Immigrate to Finland - Your Legal Guide on Moving to Finland

Immigrate to Finland

Updated on Monday 24th July 2023

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Immigrate to Finland
Immigration to Finland is not difficult, as many foreign citizens have already discovered the benefits of living in Northern Europe. People can relocate here based on employment or by starting a business. It is also possible to move to Finland by marriage or by other means.
Below, our lawyers explain the main Finland immigration requirements and how you can obtain a residence permit. You can rely on our Finnish lawyers for support in relocation.
 Quick Facts  
 Entry visa requirement (from EU)  (YES/NO)  No, EU citizens do not need entry visas for Finland

 Entry visa requirement (outside EU) (YES/NO)

 Non-EU citizens require entry visas

 Types of visas available

- Student visas;

- work visas;

- temporary residence permits.

 Time frame for obtaining work visa (approx.)

- Approx. 4 weeks;

- through the fast-track procedure, work visas are issued in about 2 weeks

 Validity of temporary residence permit

 The validity of a temporary residence permit for Finland depends on the reason for immigration

 Temporary residence permit renewal requirements

 Temporary residence permits must be renewed at least 3 months before expiry

 Documents for obtaining a residence permit

- Valid passport;

- application form;

- proof of Finnish address;

- details about the reason for relocation.

 Time frame for obtaining permanent residence (approx.)

 6 to 9 months

 Investor Visa availability (YES/NO)

 Yes, with a minimum investment of EUR 350,000

 Start-up Visa Scheme availability (YES/NO)  Yes, the visa for start-up entrepreneurs with a validity of 2 years
 Sponsorship requirement (YES/NO)


 Time frame for obtaining citizenship

5 or 7 years, depending on the age of the applicant 

 Citizenship/Residency by investment scheme availability (YES/NO)


 Taxation of foreign citizens

Non-resident citizens will pay the income tax on their Finnish income, while residents on their worldwide income. 

 Tax benefits for expats

- Access to double tax treaties;

- transportation deductions;

- pension premiums, etc. 


Types of Finnish residence permits

No matter the way you decide on immigration to Finland, you need to obtain a residence permit. There are two types of residence permits available:
  • temporary residence permits;
  • permanent residence permits.
Furthermore, temporary residency is divided into:
  • B permits that have a validity of one year;
  • A permits that have a validity of 4 years.
These are issued based on the grounds of immigration.
If you decide to relocate to Finland, you can obtain the desired information about your options from our immigration lawyers in Finland.

If you immigrate to Finland, you must register and obtain a personal identification code even if you are only temporarily working here. Also, you must register as a resident of Finland if you intend to stay here permanently. Our immigration lawyers can also offer support in obtaining the necessary documents allowing you to enjoy the benefits here.


The main reasons under which residence permits are granted in Finland

If you want to move to Finland, there no less than 6 grounds you can invoke to obtain a residence permit. Among these, study, employment, business, family reunification, and marriage are the most employed. If you are a citizen of a nation that is not an EU member state or one of the Nordic nations and you travel to Finland to work, you must obtain a residence visa. Before traveling to Finland, a residence permit application must be submitted. You can rely on us for support in applying for both temporary and permanent residency in Finland.
The procedure for obtaining a residence permit is nearly the same no matter the path you choose, however, the differences reside in the documents you need to file.
For example, to obtain residency based on employment, you first need to secure a valid labor agreement. Based on the contract, you will be issued a work visa and a residence permit at the same time. Such a permit can have a validity of one year, however, it can also be issued for a longer period assigned to the contract.
Student residence permits can be issued for 2 years, but they can also be released for shorter time frames, if the program you are enrolled in is shorter.
Our lawyers can offer more information on other Finland immigration requirements depending on your reason for relocation. We have also created an infographic on this subject:
Immigration to Finland

EU citizens moving to Finland

As an EU member state, Finland welcomes citizens of other member states without requiring them to apply for a residence permit. So, it is easy to say that you can immigrate to Finland from the EU by moving in the desired city directly. The main requirement to comply with is to register with the local municipality of the city you live in. For this, you need a local address.
Feel free to get in touch with our law firm in Finland for guidance in how to relocate here as soon as possible. Among the requirements you need to meet, we remind the following:
  • you can also move here if you are a Swiss or Liechtenstein citizen, therefore, you live in a European Economic Area state;
  • you can use the same grounds mentioned above to stay in Finland;
  • you need to be able to support yourself during the stay here, even if no specific requirement applies is this sense (for 2022, the average wage here is around 1,200 EUR).
Non-EU citizens must respect other immigration conditions that can be explained by our immigration lawyers in Finland.

How to move to Finland from a non-EU country

Non-EU/EEA citizens who decide to relocate to Finland must apply for one of the temporary residence permits presented above. Applications need to be filed with the embassies/consulates in their home countries.
Among the documents they need to prepare are:
  • valid passport;
  • proof of stable income;
  • proof of payment of the visa application fee;
  • documents indicating the reason of relocation.
Based on your country of origin, special conditions may apply, so we invite you to reach out for the help of our immigration lawyers in Finland for a correct application.
It is also useful to note that the procedure is much simpler if you are non-EU citizens moving to Finland from another EU country.

How to move to Finland through employment

You must secure an employment contract in Finland before a residence permit can be issued to you. You can submit a residence permit application once you've secured employment. You will need a residence permission for an employed person or another residence permit that allows you to work in Finland in order to be able to do so. The kind of job you qualify for determines the type of permit you need.
In some cases, a residence permit for a particular work is required instead of a residence visa for an employed individual. These positions include:
  • corporate executives;
  • specialty positions;
  • research and development activities;
  • science, arts, culture, sport positions;
  • traineeships.
Seasonal work visas are also available for those who intend to work in Finland for short timeframes. Forestry, plant growth and festival work are among the positions that enable a person to apply for such permits. A maximum of 9 months can pass between seasons before applying for another permit.
If you decide on immigration to Finland based on employment, you can also rely on our lawyers for detailed information on the Labor Code which here is very strict.

Entrepreneurship as a means to relocate to Finland

You need an entrepreneur residence visa if you intend to work as a businessperson in Finland and you are a citizen of a non-EU/EEA state. A start-up residency visa is required if you intend to create a startup business in Finland. The residence permit must be solicited before moving to Finland.
Here are the main business forms accepted under entrepreneur immigration to Finland:
  • the sole proprietorship;
  • the partnership;
  • a limited liability company organized as small business.
Before requesting an entrepreneur's residence permit, you must register your business with the Finnish Trade Register.
You can also qualify for a special start-up residency visa designed for startup entrepreneurs if you want to open a new business in Finland.
You need to have a detailed business plan in order to be granted a such a residence permit.
Feel free to address our immigration lawyers in Finland for support in obtaining such a residence permit.  

Immigrate to Finland through family reunification

Family reunification visas are usually granted to spouses, registered partners, civil partners, minor children, and parents. The main condition is for the person living in Finland to be a resident or even citizen here.
The initial residency permit must often be applied for before traveling to Finland. If a member of your family is a citizen of Finland and you are from a nation that does not require a visa for travel, you may also be eligible to apply for your first residence permit in Finland.
Our immigration lawyers in Finland are at your disposal if you want to move here through family reunion visas.

Qualifying for permanent residence in Finland

If you have lived in this country for a sufficient time, you may be granted a permanent residency permit. Only those who are physically present in Finland may apply for a permanent residence visa.
A permanent residence visa for EU citizens is issued when:
  • if you have been a residing in Finland for at least 4 years with an A permit;
  • if you haven't spent more than 2 years abroad during that time.
A third-country national's EU residency permit can be issued if:
  • you have an A permit and have been a resident of Finland for at least 5 years;
  • during this time, you haven't spent more than 10 months outside Finland.
If you decide to immigrate to Finland and need support, our Finnish lawyers can help you. We also offer assistance if you have already moved here and need assistance in renewing your documents.
A foreign national may apply for citizenship in Finland if they are at least 18 years old and have lived permanently in Finland for the past 5 years without a break or for seven years after turning 15 years old, the last two of which have been uninterrupted. After 4 years of residency in Finland, citizenship may be awarded if the candidate proves adequate proficiency in the Finnish language. We have also created a video on the main requirements related to immigration to Finland:

What to consider if you relocate to Finland

Finland is one of the most developed economies among North European countries. The living costs here are higher compared to those in other countries, as a single person can spend on average 800 EUR. without a rent. A family’s costs can rise up to nearly 3,000 EUR.
When it comes to rent, prices depend on the region and city you choose. The average rental ranges between 400 and 700 EUR per person, but can exceed 900 EUR.
If you decide to immigrate to Finland, you should know that the country’s expat population accounted for nearly 32,900 foreigners who moved here in 2020, according to this study. The largest expat community belongs to Estonians, however, there are also many Russians living in Finland.
If you decide to move here and need information on the Finland immigration requirements, contact our law firm anytime.