Finland – Covid-19 – Immigration update

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Update: March 31th, 2020

Deadline extended for proving identity during residence permit application process

What is the change?

Finland has extended the deadline for residence permit applicants who need to prove their identity at a Finish consulate in order to have their permit processed.

Key points:

  • The time limit for proving identities, a required part of the resident permit application process, has been extended to August 31, 2020 for individuals who are abroad and cannot undertake the normal process because of COVID-19.
  • The new time limit is subject to change, depending on what happens during this emergency period.
  • Once emergency conditions are lifted, individuals will be able to begin booking appointments to prove their identities. Such announcements can be found on these sites: Ministry for Foreign Affairs and customer bulletins.
  • Those interested in canceling a residence permit application can do so at the following website: migri.fi/en/cancelling-an-application.

Under normal circumstances, resident permit applicants abroad are required to go to a Finnish mission within three months of applying for their permit to prove their identities. Because of COVID-19, these missions are temporarily no longer processing new applications. Individuals can submit resident permit applications online via Enter Finland, which is provided by the Finnish Immigration Service. Application processing begins after the applicant has proven her or his identity. Pending resident permit applications are still being processed.

The new time limit extension will allow resident permit applicants abroad more time to prove their identities in order to complete their resident permit applications. While this is good news, applicants should note that their permits will not be processed until they can complete this step of the application process. Employers may need to adjust schedules because delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update: March 20, 2020

Finnish missions abroad have stopped accepting new visa and residence permit applications temporarily due to Covid-19 situation; Finnish Immigration Service urges customers to use online services whenever possible

What is the change?

As of 19 March 2020 Finnish missions abroad have temporarily stopped accepting any new visa and residence permit applications due to current Corona situation. In addition, proving the identity is not temporarily possible at the Finnish missions abroad as of 19 March.

Already submitted residence permit applications will be processed normally. The already submitted visa applications will not be processed further and the passports will be returned to the customers. This does not apply to Russia where all the already submitted visa applications will be processed. The visa fees will not be refunded.

Online services should be used whenever possible

Finnish Immigration Service urges all the customers to use online services whenever possible and to avoid visiting the service points for time being.

Most applications can be submitted online in ‘Enter Finland’ and it is important to notice that the application becomes pending immediately after submitting it in ‘Enter Finland’. After submitting the application there are three months time to visit a service point to prove your identity.

Additional documents can also be submitted in ‘Enter Finland’ or be sent by post/email and do not require a visit to the service point. Also the processing fees can be paid in Enter Finland service.

Extended permits

When applying for an extended permit, a visit to the service point may not be necessary at all. A strong electronic identification can be used in ‘Enter Finland’ by logging in to the system with the online banking credentials, citizen certificate or mobile certificate. The online service will inform the user if a visit to the service point is required or is the strong electronic identification enough.

Schengen visas

If an individual has arrived in Finland with a Schengen visa but is unable to leave the country due to Corona situation within the validity of the visa, the local police should be contacted before the visa has expired. Local police may extend the visas in case of force majeure or humanitarian reasons e.g. serious illness. Police considers each case individually.

The announcement of the authorities for not accepting any new applications abroad may cause issues with booking of the appointments for submitting the applications after terminating the special arrangements. Therefore, the application processes should be started well in advance and the appointments should be booked as early as possible. Customers should follow the instructions of the authorities and avoid visiting the Finnish Immigration Service´s service points whenever possible.

 

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