Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

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muskrat
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat May 09, 2020 3:01 am

Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by muskrat » Sat May 09, 2020 3:14 am

Hi all,

I have a unique situation and am hoping to get some advice.

I am a US citizen currently in the US.

My girlfriend is Finnish and she's currently in Finland.

We have a rental contract in Finland starting on 1 June 2020, but due to the current travel restrictions I'm not sure if I qualify as a "family member" as defined at https://www.raja.fi/current_issues/qa.
Q: Who is considered to be a family member?

A: Finnish citizens’ family member

- The spouse of a person residing in Finland
- Unmarried children under 18 years of age over whom the person residing in Finland or his or her spouse had guardianship are considered family members.
- Persons living continuously in a marriage-like relationship within the same household regardless of their sex are comparable to a married couple. The requirement is that they have lived together for at least two years. This is not required if the persons have a child in their joint custody.
We have been together for more than 2 years but not always in the same household. We have lived together part-time in various locations/Airbnbs around the world including Finland and the US. But we've also spent time apart in our home countries. Now we're planning to live together full-time in Finland.

I do not yet have Finnish residence. I'm planning to apply for the Intimate Relationship permit as soon as I arrive in Finland.

Do you think I have a chance to qualify as a family member and therefore pass through border control? What documents should I bring with me if I decide to fly to Finland before the travel restrictions are lifted?

Thanks for any suggestions.



Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

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FinlandGirl
Posts: 401
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:43 am

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by FinlandGirl » Sat May 09, 2020 10:14 am

muskrat wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 3:14 am
I'm not sure if I qualify as a "family member" as defined at https://www.raja.fi/current_issues/qa.
Q: Who is considered to be a family member?

A: Finnish citizens’ family member

- The spouse of a person residing in Finland
- Unmarried children under 18 years of age over whom the person residing in Finland or his or her spouse had guardianship are considered family members.
- Persons living continuously in a marriage-like relationship within the same household regardless of their sex are comparable to a married couple. The requirement is that they have lived together for at least two years. This is not required if the persons have a child in their joint custody.
We have been together for more than 2 years but not always in the same household. We have lived together part-time in various locations/Airbnbs around the world including Finland and the US. But we've also spent time apart in our home countries. Now we're planning to live together full-time in Finland.

I do not yet have Finnish residence. I'm planning to apply for the Intimate Relationship permit as soon as I arrive in Finland.

Do you think I have a chance to qualify as a family member and therefore pass through border control?
Do you fulfil any of the criteria you quoted?
If you don't, the airline won't allow you to board the plane.
muskrat wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 3:14 am
Thanks for any suggestions.
Border closures are until 14th (Finland) and 15th (expected extension for Schengen) June so far, and this might get be extended further.

My personal expectation is that when the first COVID-19 wave is over in summer/autumn borders will be reopened gradually, but existing 14 days quarantine rules after arrival will continue.

betelgeuse
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Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:24 am

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by betelgeuse » Sat May 09, 2020 10:56 am

muskrat wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 3:14 am
I do not yet have Finnish residence. I'm planning to apply for the Intimate Relationship permit as soon as I arrive in Finland.
https://finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/2004/20040301#L4P49

This permit can only be granted in Finland if refusal would be manifestly unreasonable.

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rinso
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Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:22 pm

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by rinso » Sat May 09, 2020 11:01 am

With the current restrictions, a lot of people invent "important" reasons why they should be excepted. The officials have heard it all and are probably not impressed by your story. You better prepare for a no-fly answer.

inkku
Posts: 773
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:26 pm

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by inkku » Sat May 09, 2020 12:31 pm

rinso wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 11:01 am
With the current restrictions, a lot of people invent "important" reasons why they should be excepted. The officials have heard it all and are probably not impressed by your story. You better prepare for a no-fly answer.
Can you give some evidence on your claims? Somebody is asking a factual question and you are giving a piece of your imagination, which might take place in reality. Or not.

OP. The few flights available at the moment are very expensive, and they are usually reserved for repatriation to Finland/EU. Have you checked them?
I do not know what is the view of the MFA but you yourself write that you have not been living in the same household. so how would you qualify? Even if you were in Finland now, I don't understand what would be your basis for your application?

FinlandGirl
Posts: 401
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:43 am

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by FinlandGirl » Sat May 09, 2020 12:44 pm

inkku wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 12:31 pm
The few flights available at the moment are very expensive, and they are usually reserved for repatriation to Finland/EU.
Repatriation was a big topic 2 months ago, and it was never a big problem with countries like the US where regular flights never stopped.

British Airways still has daily flights to several destinations throughout the US, and Finnair still flies to Heathrow.
Both are Oneworld members, regular tickets with a connection in London are available on the Finnair website.
inkku wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 12:31 pm
Even if you were in Finland now, I don't understand what would be your basis for your application?
https://migri.fi/en/intimate-relationship

FinlandGirl
Posts: 401
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:43 am

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by FinlandGirl » Sat May 09, 2020 12:53 pm

betelgeuse wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 10:56 am
muskrat wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 3:14 am
I do not yet have Finnish residence. I'm planning to apply for the Intimate Relationship permit as soon as I arrive in Finland.
https://finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/2004/20040301#L4P49

This permit can only be granted in Finland if refusal would be manifestly unreasonable.
https://migri.fi/en/intimate-relationship
Migri wrote:If you are already in Finland, book an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

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rinso
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Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:22 pm

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by rinso » Sat May 09, 2020 12:57 pm

Can you give some evidence on your claims? Somebody is asking a factual question and you are giving a piece of your imagination, which might take place in reality. Or not.
Having been an "official" in the past, I know from experience how it works.
And here preparing for the worst-case scenario seems logical. You don't want to buy a ticket and find out you're not allowed to fly.

betelgeuse
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Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:24 am

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by betelgeuse » Sat May 09, 2020 1:25 pm

FinlandGirl wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 12:53 pm
betelgeuse wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 10:56 am

https://finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/2004/20040301#L4P49

This permit can only be granted in Finland if refusal would be manifestly unreasonable.
https://migri.fi/en/intimate-relationship
Migri wrote:If you are already in Finland, book an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.
So? These two don’t contradict.

heretostay
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:54 pm

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by heretostay » Sat May 09, 2020 1:35 pm

I flew from JFK to Helsinki via LHR during this corona restrictions. They won’t let you even check in for your flight without a residence permit. Even if you get past the check in desk you have to show a residence permit boarding each flight. If you don’t have it and it isn’t entered into the computer, you will get a “unable to board” message when your boarding pass is scanned. I fly a lot and have never seen anything so strict. You unfortunately need to wait or maybe could contact Finnish embassy and ask if there is anything they can suggest.

FinlandGirl
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Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:43 am

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by FinlandGirl » Sat May 09, 2020 2:01 pm

heretostay wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 1:35 pm
I flew from JFK to Helsinki via LHR during this corona restrictions. They won’t let you even check in for your flight without a residence permit. Even if you get past the check in desk you have to show a residence permit boarding each flight. If you don’t have it and it isn’t entered into the computer, you will get a “unable to board” message when your boarding pass is scanned.
If you are denied entry the airline has to take you back and pay a penalty of at least 3000 Euro:
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content ... 32001L0051

The goal is to prevent people from buying a plane ticket and then apply for asylum on arrival, the EU prefers legitimate asylum seekers to be shot at the Greek border or drowning in the Mediterranean.
heretostay wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 1:35 pm
I fly a lot and have never seen anything so strict.
You are lucky to have a citizenship that usually exempts you from this when entering the EU.

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fintel
Posts: 175
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:00 pm

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by fintel » Sat May 09, 2020 2:15 pm

muskrat wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 3:14 am
- Persons living continuously in a marriage-like relationship within the same household regardless of their sex are comparable to a married couple. The requirement is that they have lived together for at least two years. This is not required if the persons have a child in their joint custody.
What does NOT sound like an intimate relationship?

Living together with girlfriend part time at various Airbnbs.

What DOES sound like an intimate relationship?

Have a baby together and getting married next year. Have lived together in same household for two years and have proof of this, for example a rental agreement from year 2018 with both parties name on it, rent payment slips, water, electricity bill payments at the same address. Have a joint bank account together. Her name tattooed on your forearm (not necessary but might help).
Image ulkomaalaisella henkilöä

heretostay
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:54 pm

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by heretostay » Sat May 09, 2020 3:00 pm

heretostay wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 1:35 pm
I fly a lot and have never seen anything so strict.
You are lucky to have a citizenship that usually exempts you from this when entering the EU.
[/quote]

Big assumption in your part. I actually do not have citizenship in such a country.

muskrat
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat May 09, 2020 3:01 am

Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by muskrat » Sat May 09, 2020 3:24 pm

OP here. Thanks for the replies.

It sounds like I should wait until non-essential travel is permitted again.

I've been looking at flights that connect in Iceland and they are not very expensive. But I hadn't considered that boarding the plane without a residence permit would be forbidden.

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fintel
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Re: Traveling to Finland as a family member during Covid-19

Post by fintel » Sat May 09, 2020 3:25 pm

muskrat wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 3:14 am
A: Finnish citizens’ family member - The spouse of a person residing in Finland
Image
Image ulkomaalaisella henkilöä


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