Brexit and UK citizens working and living in Finland

The UK withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020. A transition period, which will continue until the end of 2020, began at that point. What does this mean for the UK citizens living in Finland?

The EU–UK withdrawal agreement entered into force on 1 February 2020. The rights of citizens under the withdrawal agreement, including the right of residence, will be determined on the basis of the moment of the end of the transition period, i.e. on 31 December 2020.

Applying the right of residence for the UK citizens working and living in Finland

  1. UK citizens who have already registered their EU right of residence in Finland have to apply to exchange their previous registration based on the right of residence in the EU for a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement.
  2. UK citizens who have been granted permanent EU residence rights in Finland before 1 January 2021, and who have a certificate demonstrating this, will be able to apply to change their status to the permanent right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. The permanent EU right of residence requires that a person has resided in Finland for a period of 5 years.
    • Update 2.11.2020: All UK citizens, including those who have a document certifying a permanent right of EU residence in Finland, must exchange that document for a residence permit card. In Finland, this was initially incorrectly interpreted as a recommendation rather than an obligation. More information: Ministry of the Interior.
  3. UK citizens moving to Finland between 1 October and 31 December 2020 can no longer register as EU citizens. They will have to apply directly for the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. However, they must apply for the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement by 31 December 2020.
  4. UK citizens moving to Finland after 31 December 2020: The entry will be restricted compared to the earlier status of EU citizens. After that date, the provisions on third-country nationals will be applied on entry. The EU directive on free movement will no longer apply to them. The EU and the UK will discuss the arrangements in further detail during 2020.

The right of residence

A residence permit card is valid for five years. After having been granted a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, UK citizens may then continue to reside in Finland after the transition period. A right of residence will be granted for life unless the person ceases to fulfill the conditions of the right of residence.

The more detailed procedure and timetables are being decided on by an act currently under preparation in Finland. The objective is that applications can be submitted between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021. We follow the situation and will provide further information as soon as it’s clear.

Do you need help with the registrations of your employee? Contact us!


Sources and more information:

Ministry of the Interior: Consequences of Brexit

Finnish Immigration Service: About Brexit


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