Finnish or foreign citizens 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, a secure means of subsistence is required for all applicants for residence permits.

Derogations to means of subsistence requirements may be made in individual cases if there are exceptionally serious grounds, or if the welfare of a child so requires.

An exception are asylum seekers who may, within three months of the date on which the sponsor received confirmation of being granted asylum, apply for family reunification without requirements on means of subsistence. The same applies to refugees admitted under the refugee quota.

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 required, in euros, are determined by the Finnish Immigration Service and 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.