Finland – Self-employed worker

Are you a non-EU citizen wishing to work as a self-employed person in Finland? You can find information below on the conditions to fulfil and procedures to follow, as well as the rights you can enjoy during your stay.

To be an entrepreneur or to enter a self-employed profession in Finland, you must obtain a residence permit for the purpose of entrepreneurship.

You are an entrepreneur if you are

  • a private entrepreneur who has a so called individually-owned business (toiminimi)
  • a partner in a general partnership
  • a general partner in a limited partnership (not a silent partner)
  • a member of a cooperative who has an unlimited liability for refinancing. The unlimited obligation to contribute has to be registered in the trade register.
  • a shareholder in a managerial position in a limited-liability company (Managing Director or member of the Board of Directors) or a person working in another type of company in a managerial position if you personally own at least 30 per cent of the company’s share capital or personally have at least 30 per cent of the number of votes produced by the company’s shares, or if you are a person in a managerial position in another type of company with similar authority in the company concerned.

You cannot get a residence permit only because you own a company. You must also work in the company in Finland. The application will be processed in two stages. First, a Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) will make a partial decision. After this, the Finnish Immigration Service will process the application.

Where and how to apply
(including information on fees)

Submit your application in the e-service Enter Finland. After you have submitted your application, you have to visit the Finnish diplomatic mission or consulate in your country of origin/residence to prove your identity and have your fingerprints taken. A paper application is submitted to the Finnish diplomatic mission or consulate in your country of origin/residence.

Processing fee (EUR): online 400, paper application 600

The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the EnvironmentSearch for available translations of the preceding link will evaluate the profitability of your proposed activity, mainly on the basis of:

  • your business plan;
  • signed preliminary contracts;
  • certificates proving your qualifications ; and
  • financing agreements.

You must also have the necessary resources and receive a regular income above the minimum wage for the duration of the permit.

The Finnish Immigration Service will reject or grant your residence permit according to the positive or negative evaluation from the Employment and Economic Development Office and following an assessment of other grounds for a refusal, such as:

  • threats to public policy, public security, public health;
  • Finland’s international relations; or
  • existence of well-founded reasons to suspect evading of immigration regulations.

You will be informed of the decision through the Finnish diplomatic mission or consulate in your country of origin/residence.

Documents required

General attachments:

  • Valid passport (you must present it when you submit the residence permit application)
  • Passport photo complying with the photo guidelines issued by the police or a photograph retrieval code you received from a photo shop
  • Color copies of the passport page containing personal data and of all passport pages that contain notes
  • Document showing that you are legally staying in the country where you submit the application
  • Form MP_1 (if you already are in Finland and apply for your first residence permit)

 Application-specific attachments:

  • Trade register extract or explanation why the company has not been entered in the Trade Register
  • Description of the business idea of the company
  • Document concerning business premises
  • Report on the number of employees
  • Certificates on professional qualifications
  • Document concerning assets and other income
  • If the company is already in business:
    • The latest financial statements, if the company has been in business so long that it has financial statements
    • The latest updated accounts
  • If the company is not yet in business:
    • Calculation of profitability (estimate of the company’s revenue and costs for the next two years)
    • Copies of agreements signed with customers and partners, if such exist
Duration of validity of permits

A first fixed-term permit is normally issued for one year.

The residence permit will be withdrawn for the following reasons:

  • fraud;
  • the reasons for granting the permit cease to exist;
  • you leave Finland permanently or remain in another country for an uninterrupted period of two years and do not apply to the Immigration Service not to withdraw your permit.
Conditions for renewalApply for an extended permit before your residence permit expires. If you still meet the same requirements you met when your previous residence permit was granted to you, the Finnish Immigration Service will grant you an extended permit. Alternatively, you can apply for an extended permit on new grounds. Remember that you need to meet the requirements for the residence permit you apply for.

It is possible to appeal negative decisions made by the Finnish Immigration Service before an Administrative Court 30 days following the notification. The appeal procedures are indicated in the decision.

A rejection from the Administrative Court can be appealed as a last resort to the Supreme Administrative Court. You will need to apply for leave to appeal.

Change of business activities If you have a residence permit for an entrepreneur, you cannot do any other type of work.
Change of status
If you hold a residence permit B (temporary permit) on the basis of employment or entrepreneurship, you will be issued a residence permit A (continuous permit) after two years of continuous residence in Finland, provided you still meet the residence conditions. A residence permit A is granted for a maximum duration of four years and can be renewed.
Family members

You may apply to reunite in Finland with your spouse (and same sex registered partner) and your unmarried minor children.

Partners who have been living continuously in a marriage-like relationship within the same household for at least two years also benefit from family reunification. The two year period is not required if the relationship has resulted in any children.

The residence permit granted to your family member is valid for the same duration as your residence permit. It grants full access to employment and education.

Long-term residence

After four years of continuous residence (permit A), you can apply for a permanent residence permit P if you still meet the requirements for a continuous residence permit. You must have spent at least half of the validity period of your permit in Finland and your permit must still be valid at the time you submit your application.

After five years of continuous and legal residence, you may obtain a long-term resident EC residence permit.

No information available at the moment.