As a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, UK citizens living in Finland must submit an application for the right of residence in Finland under the withdrawal agreement, the Ministry of the Interior said in a press release.
The Government submitted the bill for approval on Thursday 17 September. The President of the Republic is to approve the bill on Friday and the act will then enter into force on 1 October.
UK citizens who have registered their EU right of residence in Finland have to apply to exchange their previous registration based on the right of residence in the EU for a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. In this way, Finland can verify that they fulfill the conditions of the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. In the future, it will also be easier for these UK citizens to demonstrate in Finland and at the Schengen external border that they enjoy rights under the withdrawal agreement in Finland, the government adds.
Some UK citizens may already have a permanent EU right of residence in Finland if they have resided in Finland for at least five years.
Those UK citizens who have a certificate demonstrating their permanent EU right of residence will not be required to apply for a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. Application is nevertheless recommended for those in this situation so that they too can demonstrate their right of residence as conveniently as possible when going about their business in Finland and at the Schengen external border. The application is free of charge for these people.
Applications for the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement can be submitted to the Finnish Immigration Service from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021. The fees for processing applications will soon be laid down as the Ministry of the Interior is in the process of amending the Decree on Chargeable Services of the Finnish Immigration Service in this respect.
Right of residence granted for life
The act to be adopted now will affect approximately 5,000 UK citizens living in Finland. After having been granted a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, UK citizens may continue their stay in Finland after the transitional period ends at the end of 2020. The right of residence will be granted for life. But it is only valid in Finland.
The withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU entered into force on 1 February 2020 and is directly applicable law in the EU Member States. However, the withdrawal agreement contains provisions, the implementation and application of which must be decided separately by each Member State. The act to be adopted now concerns the implementation and application of the provisions on the right of residence in Finland.
UK citizens moving to Finland after the transition period has ended (after 2020) must apply for a residence permit, similarly to other citizens arriving from non-EU countries.