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Finnish Startup Permit

 

Build your startup in Finland

The Finnish Startup Permit makes it possible for international growth entrepreneurs to build a startup company in Finland and to become part of Finland's vibrant startup ecosystem. The permit is meant for innovative startup founders coming from countries outside the European Union.

Before sending your Startup Permit application to the Finnish Immigration Service, you must get a favorable assessment from Business Finland. Business Finland evaluates whether your business model, team and resources show potential for rapid international growth. After the assessment you will receive an Eligibility Statement to be attached to the Startup Permit application. 

The permit can initially be issued for max. two years, after which it can be renewed. The permit does not involve investments or financial support.

Who can apply?

To be eligible to apply for the Finnish Startup Permit, you should have

  • a startup team – at least 2 founders - with versatile expertise planning to move to Finland
  • an intention of founding a fast growth company in Finland
  • an innovative business plan
  • commitment to the business idea and working full-time in the company
  • significant holding in the company (For example the team applying for the permit, has a holding of not less than 60% of the company.)
  • access to sufficient resources and funding for the company's early stage development
  • secure financial means for support 

If you have not been an entrepreneur before, we strongly recommend to take the free online Starting Up course. There are higher changes that your application is accepted if business idea validation and plans are done according to the principles taught at the course. 

Business Finland's evaluation criteria for the Eligibility Statement

When we evaluate the business plan, the team and the resources, we would like to see that:

  • the team understands what need the product or service idea meets 
  • the team shares a vision to grow company to reach at least tens of millions revenue at global markets
  • the business idea has a competitive advantage 
  • the team has identified a potential customer base and earnings model 
  • the business model is scalable internationally
  • the team has estimated the size and business potential of the target market
  • the team has versatile expertise
  • the value created in the new company accumulates in the Finnish economy (salaries paid, export revenues) and the company is headquartered in Finland
We do not expect the startup team to have confirmed financing at the time of application, however, in the application process an adequate level of financial means has to be shown.
If you don’t meet criteria for Startup Permit e.g. you are establishing:

  • a Finnish subsidiary or a branch office of a foreign enterprise
  • a company aiming solely to Finnish markets
  • a business without an innovative competitive advantage (e.g. restaurant, consulting, import or distribution business or other service business without an innovative business model)

Please check residence permit for entrepreneur. The requirements differ from startup entrepreneur’s residence permit.

Finnish startup environment

Finland offers an unique innovation environment and a booming startup scene.

Read more

How to apply

STEP 1: Eligibility statement application to Business Finland

Business Finland evaluates if the business plan and the team fulfill the criteria for fast growth startup business. Eligibility Statement will be applied as a team, and one team member acts as a contact person by submitting the application on behalf of the whole team. 

1. Submit an Eligibility Statement application with the necessary documents (passport copies and cv’s of all team members) to Business Finland through Enter Finland platform.

  • Create an account to Enter Finland 
  • After logging in to Enter Finland, choose First residence permit --> Work --> Residence permit application for a startup entrepreneur, or go directly here and choose I want to apply for an Eligibility Statement at the bottom of the page.

2. You can follow the status of your application in Enter Finland. Enter Finland sends email notifications when there is new information available related to the application. 

  • If Business Finland needs further information, a supplement request will be sent through Enter Finland. You will have five (5) days to reply.
  • After Business Finland’s evaluation you will receive a positive or a negative statement to Enter Finland. 

STEP 2: Residence Permit Application to the Finnish Immigration Service

If you have received a positive Eligibility Statement from Business Finland, you can apply for the residence permit from Finnish Immigration Service. Residence permit application needs to be submitted individually by each team member in Enter Finland platform. The contact person of the Eligibility Statement application is responsible to share the statement with the team members. 

The Eligibility Statement is valid for 2 months and is a mandatory attachment to startup entrepreneur’s residence permit application.

  • More information about applying the residence permit can be found at the Finnish Immigration Service's website.
  • In the application, you must show sufficient financial resources (at least 1000€ per month) for your own living costs for the duration of the residence permit.
  • With the new fast track service it is possible to get your residence permit in two weeks. Eligibility Statement process is not included in this processing time.

STEP 3: Establish a company in Finland

After founding your company in Finland you can benefit from the versatile services of the Finnish startup ecosystem. You can, for example, apply for Business Finland's Tempo funding. To be eligible for Tempo funding, we expect a 30.000€ equity investment by third party or entrepreneurs.

STEP 4: Renewal of startup permit

If you want to continue living in Finland after your first residence permit expires, you need to apply for an extension. Extended Startup Permit can be applied directly from Finnish Immigration Service. You do not need to apply for a new eligibility statement from Business Finland. Finnish Immigration Service will request statement from Business Finland directly if needed. In case further information is required, you will be contacted.

To be eligible for extension, you need to have a limited liability company up and running in Finland, proceeded with the plans and have capabilities for growing the business internationally. Residence permit can be extended only if you are living in Finland and have travelled abroad less than half of the duration of residence permit.

It is recommended to send the application about 3 months before the residence permit is going to expire. 

Frequently asked questions