Residence permit application for an entrepreneur
Apply with this application for a residence permit if you intend to come to Finland to become an entrepreneur. Before a permit can be issued, entrepreneurs usually need to enter their business in the Trade Register maintained by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.
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.
- Expected processing time for electronic application
First permit 11-12 months / extended permit 11 months
- Expected processing time for paper application
First permit 11-12 months / extended permit 11 months
- Electronic application fee
First permit 490 € / extended permit 160 €
- Paper application fee
First permit 690 € / extended permit 430 €
Freelancers and light entrepreneurs
Freelance work means that you work independently, and usually for several contractors, without having a permanent employment relationship.
You are considered a ‘light entrepreneur’, if you employ yourself and perform entrepreneurial activities. You provide services or sell products to your own customers through a platform company (such as Foodora, Freska, Uber, Wolt).
To work as a freelancer or a light entrepreneur, you need to have a residence permit for an entrepreneur. Apply for a residence permit for an employed person only if you perform work in an employment relationship under the employer’s direction and supervision.
In order to get a residence permit for an entrepreneur, you need to have a Business ID. If you are a private trader, meaning that you have an individually-owned business (toiminimi), your domicile must be registered in an EEA country.
As a private trader, you can apply for a residence permit for an entrepreneur without a Business ID only if you apply for your first residence permit before arriving in Finland. This is because you cannot establish an individually-owned business (toiminimi) abroad. Your residence permit application must include all basic details about your business and the documents needed for registering your business.
General requirements for entry into Finland
Make sure you meet the general requirements for entry into Finland before you submit an application
- You have a valid passport:
You can only get a residence permit if you are able to travel to Finland and stay in the country legally. To do this, you must have a passport that is valid throughout the time your residence permit is valid.
- You have not been prescribed a prohibition of entry.
- You are not a danger to public order and security.
- You are not a danger to public health.
- You are not a danger to Finland’s international relations.
You must also meet the following requirements:
- You are a self-employed person and your form of business is one of the following:
- a private trader, in other words a private entrepreneur
- a partner in a general partnership
- a general partner (not a silent partner) in a limited partnership
- a member of a cooperative who has an unlimited liability for refinancing
- entrepreneur in a limited liability company
- Your business operations are profitable
Your business must be profitable. Your means of support must be secured by your income from your business. A Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) will assess whether you meet these requirements.
- You have registered your business in the Trade Register maintained by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office
Right to work
- When you have been issued with a residence permit for an entrepreneur, you may also work as an employee for another employer. However, you must earn your living primarily from your business, as a residence permit for an entrepreneur is issued for engaging in business activities.
- If you have been granted a residence permit on some other grounds than entrepreneurship, you can still start a business in Finland if the main purpose of your stay in the country is some other than entrepreneurship (such as other work, your family ties or studies). In other words, the main purpose of your stay in Finland cannot be entrepreneurship.
- If you apply for an extended permit, check if you have the right to work while your application is being processed.
- 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,
- Colour 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)
- 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