Entry conditions

Living in Europe | Entry conditions/visas | Finland

Immigration formalities

Are you moving to Finland? The following provides information about immigration formalities and the documents you will need.

If you are a foreign national and plan to work in gainful employment in Finland, you will need a residence permit. If you want to run your own business or freelance in Finland, you must have a residence permit for a self-employed person. There are some exceptions: these include professionals working on temporary assignments or in scientific research.

For more detailed information, go to the Finnish Immigration Service website.

Immigration formalities for EU citizens

After registering the right to residence in Finland at the Finnish Immigration Service, all immigrants must also register at their Finnish local Register Office (Maistraatti).

Immigration formalities for Nordic citizens

Nordic citizens do not need to register with the Finnish Immigration Service, but are required to register at their Finnish local Register Office (Maistraatti) in case their stay exceeds six months. A written certificate of registration will be issued after the authorities have established that the requirements for registration are met.

Immigration formalities for citizens from other countries

There are some exceptions to the requirement of a residence permit for gainful employment. For example, interpreters, teachers and experts who have been invited or who have a contract to work in Finland for no longer than three months do not need a residence permit. In these cases, one must, however, have a valid visa if coming from a country that does not have reciprocal visa exemption arrangement with Finland.

Visa

Residence permit

Upon arrival, regardless of nationality, one must register at their Finnish local Register Office (Maistraatti)

When to apply for documents

We recommend that you to start the application process at least 2-3 months before you plan to travel to Finland. Processing times for different applications vary. You should be aware that the process cannot be started until the Embassy or Consulate has received all the required paperwork.

Immigration formalities for family members

Residence permits can be granted to family members on the condition that the main applicant has a guaranteed income from sources other than state benefits. Notice that the definition of family member in Finnish legislation may be narrower than in other countries.

If you wish to bring your spouse/partner and family to Finland, it is recommended to submit all the applications at the same time. If the spouse/partner and family members submit their applications later, the processing times are substantially longer.

In order to register your family members with the Finnish authorities, you will need to provide apostilled documents. The minimum requirement to start the registration process is your marriage certificate and birth certificates for children.

Registration of EU citizens’ and family members’ residence cards

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.

With regard to the definition of a family member, the family members of Finnish citizens have the same status as family members of citizens of third countries. The broader definition for EU citizens is not applicable in this case.

What documents to bring

Bring your marriage certificate and your children’s birth certificates (apostilled documents). It’s important that you bring original versions of your documents. No matter how insignificant a document may seem, bring it along; you never know when you might need it.

In Finland it is often required that copies of documents concerning your work experience, such as letters of reference and degree diplomas, are authenticated. This means you will need to show the originals either to a public official who can authenticate them, or to two people (e.g. colleagues) who will sign and authenticate the copies (after checking the originals).

Importation of removal goods

If you are planning to bring your car or pets to Finland, contact the Customs Information Service to check the required formalities.