Finland: Supreme Administrative Court dismisses the finding of a marriage of convenience used to reject a residence permit

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

On 18 September 2019, the Supreme Administrative Court published its ruling to overturn the decision of the Administrative Court and Finnish Immigration Service to reject a request for a residence permit on the basis that it was a marriage of convenience, or “sham”.
The applicant, who resides in Burkina Faso, met his wife, a Finnish citizen, online in April 2015. The Finnish Immigration had denied the applicant’s request to be granted a residence permit on the basis that the marriage was part of an attempt to circumvent the entry rules under the Aliens Act. The question before the Supreme Administrative Court was therefore whether spouses who reside in the different countries are capable of enjoying a genuine family life. The applicant argued that while he and his wife had never lived together, they had been in active contact throughout the entirety of their three year marriage, provided financial support to one another, and were legally married in January 2016.

The Administrative Court advanced the argument that the absence of cohabitation signified an attempt to gain residence and showed a lack of intention to enjoy family life. The same doubts were expressed by the Finnish Immigration Service. The Supreme Administrative Court rejected these arguments, highlighting that while spouses may live in different countries, this fact alone does not indicate a lack of intention to enjoy a family life when granted the opportunity to live together. As a result, the Supreme Administrative Court has affirmed the protection afforded under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights by ruling there are no doubts regarding the intention of the couple to start a genuine family life together.

Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU.

Photo: Mika Hiironniemi, May 2009, Flickr (CC)

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is pusexblished but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.



Family member
Family reunification
Family unity (right to)
Residence document