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British citizens in Finland must apply for a right of residence under the UK's withdrawal agreement no later than 30 September.

By the end of August, a total of 3,923 so-called Brexit permit applications had been submitted.

The estimated number of British citizens in Finland currently stands at approximately 5,000.

'As the deadline for submissions draws closer, we are still expecting to receive a large number of applications from British citizens', said Senior Adviser Mika Walldén.

British citizens residing in Finland must apply to the Finnish Immigration Service for a right of residence in order to continue their legal residence in Finland past the 30 September deadline. The application period for Brexit permits opened in October 2020, with submissions accepted until 30 September 2021.

With the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, British citizens are considered so-called third-country nationals. Non-EU nationals need a residence permit for stays in Finland exceeding 90 days.

British citizens moving to Finland from abroad already require a residence permit

The Brexit permit is only intended for British citizens who resided in Finland before the end of the so-called transition period. The transition period, which concluded at the end of 2020, refers to the time during which EU free movement rules continued to apply to British citizens as they had before Brexit.

Under the withdrawal agreement, British citizens apply for the right of residence or the right of permanent residence, depending on the duration of their previous residence in Finland. Some family members of British citizens are also required to apply for a residence permit.

To date, the Finnish Immigration Service has issued 2,280 decisions regarding Brexit permits. In the majority of these cases, the applicant has been granted the right of residence.

Following the end of the transition period, i.e. as of 1 January 2021, British citizens moving to Finland have applied for residence permits on grounds including employment and studies in the same way as other non-EU nationals. Between January and August 2021, 256 British citizens intending to move to Finland applied for a residence permit for work, studies, family or other reasons.

Right of residence continues for those who submit their applications by the deadline

Generally, Brexit applications are processed within six months. However, processing times may be longer in some cases due to a backlog of applications. If an application was submitted more than six months ago, processing can take up to 10–14 months. In any case, it is crucial that all applications are submitted by the deadline.

'We ask that applicants wait patiently for the decision. Once the application has been submitted, the applicant's right of residence in Finland is valid until processing has been completed, and they may continue to work or study as before', said Walldén, adding that the fastest way to submit an application is via the Enter Finland online service.

The application finder available on the migri.fi website helps applicants select the correct application and permit category. In order to ensure that the processing of their application is as seamless as possible, applicants should make sure to include all required information and attachments.

Fact sheet: Brexit

  • 1 February 2020: The EU–UK withdrawal agreement enters into force, marking the beginning of a transition period during which EU free movement rules continue to apply to British citizens as they had before Brexit.
  • 1 October 2020: Applications open for the so-called Brexit permit, intended for British citizens wishing to continue their residence in Finland after the transition period. The deadline for Brexit permit applications is 30 September 2021.
  • 31 December 2020: The transition period ends. As of 1 January 2021, British citizens moving to Finland have been required to apply for a residence permit in the same way as other third-country nationals.
  • 30 September 2021: Deadline for applications for a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement by British citizens resident in Finland before the end of the transition period.

Source: Finnish Immigration Service