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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.
For up-to-date information visit the Finnish Immigration Service www.migri.fi
See also

Top tip: A personal identity number (henkilötunnus) can be requested at the same time as applying for a residence permit.

Working In Finland: Introduction

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'
On 23 June 2016 the UK voted by referendum to leave the European Union. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has advised UK citizens resident in Finland of the consequences. In summary:

  • At this time the UK is still a full member of the EU, and there are no immediate changes to the movement, rights, or obligations of EU citizens.
  • You don’t need to take any action now. Changes to laws will be announced before they happen, so you'll have time to prepare if you’re affected.
  • The withdrawal process will involve lengthy negotiations. The Ministry cannot predict the outcome of those negotiations. Brexit is currently set to take effect on 29 March 2019.

Update 15 December 2017: EU and UK Citizens' Rights Post-Brexit, FAQs
The European Commission has published a list of frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) regarding EU rights for both EU and UK citizens post-Brexit, based on the December 8 2017 agreement / joint report which allowed negotiations between the EU and UK to proceed to 'Phase 2'.
The FAQs include issues of residence, movement, employment, healthcare and more.
FAQs   Joint Report

Update 19 March 2018: UK Nationals in Finland
A Brexit Implementation Period will start on 30 March 2019 and last until 31 December 2020. All UK nationals lawfully residing in another EU Member State on 31 December 2020 will be covered by the Citizens’ Rights Agreement reached in December 2017. During the Implementation Period, UK nationals will be able to visit, live and work in the EU broadly as they do now. UK nationals currently living in the EU who want to move to a different Member State will be able to continue to do so during the Implementation Period.
Info for UK Nationals in the EU and EU Citizens in the UK is available at

EU Citizens & Equivalent Persons: Right to Work in Finland

EU Citizens
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
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 & Equivalent Persons: Right to Self-Employment in Finland

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.

Non-EU Citizens: Residence Permits - General Information

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

Non-EU Citizens: Residence Permit for a Person Engaging in Employment

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: Residence Permit for a Self-Employed Person

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

Family Member of a Finnish Resident

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 2016. Rules are currently 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:

For full, current information it is essential you consult
www.migri.fi Moving to Finland to be With a Family Memebr

See also: Infopankki > Living in Finland > Family

Permits For Students

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

Administration Inside Finland:
Residence Permit extensions, Visa matters, Identity Cards +

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:

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