Entrepreneur Residence


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 4-6 months / extended permit 4-6 months
  • Expected processing time for paper application
  • First permit 4-6 months / extended permit 4-6 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.

Entrepreneur. This is what you should do:  

Make sure you meet the requirements for the residence permit you are applying for. 

✅ Make sure you have all the attachments needed. If necessary, have them translated and legalised. The processing time may be longer if you have not filled in your application sufficiently.

✅ Fill in your application.

✅ Pay for your application in the online service Enter Finland, at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) or at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

✅ If you are abroad, visit a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate). If you are already in Finland, book an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

✅ Wait for a decision. The Finnish Immigration Service will contact you if necessary.

✅ Read what happens after you have applied. Check the estimated processing time of your application here. You can follow the processing of your application with the help of our chatbot Kamu. In addition, you will usually receive automated messages at the different processing stages of your application.

✅ You should wait for the residence permit in the same country or locality where you submitted your application and proved your identity.

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 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: 

✅ Your business operations are profitable 

✅ 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.

General attachments:

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