If you have lived in Finland for a minimum of 4 years with a countinuous 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. However, studying in Finland does not count for continuous residence, since the residence permit for studies is always granted for a fixed term (1-2 year at a time).
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 fulfil 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 on 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!
Permanent Residence Permit to Finland
There are basically three requirements for being eligible for permanent residency:
1. You have lived in Finland continuously for four years with a continuous residence permit
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 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:
- on the day of your entry into Finland if you had a continuous residence permit when you came to Finland; or
- on the first day of your first continuous residence permit if you applied for the permit in Finland; or
- on the day of your entry into Finland if you have been granted a continuous residence permit on the basis of refugee status or subsidiary protection.
2. The requirements for granting a continuous residence permit still exist
To get permanent residence permit, you need to fulfil the same requirements that you had for the previous A-permit. To put simple, if your previous A-permit was granted based on working in Finland, you need to have work still when applying for the 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 fulfil the same income requirements as before to be eligible for permanent residency.
3. You haven’t committed serious crimes
A permanent residence permit can be refused in the following cases:
- You have been found guilty of a crime which carries a sentence of imprisonment.
- You are a suspect in a crime which carries a sentence of imprisonment.
- You have been found guilty of two or more crimes.
- You are a suspect in two or more crimes.
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:
- Fill in the application in the Enter Finland online service.
- Attach the required documents to your online application:
- Valid passport
- Passport photo
- Color copies of all passport pages that contain personal data or notes
- Clarification of income that proves sufficient amount of funds (the amount is the same as for your previous A-permit)
- Submit the application and pay the service fee (190 EUR). Optionally you can also pay the fee when you visit the Finnish Immigration Service.
- Book an appointment at the Finnish Immigration Service. You can choose at which service point you wish to book an appointment
- Visit your chosen service point to prove your identity, have your fingerprints taken and show the originals of the documents that you have attached to your application.
- Wait for the processing of the application. It takes around 1-2 months to process the online application. The Immigration Service will contact you if necessary. If you need to complement your application, you can do it online through the Enter Finland service.
- You will get an email or text message when the decision is ready. The decision will also appear in your Enter Finland account.