Effects of Brexit on Finnish citizens in the UK

Finnish citizens established in the UK before 1 January 2021

The withdrawal agreement guarantees the status and rights of Finnish citizens living in the UK and their family members under EU law (such as residence, employment and social security) for life if they have settled in the UK before 1 January 2021 and subsequently continue to reside there. Their status and rights will be safeguarded as they were under the key EU legislation on 31 December 2020.

The protection of the withdrawal agreement applies to Finnish citizens who have resided legally in the UK in accordance with EU legislation on the free movement of EU citizens before 1 January 2021 and will continue to stay in the UK.

However, Finnish residents in the UK must apply to the UK authorities for a new type of residence status. A residence permit under the withdrawal agreement, which requires a separate application, entitles Finnish citizens to continue their stay in the UK stay after 31 December 2020. After five years of legal residence, Finnish citizens can apply to have their residence status changed to permanent, giving them more rights and better protection.

The withdrawal agreement will not apply to Finns entering the UK as of 1 January 2021.

Registration of right of residence

Almost all Finnish citizens residing in the UK before the withdrawal date, along with their family members, will have to apply via the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme for a new residence permit if they wish to continue living in the UK after 31 December 2020. The EU Settlement Scheme applies to EU citizens and their family members who arrived in the UK before 1 January 2021.

All Finnish citizens and their family members residing in the UK are invited to apply for a new residence permit via the EU Settlement Scheme as soon as possible if they have not already done so and they intend to continue residing in the UK after 31 December 2020.

According to current information, Finnish citizens and their family members must submit an application for a new residence permit via the EU Settlement Scheme registration system by 30 June 2021. Otherwise, it may become illegal for them to reside in the UK. The application is free of charge. 

Finnish citizens who also have UK citizenship cannot apply for a residence permit via the EU Settlement Scheme. Finnish citizens who have Irish citizenship or indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK issued before Finland’s accession to the EU do not necessarily need to apply for a new residence permit. However, it may be useful for holders of indefinite leave to apply for a new residence permit via the EU Settlement Scheme. In addition, the new digital status makes it easier to prove your immigration status.

Depending on how long a Finnish citizen or their family member has lived in the UK, they may be able to obtain a permanent residence permit under the EU Settlement Scheme (settled status) or a temporary residence permit (pre-settled status). To obtain settled status, a Finnish citizen must demonstrate that they have lived continuously in the UK for at least five years. A person with pre-settled status may apply for settled status after a period of five years of continuous residence in the country.

The UK government has announced that it will not require EU citizens legally resident in the country before 1 January 2021 to fulfil certain conditions under EU law, such as comprehensive health insurance or proof of employment, when applying for the EU Settlement Scheme.

For information about the rights and status of EU citizens in the UK and about registration, go to the Home Office website: Stay in the UK after it leaves the EU

The Home Office website provides instructions: Applying for the EU Settlement Scheme

Summary of the provisions of the withdrawal agreement on citizens’ rights | European Commission
For expert advice on the EU Settlement Scheme, call the EU Settlement Resolution Centre, tel. 0300 123 7379 (in the UK) or +44 203 080 0010 (outside the UK)
Monday to Friday 8:00–20:00, Saturday and Sunday 9:30–16:30 local time
Contact form | Gov.uk

Finnish citizens moving or travelling to the UK after 31 December 2020

With the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the free movement of EU citizens to the UK ended and new restrictions were be placed on the entry and rights of EU citizens arriving in the country. As of 1 January 2021, the provisions on third-country nationals are applied on entry.

The UK introduced a new points-based immigration system on 1 January 2021. Most visa routes, such as the Student visa and the Skilled Worker visa, are now open for applications. The Graduate visa route will open in summer 2021 for international students who have successfully completed a university degree. 
Student visa | Gov.uk
Skilled Worker visa | Gov.uk
The UK’s points-based immigration system: information for EU citizens | Gov.uk
Check if you need a UK visa | Gov.uk

As of 1 January 2021, Finnish citizens will be able to travel to the UK visa-free for short stays not exceeding six months. A passport will be required for travelling to the UK after 1 October 2021; an identity card will no longer suffice. Exceptions are EU citizens who have obtained a new residence permit through the EU Settlement Scheme and frontier workers. These EU citizens will be able to use an identity card for travel until at least 31 December 2025.

More information on travelling to the UK and the rules for entry as of 1 January 2021:
Visiting the UK as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen | Gov.uk
The UK’s points-based immigration system:  Information for EU visitors | Gov.uk
Entering the UK | Gov.uk