit not necessary?

In some cases it is sufficient that you have a residence permit or a visa granted by another Schengen country, or that you are allowed to reside in Finland without a visa. In these situations the right to work is limited to certain jobs, and it applies for a maximum of 90 days, yet no longer than your visa is valid. 

Which permits include a right to work?

If you have another type of a residence permit granted by the state of Finland, you may have the right to work. If this is the case, you do not need any other residence permit to be allowed to work. You can check from your residence permit and the residence permit decision whether you have the right to work in Finland. 

If you have been granted a residence permit on the grounds of being a victim of human trafficking, you have the right to work in Finland without limitations. 

What if I have a degree from Finland?

If you have completed a degree or qualification in Finland and you have a job, you must apply for a residence permit on the basis that you have a degree from Finland.

4. Other grounds

Grounds for the application as specified in the Finnish Aliens Act.  

Special grounds may be, for example, a stable intimate relationship and the intention to marry a Finnish citizen or a person with a Finnish residence permit. A special ground can also be that you have become a victim of human trafficking. However, travelling is not accepted as special grounds.

To find out more about residence permit in Finland, please contact our English speaking lawyers at

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