When should citizens from EU countries register as residents?
EU citizens can stay in Finland for a period up to three months without applying for the right residence, but this changes in the case of longer stays. Those who intend to stay more than three months need to register at the Finnish Immigration Service.
Citizens from EU countries, Switzerland and Liechtenstein can travel to Finland freely and stay for a maximum period of three months without any residence permit or visa. A valid passport or ID card issued by the authorities of their country of origin allows to enter the country and work, study, trade or manage any kind of business in the same terms as locals. The only pre-requisite is that those visitors must ensure their subsistence by themselves.
But this situation changes in case of longer stays: according to the Finnish law, those who intend to stay for a period longer than three months must register to get the right of residence at the Finnish Immigration Service or Maahanmuuttovirasto (Migri, in its short denomination). In this case the country of origin doesn’t make any difference, registration is mandatory also for EU citizens and their family members. It is important to point that the three-months-period starts counting since the last time the person was outside the country borders.
EU citizens who are willing to stay in Finland for more than three months and register as residents are obliged to fulfill at least one of the following requirements: they must have a work place or run an operating business, long term family ties or enough resources to guarantee that they will pay for their economic sustainability and not become a burden for the social security system.
The process to achieve the right of residence is simple for citizens of the European Union member states and can be almost completed online. Still, it is subjected to the payment of a fee (currently 54 euros) and it includes a visit to a Migri’s office to verify the applicant’s identity. Those who plan to live permanently in Finland (at least one for year or more) must visit also the Local Registration Office (Maistraatti) and their data will be added into the Finnish Population Information system.
For registration purposes, citizens of Switzerland and Liechtenstein are treated as EU citizens. And the citizens from the other Nordic Countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) don’t need to apply for the right of residence, for them it is enough with the visit to their Local Registration Office.
How to register online as a resident
The application to the Finnish Immigration Service must be submitted within three months from the date of arrival. To do it, the first step is to visit the webpage ENTER FINLAND. This is the digital service for the customers of the Finnish Immigration Service and will lead you through the process.
Enter Finland allows to fill in an online application and pay the fee. To do that, just follow the next steps:
- Click on ‘EU registration’ and then at the bottom of the page select the option ‘Registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence’.
- The next step is to create a user account, but before that it is important to check that you have all the necessary documents and information to attach to your application: a valid passport or identity card; in the case of workers, a certificate of employment or a document that demonstrates employment relationship; if you are an entrepreneur or self-employer, information about your activity. Students must proof that they are registered at a Finnish educational institution and covered by a health insurance; for the those who are neither employees nor running a business, information about how will ensure his/her livelihood.
- Once you have created your account, enter the system, fill in the online application form and if you want you can already pay the fee. Attach to your application all the documents needed and select the office of Migri that you want to visit to prove your identity. This requirement must be met within three months after submitting the application. Service points are available in Helsinki, Lahti, Tampere, Raisio, Lappeenranta, Vaasa, Kuopio, Oulu, Rovaniemi, and the Åland Islands. Keep in mind that service points may have many pending applications, so if you are going to apply for the right of residence it is a good idea to book an appointment as soon as possible. You can do it even before submitting your applicantion using Migri’s appointment facility, by clicking HERE.
- After fulfilling the electronic process, wait for the date of your visit to Migri’s service point. Remember to carry on your passport, ID card and the original versions of any attachments required for your application. If you do it, you will not have any problems at the office and the process will be finished in few minutes. The registration fee can be also paid at Migri’s service point in cash or with a credit card if you have not done it yet.
- At the office of the Finnish Immigration Service you will be informed that, if you intend to stay permanently (for a year or longer) you also have to visit your Local Registration Office (Maistraatti). This is the organism that, among other tasks, acts as a Civil Registry and is responsible for maintaining the Finnish Population Information System. Remember to bring with you the certificate of registration that you got from Migri and your passport.
- Finnish Immigration authorities recommend applicants to follow the processing of their applications through the e-service of Enter Finland. In your account, you will receive any notifications related to additional documents or requirements. You will also receive a communication when a decision has been made.
If you are unable to register online you can apply for registration in person:
- Print the registration form from the Finnish Immigration Service website. You can find it HERE.
- Fill it in advance carefully. Keep in mind that applications filled incorrectly or which contain untrue information will not be processed.
- Book an appointment (preferably in advance) at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service website, HERE.
- When the day comes, bring with you the filled-in registration form, the passport or ID Card and any other needed documents.
- The rest of the process is the same as for online applicants.