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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

How to apply for a residence permit to Finland - Embassy of Finland, Abuja : Services : How to apply


9 Iro Dan Musa Street, Asokoro, Abuja, Nigeria
Visas, residence permits only: +234 (0) 81 7245 46 44 (Mon-Thu, 1 pm – 4 pm)
Visa, residence permit and legalization e-mail:
General Line: +234 (0) 803 785 1150 (office hours)
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How to apply for a residence permit to Finland

Residence permit application instructions in brief

  1. Visit the website of the Finnish Immigration Service. Go through the instructions found there.
  2. Do you have to legalize anything? If yes, do so at this point according to Embassy of Finland legalization instructions. Please notice than an appointment at the Embassy can be booked only when the required legalizations are completed.
  3. Once any legalizations have been completed, request a residence permit appointment from
  4. Fill out an application form either as an electronic online application, or a paper application. Print the filled out application form (even if you applied electronically) and gather all required attachments.
  5. Send the application form and all original documents to the Embassy two weeks in advance of the appointment date.
  6. Pay the residence permit processing fee. Visit the payment instructions.
  7. Arrive for the residence permit appointment. Bring with you a receipt of payment of the processing fee as well as two sets of photocopies of all documents submitted in advance.
  8. After the appointment, wait for the Finnish Immigration Service to process your application. You will be informed once a decision has been made.
  9. When the decision comes out the Embassy will contact you by e-mail regarding collection of it. Follow the instructions.

Filling the application

Residence permit application based on employment and study can be filled online. Online application requires

The decision to grant a permit rests with the Finnish Immigration Service. Honorary Consuls cannot receive applications.

Applications must be carefully completed and signed. All necessary attachments must be obtained in advance before filing the application. Applications may be submitted in Finnish, Swedish or English. All attachments must be translated into one of these languages. Please note that the applicant must be fluent in the language in which the application is submitted, or bring a qualified interpreter with them to the interview. Relatives of the applicant will not be accepted as interpreters.

Below you can find a sample filled out application form for Family Reunification - Spouse of a foreigner resident in Finland. All application forms are available on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service.

pdfSample application form Residence permit

What documents do I need for the application?

The required documents to be attached to the residence permit application depend on the grounds on which you are applying for a residence permit. For information on what documents are required for your application, please visit the Finnish Immigration Service website

The passport photo submitted as an attachment to your application must comply with the requirements set by the Finnish Police for passport photos. You can view the requirements on the website of the Finnish Police.

DO NOT staple the passport photo. Passport photos with staple marks on them will not be accepted, and you will be required to obtain new ones.

Scheduling an appointment

All applicants need to come to the Embassy personally for their residence permit application to be intitiated. Applicants are received at the Embassy by appointment only. Appointment times can bee requested by e-mail at Appointments may not be booked by telephone. In the e-mail requesting an appointment time, kindly list the name of the applicant, their date of birth, nationality, and grounds for applying, such as for example studies or family re-union. In case the application requires legalization of documents, please confirm in your e-mail that the required legalizations have been completed at the Embassy of Finland in Abuja and that you have done the registration of the legalized documents in Maistraatti. Additionally, you can also include in the e-mail a preferred time frame for the appointment, and the Embassy will accommodate your preference if a suitable time slot is available.

In order to avoid any unnecessary delays in processing your appointment request, kindly also include the following information in your appointment request e-mail, depending on the grounds on which you are applying:

  • Studies: scan and attach a copy of your admission letter from the Finnish school
  • Family re-union - spouse: inform where you have legalized your marriage certificate (e.g. Embassy of Finland in Abuja)
  • Family re-union - child: inform where you have legalized the child's birth certificate or, if required, adoption and/or guardianship certificates (e.g. Embassy of Finland in Abuja)

Residence permit application forms including all original supporting documents must be submitted to the Embassy at least two weeks before the date of the appointment for verifying, also in case of electronic applications.  The applicant must include a copy of the information page of his/her passport. Kindly also include a cover letter with a list of enclosures with the documents. The original passport does not need to be submitted in advance, but must be presented when arriving for the appointment. Missing documents may slow down the process significantly. Please notice that the appointment can be rescheduled in case the original documents are not submitted beforehand, but when arriving at the appointment.

Application fees

The residence permit processing fee is non-refundable and is to be paid before submitting the application. Original receipts of payment must be presented when the applicant arrives for the interview.

If you are effecting payment through international bank wire transfer, kindly note that the residence permit fee must be complete when it registers on the Embassy bank account. In other words, all bank transfer fees for both the sender and the recipient are the responsibility of the sender.

More information on Residence permit processing fees and payment instructions

Residence permit appointment

The applicant must arrive in person at the Embassy for their appointment. Applicants are advised to arrive at least 30 minutes before the appointed time. The applicant must present to the reception of the Embassy his/her passport, the original payment receipt, and two copies of all supporting documents submitted to the Embassy in advance. Residence permit applicants are received from Monday to Thursday between 8:30 am  and 2 pm. The identity of the applicant (and the possible translator) will be verified and, depending on the age of the applicant their fingerprints may be taken and a residence permit interview conducted. Please notice that the Embassy cannot guarantee holding the appointment if the applicant arrives at the appointment without having paid the residence permit fee, without having legalized the required documents or being late 30 minutes.

Please note that you must reside legally in Nigeria in order for you to submit your application for a residence permit. If you are not a citizen of Nigeria, you must present a document proving that your stay is legal. Usually an international passport with an appropriate immigration entry stamp is required to prove that you are staying legally in the country.

Processing and decision making

Residence permit applications are processed and decided upon by the Finnish Immigration Service. The Embassy receives the applications and forwards them to the Finnish Immigration Service for processing.

The processing time depends on the type of permit applied. The approximate sizes of current residence permit queues are updated weekly on the Finnish Immigration Service website.

After the decision is made by the Finnish Immigration Service the Embassy contacts the applicant or his/her representative by e-mail to collect the decision in writing. Decisions can be appealed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a visa and a residence permit?

The main difference is that a visa is intended for a short term stay of up to 90 consecutive days. A residence permit is necessary for long term stay.

Can I request an appointment for a specific date?

Yes. In the e-mail you use to ask for an appointment time, you can specify a time frame when you would like to have the appointment. If there is a suitable time slot available, the Embassy will accommodate your request. Otherwise, you will be issued the next available time, which may be either before or after the timeframe you specified.

How and when can the application processing fee be paid?

The residence permit application processing fee must have been paid before coming to the residence permit appointment. The Embassy is unable to receive your application if the fee hasn't been paid. It is not possible to pay in cash at the Embassy. For methods of payment, kindly refer to the payment instructions.

I am married to a foreigner resident in Finland. We were married in my home country, and we have legalized our marriage certificate in my home country's foreign ministry. Can I apply for a residence permit?

Not yet. Getting the marriage certificate signed and stamped by the foreign ministry of the country where it was issued is one step of the required legalization process, but more still needs to be done. In most cases, this means legalizing the marriage certificate with the Embassy of Finland in Abuja. Kindly refer to the legalization instructions.

My young child is applying for a residence permit. It is very difficult for the child to travel to the Embassy. Since I am the child's legal guardian, can I come on their behalf?

No. According to Finnish law, a residence permit must be applied for in person. This means that all applicants, regardless of age, physical condition, or any other circumstance must come to the Embassy in person for the appointment. But you can certainly accompany the child.

I have been accepted as a student into a Finnish school. How soon can I ask for an appointment time?

You can ask for an appointment time as soon as you receive your acceptance letter from the school. We recommend that you ask for an appointment time as soon as you are able.

I have submitted an online application. The appointment time confirmation e-mail says I have to send my application form along with the other documents two weeks in advance. Do I still need to send my application form?

Yes. Please print out your application form from the EnterFinland e-service portal, and include it into the shipment.

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Updated 7/24/2018

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