Finland – Changes to Finnish Immigration Process for Non EU Resident Permit

Finland has announced changes regarding the immigration process for non EU resident permits beginning January 1, 2017.   These changes include the delegation of processing all foreign resident applications to the Finnish Immigration Service and the submission of resident permit applications available online.

Beginning January 1, 2017, all foreign resident permits will be handled by the Finnish Immigration Service.  Currently, only the first resident permit is processed by Finnish Immigration services, and the rest, such as extensions and permanent resident permits, are processed by the local police in Finland, which contains a foreign affairs section.  There are nine Finnish Immigration Service locations available in Finland. The final decision of applications will be sent to Helsinki.  Applications from abroad must be sent to a Finnish Embassy of where the foreign national is located.

Also, beginning in 2017, all resident permit application may be submitted online, including family members.  Currently the online submission is only available for employment purposes.  The benefits of using the online portal are:

  • Faster processing times;
  • May follow approval process online, missing documents, or questions from the immigration officer; and
  • The application fee is usually 50€ less than paper submission.

Please note, paper submissions will still be available.  The downside to using the online portal is that the applicant must fill in the application themselves.  Every time the applicant logs into their application, a verification code will be sent to their phone that was entered to create the account.  Supporting documents must also be scanned in with the application, so coordinating to receive the documents in time to send the application is crucial.  Also, once the application is submitted, there can be no changes.  If there are problems with a document, only the immigration officer has the right to make the modification.

Regardless of online or paper submission, the applicant will still need to visit the Finnish Immigration service point or Finnish Embassy to leave bio metric records and show the original documents.