Your business operations must be profitable, and your livelihood must be ensured by earnings from these business operations. If your company is a start-up company with no turnover as of yet, you must prove that you have sufficient livelihood from other income.
You cannot get a residence permit only because you own a company. You must work for your company in Finland yourself in order to be eligible for a residence permit.
Read more about setting up a business on the InfoFinland page Starting a business in Finland .
Read about the impact of coronavirus on residence permits on the InfoFinland page Coronavirus and moving to Finland.
Entrepreneur’s residence permit
The following are regarded as entrepreneurs:
- a sole proprietor (individually-owned company)
- a partner in a general partnership
- a general partner in a limited partnership
- a member of a cooperative who has an unlimited obligation to contribute
- a limited company entrepreneur
You must register your company in the Trade Register of the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (Patentti- ja rekisterihallitus) before applying for an entrepreneur’s residence permit. If you are a sole proprietor, i.e. you own your business individually, you need a business ID (Y-tunnus) in order to get a residence permit. If you are applying for your first residence permit and you have not yet arrived in Finland, you do not need a business ID.
The processing of the residence permit application involves two phases. First, the ELY Centre (ELY-keskus) (Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment) assesses the profitability of your company based on your business plan and financing, among other things. Then, the Finnish Immigration Service issues its decision on the residence permit.
The Finnish Immigration Service website provides more information on entrepreneur’s residence permit.
Start-up residence permit
If you would like to establish a start-up company in Finland, you can apply for a start-up residence permit intended for start-up entrepreneurs. In order to gain a start-up residence permit, you must have a concrete business plan.
Start-up companies are new, small and medium-sized businesses that aim for rapid international growth. Business Finland will assess whether or not you can be defined as a start-up entrepreneur.
The process of applying for a start-up residence permit involves two phases.
- First, you must get a favourable eligibility statement from Business Finland. Business Finland will evaluate your company’s business model, competence and capability of growing its operations. You cannot receive a start-up residence permit without a favourable eligibility statement from Business Finland.
- Once you have received a favourable eligibility statement from Business Finland, you can apply for a start-up residence permit from the Finnish Immigration Service. Business Finland’s statement will remain valid for two months.
The websites of the Finnish Immigration Service and Business Finland provide instructions and more information on applying for a start-up residence permit.
Applying for a residence permit
Apply for an entrepreneur’s residence permit or start-up residence permit online through the Enter Finland service. After applying, you must visit the closest Finnish diplomatic mission to prove your identity, and present original copies of the application appendices. You must visit a Finnish diplomatic mission within three months of submitting the application online. The application cannot be processed until you have visited the Finnish diplomatic mission. You need to make an appointment in advance to visit a Finnish diplomatic mission.
Be sure to attach all the necessary appendices to your application when you submit your application. This will make the processing of your application faster.
Check your Enter Finland account regularly. If further clarifications are needed for your application, you will be informed through your account.
Processing of the residence permit application is subject to a fee. You must pay this fee when you submit your application. You can pay for your application through the Enter Finland service.
If you are unable to apply online, you can fill in a paper application form. Bring the completed application form together with all the necessary appendices to the closest Finnish diplomatic mission. You can print out the application form from the Finnish Immigration Service website. You need to make an appointment in advance to visit a Finnish diplomatic mission.
Finnish personal identity code
If you are granted a residence permit for Finland, you will be automatically registered in the Finnish Population Information System. You will receive a Finnish personal identity code at the same time.
When you have moved to Finland, you must visit a Digital and Population Data Services Agency (Digi- ja väestötietovirasto) service location to register as a resident. Read more on the InfoFinland page Registering as a resident .
As an entrepreneur in Finland
More information for employees and entrepreneurs is available on the InfoFinland page Work and Enterprise .