Finland is known for its stunning natural beauty, including thousands of lakes, dense forests, and awe-inspiring northern lights. But its gorgeous landscapes are only one of the reasons Finland has consistently ranked as the happiest country in the world. Plus, it has an excellent educational system and a strong tech presence and is one of the world’s leaders in design.
These are just a few reasons why you may want to expand your global operations into Finland. Whether you’re planning to transition your current employees into Finland or hire people from other countries to work in Finland, if they’re not citizens of the European Union (EU), Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, they’ll need a work permit.
Types of Finland work visas
The Finnish government requires you to apply for a residence permit before you can work in Finland long-term. Therefore, for most businesses, the following types of Finland work permits will be the most applicable:
With a business visa, you can stay in Finland for up to 90 days. A business visa allows you to conduct work-related activities but not actually work. For example, you can attend conferences and seminars, sign contacts, and meet with other professionals. If you have employees who are onboarding in Finland but will be working elsewhere, they may need this type of visa.
Residence permit for employed personnel
If you have employees who will be working in Finland long-term, this is the type of work permit they’ll need. There are three types of residence permits for employed personnel, including:
A type A, or continuous, work permit is valid for four years. After four years, if you wish to stay, it must be renewed.
A type B, or temporary, work permit is only valid for one year, after which you must renew it yearly.
A type P, or permanent, work permit is valid indefinitely unless you violate the permit rules or cancel your residence permit.
Residence permit for self-employment
Another type of work permit that may be relevant for your business is the residence permit for self-employment. If your company has partners, entrepreneurs, or co-op members, they may be eligible for this type of permit. Your business has to be registered with the Finnish government through the National Board of Patents and Registration before you can apply for a self-employment residence permit.
New D Visa
In June of 2022, Finland started issuing a new fast-track visa for start-up entrepreneurs, specialists, and Blue Card (highly educated) applicants. In December 2022, Finland expanded the D visa to include company executives, researchers, students, and their families.
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Finland work visa requirements
When applying for a work visa in Finland, you can’t do it from inside the country. If you’re in Finland on a tourist visa, you’ll have to leave the country and apply for a work visa from your home country. The requirements differ for employees and employers, as outlined below:
Requirements for employees
You shouldn’t find the Finland visa requirements unduly burdensome as long as you pay close attention to the details. The acceptance rate is high if you meet the requirements and provide all the documentation.
Required documents for a work permit
You’ll need to supply the following documents to apply for a work permit in Finland:
- A passport that is less than 10 years old and is valid for at least three months beyond when your residence visa expires
- Two passport-sized photos with a plain background
- An official job contract that specifies the terms and details of employment
- A work visa application form
- Documents detailing your work experience
- Medical insurance that’s valid in Finland and all other Schengen states
- A cover letter detailing the purpose of your stay in Finland
- Proof of your civil status, such as marriage license, death certificate of spouse, or your child’s birth certificate
- Proof that you have enough money to cover your expenses in Finland, either through your salary or savings
- Any additional documentation the Finnish government requests
How to apply for a Finland work permit
The application process is as follows:
- Receive a job offer
- Fill out the application form
- Submit your application form and required documents
- Schedule a visa appointment at the nearest Finnish embassy or consulate
- Pay the processing fee
- Attend your visa interview appointment
- Wait for a decision
Requirements for employers
The bulk of the work of applying for a visa will rest with your employees. However, you can help by providing the documentation they need from you as soon as possible.
Required documents for a work permit
You’ll need to provide a work contract that details the terms and conditions of employment, including the salary. You must advertise the job in the EU for at least 10 days and not have found a qualified EU applicant before you can offer it to a non-EU citizen.
How to apply for a Finland work permit
Your employee will need to initiate the application for a work visa on the Enter Finland website. After that’s completed, they can give you consent to supplement their application. On Enter Finland for Employers, you can provide the job contract, pay the visa application fee, and supply any additional documentation as requested.
Application processing time
The processing time for your visa will vary based on what type of visa you’re applying for and several other factors. However, as of 2023, the Finnish government is dedicated to speeding up the application process by issuing work-related visas within one month.
If you’re applying for a fast-track visa, it should be processed within two weeks. No matter what type of visa you’re applying for, you can speed up the processing time by ensuring you provide all of the completed documentation with your application. Missing documents will slow down your application.
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How can I get a work permit for Finland?
Before you can get a work permit for Finland, you’ll need a valid job offer. Once you have a job offer, you can go to the Enter Finland website and apply for the appropriate type of visa.
You’ll need to fill out the application, provide the necessary documents, schedule your appointment, and pay your fee. After you complete the process, you must wait for a decision to receive your visa.
You’ll need to apply for your work visa from your home country. So if you’re in Finland on a tourist visa or your passport (if you don’t need a visa) and you find a job, you’ll have to go back home to apply for your work visa.
Can I work in Finland as an American?
You can work in Finland as an American. If you already have a job offer, you must complete the work visa application process. If you don’t have a job, you’ll need to find one before you can get a work visa. Although you can travel to Finland to look for work with just a passport, you’ll need to return to the US to apply for your work visa.
Before you begin looking for work, make sure your professional qualifications will be accepted in Finland by contacting the Finnish National Agency for Education. Once you’ve done that, have your resume and other documents translated into Finnish. Some places will accept English documents, but you’ll be more competitive if you submit them in Finnish.
How long does it take to get a Finnish work permit?
The average processing time for a work permit is 30 to 45 days. However, the Finnish government is attempting to issue permits within one month in 2023.
The processing time begins after your appointment at the Finnish embassy or consulate and ends when a decision is reached. The time it takes you to submit paperwork and pay fees isn’t included in the processing time. Make sure your application is complete and error-free to speed up the process.
Can I immigrate to Finland without a job?
If you’re a resident of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland, you can file an announcement with the local registry office and move to Finland without restrictions. Citizens of other European Union countries can move to Finland by filing a “Right of Residence.” While you don’t need a job to file a right of residence, you do need to prove you can support yourself.
However, if you’re not a citizen of another Nordic country or the EU, you’ll need a residence visa to stay in Finland longer than three months. Some residence visas that don’t require a job offer include the following:
Entrepreneur’s residence permit
This residence visa is open to sole proprietors and partners in a business. You need to work for yourself in Finland to get this visa — you can’t qualify for it just because you own a company. You also have to register your company with the Trade Register of the Finnish Patent and Registration Office and prove that it’s profitable enough to support you.
Student’s residence permit
You can also move to Finland without a job offer if you’ll be studying at an approved study place. You’ll have to apply for a student’s residence permit before you come to Finland. You’ll also have to prove you can support yourself during your studies.
Family member residence permit
If you have a family member living in Finland that you plan to live with, you may be eligible for a residence permit. You don’t necessarily have to have a job, but you have to prove you can support yourself, or your sponsoring family member has to prove they can support you.
How can I move to Finland from the USA?
As an American, you’ll need a residence visa to move to Finland for more than 90 days. The easiest way to qualify for a residence visa is with a job contract from an employer in Finland. If you don’t have that, you’ll have to apply for another type of residence visa, such as an entrepreneur’s residence visa, a student resident’s visa, or a family member resident visa.
You can apply for a residence visa on the Enter Finland website. You’ll have to fill out the application and provide all of the required documents. Then you can pay the fee and schedule an appointment with your local Finnish embassy or consulate. After your appointment, you have to wait for a decision from the Finnish government. If your application is approved, you can move to Finland.