Finnish Work and Residence Permits
Expat Finland is not a government authority and cannot arrange your residence in Finland.
If you plan to move to Finland you must apply for a first residence permit if you plan to stay in Finland for longer than 90 days. If you are not an EU citizen or equivalent person, an application for the first residence permit must be submitted abroad, before entry into Finland. Applications can be submitted to the Finnish Embassy or Consulate in the country of origin, or online via the enterfinland.fi e-service of the Finnish Immigration Service.
This is a brief guide only, and does not constitute legal advice. For up-to-date information visit the Finnish Immigration Service www.migri.fi
- Finland Schengen Visa Application Requirements: schengenvisainfo.com/finland-visa/
- Finnish Embassies, Consulates & Missions: www.um.fi/missions
- The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland: www.um.fi - Site in Finnish, Swedish & English
Top tip: A personal identity number (henkilötunnus) can be requested at the same time as applying for a residence permit.
- Jump Down to:
- Consequences of 'Brexit'
- EU Citizens ;& Equivalent Persons
- EU Citizens & Equivalent Persons: Self-Employed
- Non-EU Citizens: Residence Permits - General Information
- Non-EU Citizens: Residence Permit for Working in Finland
- Non-EU Citizens: Residence Permit for Self-Employment in Finland
- Family Member of a Finnish Resident
- Permits For Students
- Administration Inside Finland: Extensions, Identity Cards +
- Related Links
If you are a citizen of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland you do not require a residence permit for Finland.
Otherwise, an alien intending to engage in remunerated employment in Finland must usually have a residence permit for an employed person. A person intending to engage in an independent business or profession in Finland must have a residence permit for a self-employed person.
There are exceptions to this rule, and in certain circumstances or professional capacities you may work in Finland without a residence permit. For more information please visit:
Finnish Immigration Service: www.migri.fi Work Without a Residence Permit
Consequences of Brexit: Important information for UK Nationals
On 23 June 2016 the UK voted by referendum to leave the European Union. The rights of UK citizens resident in Finland may change, particularly in the event of a 'no-deal' Brexit.
A dedicated Expat Finland Facebook post is being maintained with the latest news, including important instructions for UK nationals in Finland.
Please visit Brexit - Brits in Finland
Since July 1, 2013, there are 28 EU member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Equivalent Persons" include citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
If you are a citizen of the EU or an equivalent person, you will not require a residence permit for Finland.
You will be free to reside and work in Finland for up to ninety days. If you are staying longer you must register your right of residence before the end of the ninety day period. Your right of residence can be registered at enterfinland.fi.
Information on permit matters is available from the Finnish Immigration Service:
EU citizens and equivalent persons can freely engage in business in Finland after they have registered their right to reside in Finland. The right applies to those who are either private entrepreneurs or self-employed persons (those with a right of establishment). Also, service providers and receivers, such as doctors, hairdressers, and those seeking medical care at their own expense, may belong to this group. They do not need a separate residence permit.
How to register the right to reside in Finland
Your right of residence can be registered at enterfinland.fi. A self-employed person must attach support documentation such as a certificate of the registration of a trade, or other reliable account of self-employment.
A person moving to Finland should first apply for a residence permit from the Finnish diplomatic mission in his or her own country, or from the diplomatic mission of a Schengen country representing Finland. Applications with supporting attachments can also be submitted online at enterfinland.fi. In exceptional cases, the application for a residence permit can be submitted in Finland.
A residence permit is either temporary or permanent (P). Depending on the nature of the stay, a temporary residence permit is granted as a fixed-term (B) or continuous residence permit.
The first permit is usually granted for one year, unless you specifically apply for a shorter period of validity. Continuous residence permits can be extended for a maximum of three years at a time.
If you have a fixed-term residence permit for an employed person or self-employed person, your permit can be extended on a fixed-term basis for a maximum of one year at a time. You can be granted a continuous residence permit after a two-year temporary stay if the preconditions for granting the permit are still valid.
You can be granted a permanent
residence permit when you have resided in
Finland without interruption for four years on
the basis of a continuous residence permit.
See www.migri.fi www.migri.fi
Foreign employees who are non-EU citizens and equivalent persons generally need a residence permit for an employed person to work in Finland. An alien who has entered the country either with a visa or visa-free is not allowed to engage in remunerated employment in Finland but, rather, has to apply for a residence permit. A residence permit can be granted on the basis of either temporary work or work of a continuous nature.
In granting the permit, the needs of the labour market are taken into consideration. The aim of the residence permit praxis is to support the possibility of those who are on the employment market to gain employment. Thus, the availability of work force is also supported.
If you apply for a residence permit in order to work in Finland, you need to be able to earn your living in Finland through gainful employment throughout the time your residence permit is valid. The minimum salary from gainful employment is reviewed annually.
See www.migri.fi Income requirement
Priority is given to EU citizens and equivalent persons for job openings
When making its deliberations, the employment office takes into account that EU citizens and equivalent persons, as well as other people who already legitimately reside in Finland and who in fact may be available to perform the work, have a priority in attaining job openings in the EU area.
There are exceptions to these rules, and in certain circumstances or professional capacities you may work in Finland without a residence permit for an employed person.
See www.migri.fi Working in Finland
Non-EU citizens need a residence permit for an entrepreneur in order to engage in business activities in Finland. It is most common for self-employed people to have an individually-owned business (toiminimi), to be a partner in an unlimited partnership company (avoin yhtiö), or to be a general partner in a limited partnership company (kommandiittiyhtiö).
Application Processing & Decision
The Finnish Immigration Service will make a decision on your residence permit application. Before a permit can be issued, entrepreneurs / self-employed persons usually need to enter their business in the Trade Register maintained by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.
For details on how to apply for a residence permit for an entrepreneur / self-employed person
See www.migri.fi Entrepreneur
If you want to move to Finland to live with a member of your family who is already residing in this country, you will require a residence permit. The permit can be granted on the basis of family ties. The family member residing in Finland with whom you intend to lead a family life is referred to as the sponsor. The sphere of family members is laid down by law and does not necessarily correspond to general views on what constitutes a family member. The Finnish concept of family is narrower than that of many other countries.
If you are married or have a registered partnership with a Finnish citizen, or have what is referred to in some countries as a "common-law marriage" with a Finnish citizen, you may be able to apply for a residence permit on that basis. Residence permits may also be applied for on the basis of children, guardianship or other family relations.
Expat Finland receives many residence enquiries from people in relationships with Finnish citizens. Following is a brief summary only of two sections from the Finnish Immigration Service, January 2019. Rules for moving to Finland on the basis of family ties are being revised.
See www.migri.fi My Relative is in Finland
Marriage / Registered Partnership with a Finnish Citizen
If your spouse is a Finnish citizen who resides in Finland or will move to Finland, you may apply for a residence permit for yourself on the basis of family ties. The same applies to persons of the same gender who have registered their partnership.
Cohabitation with a Finnish Citizen
If your cohabiting partner is a Finnish citizen who resides in Finland or will move to Finland, you may apply for a residence permit for yourself on the basis of family ties. A residence permit may be granted if:
- You have cohabited with your partner for a minimum of two years – present proof of your cohabitation, for example a rental agreement, or
- You have joint custody with your cohabiting partner of a child, in which case the stipulated minimum two years of cohabitation will not apply, or
- There is some other compelling reason for granting a residence permit
- If you and your cohabiting partner are officially resident in different countries, cohabiting for example during holidays, this is not considered sufficient for the granting of a residence permit
For full, current information it is essential you consult
www.migri.fi Moving to Finland to be With a Family Memebr
See also: InfoFinland > Living in Finland > Family
Foreign students are welcome to study at Finnish educational institutions. If your studies in Finland take longer than 90 days, you need a residence permit for studies. If you do not have a residence permit, you can study in Finland for a maximum of 90 days. Even if you stay in Finland for less than 90 days, you may still need a visa. You must have sufficient means for living in Finland during the entire period of validity of your residence permit. You are allowed work in Finland if the work is related to your studies, and have the right to have other jobs but restrictions apply.
See migri.fi Studying in Finland
If you are an EU citizen or equivalent person you will not require a residence permit for Finland.
See also: Study In Finland
From January 2017 the Finnish Immigration Service took over the following duties from the Police: .
- All residence permits that are applied for in Finland: first, extended and permanent residence permits
- Reception of citizenship applications and declarations
- Registration of EU citizens and applications for their family members' residence cards
- Duties relating to refugee travel documents and alien's passports
- Duties relating to service of decisions
- See migri.fi/en/residence-permit
- Online applications can be made at the Immigration Service site enterfinland.fi
Identity Cards: The Police maintain responsibility for receiving applications for, and issuing, identity cards. Not to be confused with the Kela Card (social security and health insurance card), an identity card is a form of photographic proof of the holder’s identity. In some cases it can also be used as a travel document, and the card includes a chip enabling access to e-services. Applicants can also request additional data such as their health insurance information to be incorporated into their identity card, in which case the card can be used instead of a Kela Card at pharmacies and medical centres.
Finnish Police: poliisi.fi/identity_card
For further information about permits and licences, as well as details of application procedures, forms and charges, please see:
- Finnish Immigration Service - Site in over ten languages
- Moving to Finland: Finnish Immigration Service site aimed at 'quota refugees' but containing useful information for any immigrant. Arabic, English, Fārsi, Finnish and French
- infofinland.fi: Information about Finland in 12 languages: Moving to Finland, Living in Finland, Information about Finland, Local information
- Citizenship Issues
- Ministry for Foreign Affairs - Site in Finnish, Swedish & English
- Working in Finland: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment PDF
- Suomi.fi: Multilingual e-services and downloadable forms from Finnish government agencies and local authorities