Family members of Finnish citizens or foreign nationals eligible for family reunification

Family reunification refers to a residence permit granted to a foreign citizen on the basis of family ties. Family members of Finnish or foreign citizens are eligible for family reunification.

A foreign spouse of a Finnish citizen, a family member of a foreign citizen working or studying in Finland, or a family member of a person who arrived in Finland as a refugee may apply for family reunification. The family member living in Finland with whom the applicant intends to engage in family life is called the sponsor.

Applications for residence permits on the basis of family ties may only be submitted by the applicants themselves, who are living abroad.

The definition of family member is laid down in the Aliens Act. The definition does not correspond to the concept of family in other countries in all cases, because the Finnish concept is narrower than in other countries.

Family members of Finnish citizens and citizens of non-EU countries and comparable family members include the spouse, a partner from a registered partnership, a cohabiting partner, and the guardian of minors under the age of 18 or children.

A broader definition is applied to family members of EU citizens.

Sponsors must be able to support their families

A general precondition for family reunification in Finland is that sponsors are able to provide for their family members. This means that sponsors must have sufficient income. The word sponsor refers to a family member living in Finland with whom the applicant intends to live a family life.

In line with the Aliens Act, all applicants for residence permits are required to have sufficient financial resources. When a family member of a minor who has been granted international protection applies for family reunification, the family member may be granted a residence permit without the sponsor, who is a minor, being required to have sufficient financial resources. In practice, the family member means the person who has custody of the minor. 

Persons who have been granted asylum are also an exception. Their family members are exempt from the requirement of having sufficient financial resources if they apply for family reunification within three months after the sponsor has been informed of the positive asylum decision. The same applies to refugees admitted under the refugee quota. The exception does not apply to family members of beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.

The exception applies only to the existing family of the person who has been granted asylum, i.e. the family that was formed before the asylum seeker arrived in Finland. Secure means of subsistence are always required if the family was formed after the sponsor arrived in Finland.

The approximate amounts of the resources in euros are laid down in the instructions of the Finnish Immigration Service. The amounts are determined together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Family members of Finnish or Nordic citizens have the right to enter Finland even if they do not have sufficient financial resources.