Living in Finland

Cities

Oleskelulupa puolisolle

Residence permit for a spouse

Spouse of a Finnish citizen

If you are married to a Finnish citizen who lives in Finland, you may be eligible to receive a residence permit in Finland based on family ties. A spouse of the same sex may also be eligible to receive a residence permit if you are married or in a registered partnership.

Common-law spouse of a Finnish citizen

If you live in a common-law relationship (avoliitto) with a Finnish citizen who lives in Finland, you may be eligible to receive a residence permit in Finland based on family ties. You may be eligible for the permit, if:

  • you and your common-law spouse have lived together for at least two years or
  • you and your common-law spouse have a child together (in which case you need not have lived together for the last two years) or
  • there is another important reason why you should be granted the permit.

You and your common-law spouse must be able to prove you have lived together for two years, if this is the basis of your permit application. This can be demonstrated, for example, by a register of occupants or a rental agreement bearing both of your names. If you and your common-law spouse have domiciles in different countries, living together during periods such as holidays is not considered adequate grounds for granting a residence permit. You and your common-law spouse cannot be married to third parties.

Income requirement for a spouse of a Finnish citizen

You are not required to have a guaranteed livelihood if you are a family member of a Finnish citizen. You have an unlimited right to work. You may only start working once your residence permit has been granted.

There is information about applying for a permit in section Applying for a residence permit.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Spouse of a Finnish citizenFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Common law spouse of a Finnish citizenFinnish | Swedish | English

Spouse of a foreign citizen

If your spouse has a residence permit in Finland and he or she lives in Finland, you may be eligible to receive a residence permit in Finland based on family ties. A same-sex spouse may also be eligible for a residence permit.

Common-law spouse of a foreign citizen

If your common-law spouse has a residence permit for Finland and he/she lives in Finland, you may be eligible to receive a residence permit in Finland based on family ties. You may be eligible for the permit, if:

  • you and your common-law spouse have lived together for at least two years or
  • you and your common-law spouse have a child together (in which case you need not have lived together for the past two years)

You and your common-law spouse must be able to prove you have lived together for two years, if this is the basis of your permit application. This can be demonstrated by, for example, a register of occupants or a rental agreement with both your names on it. If you and your common-law spouse have domiciles in different countries, living together during, say, holidays is not considered adequate grounds for granting a residence permit. You and your common-law spouse cannot be married to third parties.

Income requirement for a spouse of a foreign citizen

In order to receive a residence permit in Finland, you or your spouse must also have sufficient income to guarantee your livelihood. At the Finnish Immigration Service website, you can check how much income you need.

If your spouse has gained a residence permit based on international protection but he or she does not hold refugee status, the requirement for sufficient income applies to you.

However, in certain situations, an exception can be made to the income requirement if there are particularly strong grounds or it is in the best interest of a child.

There is information about applying for a permit in section Applying for a residence permit.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Spouse of a foreign citizenFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Common law spouse of a foreign citizenFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Income requirementFinnish | Swedish | English

Spouse of a refugee

If your spouse has a residence permit in Finland based on international protection and he or she holds refugee status, you may be eligible to receive a residence permit in Finland based on family ties.

Common-law spouse of a refugee

If your common-law spouse has a residence permit in Finland based on international protection and he or she holds refugee status, you may be eligible to receive a residence permit in Finland based on family ties. You may be eligible for the permit, if:

  • you and your common-law spouse have lived together for at least two years or
  • you and your common-law spouse have a child together (in which case you need not have lived together for the last two years) or

You and your common-law spouse must be able to prove you have lived together for two years, if this is the basis of your permit application. This can be demonstrated, for example, by a register of occupants or a rental agreement bearing both of your names. If you and your common-law spouse have domiciles in different countries, living together during periods such as holidays is not considered adequate grounds for granting a residence permit. You and your common-law spouse cannot be married to third parties.

Income requirement for a spouse of a refugee

The income requirement is applied to you differently if your spouse has received his or her residence permit based on international protection and he or she holds refugee status in Finland. You are not required to have a guaranteed livelihood:

  • If your spouse gained asylum or refugee status before 1 July 2016 and you formed your family before he or she came to Finland.
  • If your spouse has gained, or will gain, a refugee status on 1 July 2016 or later, you must apply for a residence permit within three months of your spouse receiving refugee status. The three-month period is counted starting from the day when your spouse received his or her decision for information.

If, for reasons beyond your control, you are unable to apply for your residence permit within three months, you can still apply for family reunification. Explain in your application why you have exceeded the three-month limit.

You can also apply for family reunification later, but, in this case, the requirement of sufficient livelihood will be applied to you. The income requirement also applies to you if you have married after your spouse came to Finland.

However, in certain situations, an exception can be made to the income requirement if there are particularly strong grounds or it is in the best interest of a child.

There is information about applying for a permit in section Applying for a residence permit.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Spouse of a recipient of international protectionFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Common law spouse of a recipient of international protectionFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Income requirement for family members of a person who has been granted international protectionFinnish | Swedish | English

Partner in a relationship

A residence permit is not usually granted to unmarried partners who do not live together. According to Finnish law, partners in such a relationship are not considered family members.

In some cases, however, you may be eligible for a temporary (B) residence permit in Finland based on a romantic relationship. In order for you to receive such a residence permit in Finland, the relationship between you and your partner must be established. Proof of an established relationship would be, for example, intent to marry each other in Finland.

To satisfy these conditions, neither you nor your partner may be married to a third party.

In order to obtain a residence permit, you must have sufficient funds to secure your income. These funds must be at your free disposal, for example in a bank account under your own name. The income of your partner residing in Finland will not be considered.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Relationship partner of a Finnish citizenFinnish | Swedish | English

Applying for a residence permit

Usually, you must apply for the first residence permit before you come to Finland. Apply for the permit in your home country or another country where you are residing legally.You can also apply for a residence permit in Finland if your spouse is a Finnish citizen and you are a citizen of a visa-free country, i.e. you do not need a visa to come to Finland.

You can apply for a permit online through the Enter Finland service. After applying, you must visit the closest Finnish diplomatic mission or a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service to prove your identity, and present original copies of the application appendices. You must visit a Finnish diplomatic mission or service point within three months of submitting the application online. The application cannot be processed until you have visited the Finnish diplomatic mission or service point. You usually need to make an appointment in advance to visit a diplomatic mission or service point.

Remember to check your Enter Finland account regularly. If further clarifications are needed, you will be informed through your account.

If you are unable to apply online, you can bring a paper application form and its appendices to the closest Finnish diplomatic mission or, in Finland, to a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service. You can print out the application form from the Finnish Immigration Service website.

A residence permit is subject to a fee. You must pay the fee when applying for the permit.

linkkiEnterfinland.fi:
Electronic applicationFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiMinistry for Foreign Affairs:
Finnish Diplomatic Missions abroadFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Electronic appointment bookingFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Service points of the Finnish Immigration ServiceFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Permit application processing timesFinnish | Swedish | English

Finnish personal ID code

When you apply for your first residence permit for Finland, you can ask to be registered in the Finnish Population Information System. You will then receive a Finnish personal ID code when you get your residence permit. You can find more information about the personal ID code on the Infopankki page Registering as a resident.

If your spouse is refused a residence permit

Your spouse will not be granted a residence permit, if he/she does not meet the prerequisites for a residence permit. The permit can also be refused if Finnish officials deem the spouses to have entered into matrimony purely for the sake of the residence permit with no intention of leading a family life together. Officials may suspect that you have married purely for the sake of a residence permit, for example if you married after a short courtship, there is a large age difference between you or one of you has had several short marriages. If you receive a negative residence permit decision, you may file an appeal to the Administrative Court. Appeal instructions are appended to the notification letter.

Read more about residence permit problems on the Infopankki page Residence permit problems.