The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) will exceptionally issue alien's passports to some foreigners who are applying for a residence permit in Finland and cannot obtain a passport from the authorities of their home countries due to the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This exception is temporary and will expire on 31 October 2020, the immigration agency explained in its customer's bulletin.
According to Migri's release, it is possible to be granted an alien’s passport in connection with a residence permit if the applicant meets all the other requirements for the residence permit and they are not not suspected of or have not committed an offence.
Besides that, the applicant's identity must be verified and they must also prove that they cannot obtain a new passport from their home country while they are in Finland.
Migri explains that the aim of this temporary practice is to ensure that their customers do not get a negative decision just because they cannot get a passport from their home country due to the Covid-19 restrictions. For example, it may occur that some people cannot travel home to renew their passports or their country's embassy in Finland is closed.
For first permits and extended permits
This exceptional practice is applied to alien’s passport decisions made in connection with decisions on first residence permits and extended permits.
An alien’s passport is issued for a maximum of one year for obtaining a passport from home. A residence permit issued at the same time is also valid for one year. Applicants will be required to present an identity document issued by the authorities of their home country including details such as full name, date and place of birth, photo and citizenship.
"As documents vary from country to country, we evaluate case by case whether we can establish the identity on the basis of the documentation presented. The identities of, for example, Iraqi customers can usually be established on the basis of a citizenship certificate and an identity card. We investigate the authenticity of the documents," Migri says.
How to apply
- Book an appointment with the Finnish Immigration Service through its online appointment system.
- Visit the selected service point and bring with you a passport photo, a written statement on why you are applying for an alien’s passport and why the coronavirus pandemic hinders you from applying for a passport from your country. Bring also your identity documents and money (cash or card) to pay the processing fee.
If you are unable to book an appointment, you can also send your application and your documents to Migri via email and pay the processing fee into its bank account.
This temporary practice does not concern clients who:
- Are only applying for an alien’s passport.
- Have already been issued with an alien’s passport for obtaining a passport from their home country.
Those whose previous residence permit application was rejected only because they did not have a passport and have appealed the matter at an administrative court or the Supreme Administrative Court must wait until the court decides on their appeals.
This does not prevent customers from reapplying for a residence permit and applying for an alien’s passport at the same time.