What is the change? The Finnish Immigration Service will take responsibility from local police for processing in-country permit applications, including residence permit applications, beginning Jan. 1.

What does the change mean? Foreign nationals submitting applications after Jan. 1 should book an appointment to do so at one of nine Immigration Service service points. Those submitting applications before Jan. 1 should do so at a local police station. Applications that are pending as of Jan. 1 will automatically be transferred to the Immigration Service. No action on the part of the applicant will be required.

  • Implementation time frame: Jan. 1.
  • Who is affected: Anyone applying in-country for a residence permit or citizenship; EU nationals completing registration upon arriving in Finland; refugees seeking travel documents, among others.
  • Impact on processing times: It is difficult to predict how the changes will impact processing times. There may be some delays associated with the change in responsibilities, but in some cases applications may be processed more quickly.
  • Next steps: Those intending to submit applications after Jan. 1 may now book appointments online.

Background: Authorities recently announced that beginning Jan. 1, the Finnish Immigration Service will take over the following responsibilities from local police:

  • Residence permit processing, including processing of initial, extended and permanent residence permit applications.
  • Reception and processing of citizenship applications and declarations.
  • Registration of EU nationals and processing of applications for EU national family member residence cards.
  • Processing of refugee travel documents and alien passports.

Information on the location of the nine service points is available on this website.

BAL Analysis: Anyone needing any of the services listed above should be sure to take note of the changes that will be implemented Jan. 1. While it is difficult to predict how the changes will affect processing times, applicants may want to build extra time into their schedules to account for possible delays. Applicants may also have to travel greater distances when submitting applications, given that they will only be processed at nine service points beginning in January.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Finland. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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