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Yrittäjäksi Suomeen

Entrepreneur in Finland

Published09.08.2022
If you want to work as an entrepreneur in Finland and you are a citizen of a country that is not an EU member state or one of the Nordic countries, you will need an entrepreneur’s residence permit. If you want to establish a start-up company in Finland, you will need a start-up residence permit. You must apply for a residence permit before you come to Finland.

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.

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.

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish Immigration Service

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish Immigration Service

Start-up residence permit

Applying for a residence permit

Apply for an entrepreneur’s 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.

Applying for a start-up residence permit and fast track

A start-up residence permit is applied for in the same way as an entrepreneur’s residence permit. 

You can also apply for a start-up residence permit via the fast-track service. The fast-track processing time for an application is at maximum two weeks. In order for your application to be processed via the fast-track service, you must apply for a permit electronically through the Enter Finland service. You must also pay for the application through the Enter Finland service. 

After applying, you must visit the closest Finnish diplomatic mission to prove your identity within five working days of submitting the application.

You can arrive in Finland as soon as you have received a positive decision on your permit application, even if you have not yet received your residence permit card. The residence permit card can also be mailed to you in Finland. However, you may need a visa for Finland if you do not yet have your residence permit card. 

If you need a visa for Finland, you can apply for a D visa. With a D visa, you can enter Finland without a residence permit card as soon as your residence permit has been granted. Apply for a D visa simultaneously with the residence permit through Enter Finland. If you come from a visa-free country, you do not need a D visa.
 

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.