Registered UK citizens’ right of residence will be protected until the end of 2020
UK citizens’ right of residence after Brexit will be protected by a special act. The Government submitted the act for approval on Thursday 28 March, and the President of the Republic will approve it on Friday.
The special act was prepared for the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit in which the UK withdraws on 12 April from the EU without an agreement or transition period. It is estimated that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, some 5,000 UK citizens would have to apply for a Finnish residence permit at very short notice. Some of them would not necessarily meet the requirements for obtaining a residence permit.
"Finland is not closing its doors to UK citizens. The purpose of the act is to make sure that Brits who have settled here can continue to stay and live in Finland even if the UK withdraws without an agreement," says Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen.
Under the special act, UK citizens who are living in Finland and who have registered their right of residence as EU citizens may continue to stay, live, work and study in the country and receive social security benefits until the end of 2020. This way they will have additional time to prepare for the new situation.
UK citizens living in Finland are advised to register their right of residence with the Finnish Immigration Service as soon as possible if they have not already done so. Those who have citizenship of another EU or EEA Member State should register their right of residence on the basis of that citizenship. Instructions for registration can be found on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service at migri.fi/brexit.
The special act and the continued right of residence after the withdrawal apply only to those UK citizens who have registered before the final withdrawal date. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK citizens who have not registered and wish to continue their stay in Finland must apply for a residence permit for a third-country national. In this case, they will not have the right to reside in the country as of 13 April unless the EU and the United Kingdom agree on visa-free travel, which would permit them to reside legally in the country for another 90 days. UK citizens who come to Finland as of 13 April and who have not registered their stay before this date would be subject to the same provisions on entry into the country as other third-country nationals.
The special act will enter into force on 30 March 2019. It would apply from the date on which the UK withdraws from the EU without an agreement.
The United Kingdom may still decide to approve the withdrawal agreement, in which case it would not withdraw from the EU until 22 May. This option would not cause any changes for UK citizens living in Finland before the end of 2020. The rights of citizens under the withdrawal agreement, such as the right of residence, would be determined based on their situation at the end of the transition period, i.e. on 31 December 2020, so that they must have resided in the country both before and after the end of the transition period.
Jarmo Tiukkanen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 606, [email protected] (29 March)
Jorma Kantola, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 215, [email protected] (28 March)
Titta Andersson-Bohren, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 513 1539, [email protected] (requests for interviews with Minister Mykkänen)