Finland has been deemed one of the top places to retire due to its strong healthcare system, economy and higher quality of life. Although the nation doesn’t have specific permits or visas for retirees trying to enter the country to spend their last years abroad, they do allow people to enter the nation for up to 90 days on a passport and even longer if they obtain a residence permit. These residence permits can come in different forms depending on your circumstances and why you plan on entering and relocating to the foreign country.
How to Apply for a Permit
It doesn’t matter what type of residence permit you are applying for, you’ll need to make sure you follow the follow the steps below while remaining in compliance with Finland’s immigration laws.
- Check the requirements of the residence permit you're applying for to make sure you meet them.
- Gather all of the supporting documents required by your permit application.
- Complete the application.
- Pay the application fee. You may do so online at the Enter Finland website, at a Finnish embassy or consulate or at a Finnish Immigration Service service point.
- Wait for the Finnish Immigration Service to contact you with a decision.
Anyone trying to become a resident of Finland must meet the following requirements:
- You have a valid passport.
- You have not been prohibited from entering Finland.
- You're not a danger to public order and security.
- You're not a danger to public health.
- You're not a danger to Finnish international relations.
For permanent residency you must have:
- you have lived in Finland at least four years with an A permit
- you have not lived abroad for more than two years during this period
- the grounds for the previous permits are still valid.
Things to Do before You Move to Finland for Retirement
- Take your time researching Finland before you head there for retirement. Understand the general cost of living there as a retiree and start planning out a budget or financial plan according to what you’ve learned. Remember to have your U.S. dollars converted into FInnish Markkas before you leave. Check out the costs of housing, utility bills, eating, shopping, entertainment, etc. Try to do as much research as possible before entering the nation. Of course, you could come visit and explore Finland before the actual move.
- Make sure your health insurance is in order and can be transferred. Otherwise, you will need to set up adequate health coverage for your stay in Finland. Finland has a universal healthcare system so it shouldn’t be too difficult to make sure you’re covered. They also a private healthcare sector and a three-level publicly funded health sector. Before you leave the U.S., find medical facilities, emergency medical centers, and English speaking doctors close to where you intend to reside in the country.
- If you don’t already know where you would like to settle down in Finland, look into the housing options available and the different regions of the country. There are expat communities, retirement communities, apartments, rental homes and more all over the country. Although metropolis areas tend to have more English speaking residents and amenities, you may want somewhere with less people and more scenery.
- Before your move to Finland, make sure you have a bank account with a Finnish bank or with an institution with international outreach and global ATMs. Fortunately, banking is simple in Finland and opening an account with a Finnish bank shouldn’t be too difficult for you. Just make sure they offer all the services you need, have plenty of ATMs throughout the country, allow you access to your money upon your arrival, English speaking representatives, and an online banking system.
- Look into the details on your pension and retirement plans to make sure you can transfer and carry over your benefits.