If the United Kingdom leaves the EU without an agreement, the British citizens residing in Finland will be considered as third country nationals from 30 March 2019 onwards. This means that their right to reside in Finland will no longer be based on the EU citizenship but instead requires a residence permit, which is not granted automatically. In the worst case, the right to reside in the country could be lost altogether.
According to the Deputy Director General Raimo Pyysalo of Finnish Immigration Service preparations are being taken by the EU and on a national level.
– The EU Commission has already issued a regulation giving British citizens 90 days visa-free travel, extending their right of residence. In addition, Finland is drafting a special act, which would prolong the right of residence until the end of 2020, Pyysalo says.
The aim of the special act would be to give enough time on the one hand for the British citizens living in Finland to apply for residence permit, and on the other hand for the Immigration Service to process the applications so that every applicant would be issued a decision before the act expires. Special act applies to all British citizens who have registered their right of residence no later than 29 March 2019.
Finnish Immigration Service recommends registering as soon as possible.
– We have so far recommended to register as EU-citizens, if one has not done it yet. Since no official decision on Brexit has not yet been made, we so far do not encourage to apply for residence permit straight away, since there is still a chance for the UK remaining in the EU.
So far Finnish Immigration Service has not instructed Finnish employers on Brexit. In case the United Kingdom leaves the EU, British citizens working in Finland will need a work-based residence permit.
– Work-based residence permit requires, for instance, a sufficient level of income, which can be proven by a pay slip. In addition, the residence permit application must include an attachment filled by one’s employer. Otherwise the special act, and the temporary right of residence provided by it, allows one to live normally in Finland until the residence permit has been issued or until the end of 2020, Pyysalo says.
Approximately 4500 Brits were living in Finland in 2017 according to Statistics Finland.
If you have not yet registered your right of residence:
If you are not sure about whether you have registered your right of residence or not:
Are you a citizen of both the UK and another EU/EEA country?
More information: Finnish Immigration Service