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If you have lived in Finland for a minimum of 4 years with a continuous residence permit, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit. As a permanent resident, you will have a status comparable to Finnish citizens: you are entitled to public healthcare, public education, and social security benefits, among others. A permanent residence permit is valid until further notice. In other words, its period of validity is not limited.
You need to live in Finland continuously before a permanent residence permit is granted. This means that you have had a reason for residing in Finland for at least 4 years – the reason can be e.g. continuous employment and/or family relations. Students may now be granted residence permits for the duration of their studies, due to recent legislation that went into effect on April 15, 2022. Students will be able to apply for a two-year work permit following graduation. The students are eligible for an A-type continuous residence permit.
If you’re a student, you need to obtain a continuous residence permit after graduation before you can start applying for permanent residency. For students, this requirement is easiest to fulfill by working full-time for a Finnish employee for 4 years. Please read more about working in Finland as a student or graduate from one of our blog posts. Finnish job markets have high needs for international talents in many fields, so working in Finland and obtaining the Finnish permanent residency will not be an issue if you really want to settle in Finland!
There are basically three requirements for being eligible for permanent residency:
To fulfil the required 4-year time period, you first need to acquire the A-permit (continuous residence permit) in Finland. If you are working in Finland, this 4-year period starts to roll when you have secured a permanent (not fixed-term) job in Finland.
Your residence permit is regarded as continuous if you have stayed in Finland without interruptions for 4 years. Short absences from the country are accepted – you may still have normal holidays or other travels without them affecting the 4-year residence period. Your residence in Finland is continuous if you have resided at least a half of the period of validity of your residence permit in Finland.
The 4-year continuous residence can also be fulfilled with more than one shorter permits (for example, 2 x 2-year permit), as long as they are A-permits (continuous) and not B-permits (temporary). The Finnish Immigration Service will assess the quality and lenght of your stay when you make the application for the permanent residence permit.
The requirement of the previous A-permit is mandatory for securing permanent residency. For example, students cannot apply directly for permanent residency after graduation, since their previous student residence permit is a temporary B-permit. If you secure a permanent job after graduation, meaning that you have an employment contract that is not fixed-term, you may then be granted the continuous A-permit for 1-4 years. If it’s granted for less than 4 years, you can apply for an extension for the A-permit if your work continues. Then, after 4 years with the A-permit, you might already be eligible for the permanent residency!
The time period of four years begins:
To get a permanent residence permit, you need to fulfill the same requirements that you had for the previous A-permit. To put it simply, if your previous A-permit was granted based on working in Finland, you need to have work still when applying for permanent residency. However, The grounds of your A-permit can change during the 4 years’ time. For example, if you get married, the grounds of your residence permit can change from work to family ties, but the permit is still regarded as continuous.
You will also need to fulfill the same income requirements as before to be eligible for permanent residency.
A permanent residence permit can be refused in the following cases:
Apply for a permanent residence permit before your previous A-permit expires. Please reserve some time for the processing of your application. However, it is not recommend to send the application earlier than 3 months before completing your four-year period of residence. You are allowed to legally reside in Finland while your application is being processed, as long as you have made the new application in time.
Read about the process of obtaining the Permanent Residence permit below: