Family ties are the main reason to settle in Finland for thousands of foreigners every year. According to the latest numbers provided by the European statistical office (Eurostat), in 2017 the Finnish authorities issued 8.762 first residence permits to non-EU citizens on this bases (34.9% of the total permits issued).
To get a Finnish residence card is much easier if you are a family member of a Finn or a family member of a citizen of another European Union (EU) country. Here you can learn the requirements to apply for this benefit.
If you are yourself an EU citizen, you do not need a residence permit to settle in Finland. However, if you intend to stay for longer than three months you must register for the right of residence. You can learn how to do it HERE
For non-EU citizens
In case that you are not an EU citizen but you are a family member of an EU citizen who lives permanently in Finland, then you have the right to apply for a residence card for a family member of an EU citizen (perheenjäsenen oleskelukortti, in Finnish language).
As a family member of an EU citizen you will have some advantages compared to other immigrants. One of the most outstanding benefits is that you have the right to start working immediately after your arrival.
According to the information published by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), you can apply for a residence card for a family member of an EU citizen if you are a family member of a Finn or another citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, but you yourself are not an EU citizen. This information is valid if your intention is to stay in Finland for longer than three months.
Spouses or cohabiting partners
As a general rule, the easiest way to get this benefit is if you are a spouse or a cohabiting partner of a Finn or another EU citizen. This is applicable for persons living continuously in a marriage-like relationship in the same household, regardless of their sex. Still, to apply for the residence card you must meet one of the following requirements:
- The persons have lived together in the same household for at least two years.
- They have a child in their joint custody.
- They can be considered to be cohabiting partners for another weighty reason.
Dependent children or ascendants
You can also apply for this type of permit if you are under 21 years of age or a dependent child. In this case, the person must be a direct descendant –for instance a child or grandchild- of an EU citizen or her/his spouse.
You can also get this benefit if you are a dependent older relative. In this case, to fulfil the requirements Migri demands that you must be a relative in a direct ascending line as a mother, father or grandparent who is dependent on an EU citizen or his/her spouse.
If the EU citizen living in Finland is younger than 18 years and you are his/her guardian.
For other relatives
Other relatives might be treated also as family members of EU citizens regardless of their nationality if:
- In the country of departure they are dependent of an EU citizen who has the primary right of residence, or if the relative lived in the same household with the EU citizen in question. However, other relatives of an EU citizen’s spouse are not usually treated as the EU citizen´s family members.
- Serious health grounds absolutely require the EU citizen in question to give the relative personal care.
Persons who started a relationship with Finnish citizens in other EU countries
If your family member is a Finnish national who has used her/his right to free movement and lived in another EU country and you want to come to Finland to live with him/her, the requirements are the following:
- Your family member must have lived in another EU member state for longer than three months.
- You have lived together or the relationship that made you each other’s family members began when you both were living in another EU country.
This means that you had to be a family already before your arrival in Finland. In other words, the relationship that made you each other’s family members must have begun before you move to Finland. You and your Finnish family member need to have lived in a partnership or led a family life in another EU member state. In this case you will not be required to present documentation of sufficient funds in order to get your residence card.
You need a valid passport
When you travel to Finland, you can come with a visa or visa-free, depending on your country of origin. But in any case you will need to be the holder of a valid passport. It is important to point also that you can only get a residence card when your family member, who is an EU citizen, resides also in Finland.
Submit electronic or download paper application forms
There are two ways to apply for a residence card for a family member of an EU citizen. You can do it via internet or by filling a paper form.
To do it electronically you must use the Enter Finland service, this is the digital service for the customers of the Finnish Immigration Service. You can access it by clicking HERE
To use the Enter Finland service you must create your own account by using online banking credentials or just by providing a valid email address. Once you have created your account you can log in regularly and follow the processing of your application.
You can also apply by using a paper application form and bring it to a Migri’s office. The application form for a residence card of a family member of an EU citizen can be downloaded HERE
You must pay an application fee
When submitting your application you will be also required to pay a processing fee. The fees for both electronic and paper application is the same, 54€.
Electronic applications may be processed faster, though this may vary depending of each case. According to the information provided at the Finnish Immigration Service website, once your application has been accepted the estimated processing times are 2-6 months for electronic applications and 3-7 months for paper applications.
The Finnish authorities can deny you the residence card if they think your presence in the country can be a problem for public order, general security or public health.