Finland will reduce the residence permit issuance fees for people who have been unable to leave the country due to the movement restrictions imposed by the Government in the context of the coronavirus epidemic.
The Finnish Ministry of the Interior informed on Wednesday that the Decree on Fees Charged for Services Provided by the Finnish Immigration Service will be temporarily amended.
"Because of the travel restrictions imposed due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, there are people in Finland whose right of residence is about to end or has already ended and who are unable to leave the country. They will be charged a lower fee for the processing of their residence permit application than usual," the department headed by Maria Ohisalo reported in a press release.
Under the decree issued for 2020, the processing fee for a residence permit application is 520 euros for adults and 270 euros for minors. Now the decree will be temporarily amended so that the processing fee is 150 euros for adults and 100 euros for minors in cases where the permit is applied for because of the travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The amendment will enter into force on 22 May 2020 and will remain in force until 31 October 2020. The residence permits granted on the basis of the travel restrictions will also be valid until 31 October 2020 at the latest.
The possible applicants
The Ministry of the Interior explained that possible applicants include people whose visa-free stay, visa, or residence permit has expired.
According to Government information, the Finnish Immigration Service has already received residence permit applications from "people whose departure from Finland has been prevented or significantly hampered" because of the coronavirus crisis.
The Ministry of the Interior considers "it is fair and reasonable to reduce the fees, as these people remain in Finland against their will, the duration of the stay is estimated to be short, and the validity of the permit is also shorter than usual."
If the reason for submitting an application is other than the applicant’s inability to leave the country due to the coronavirus epidemic, the applicant is requested to supplement the application and pay the processing fee for the correct type of application.
The processing fees for residence permit applications are determined annually by decree of the Ministry of the Interior.
Government says the fees charged by the Finnish Immigration Service for a residence permit application must correspond to the cost of processing the application. However, fees can be lowered or completely waived for special reasons or under unusual circumstances like the Covid-19 pandemic.