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 of not less than 2 founders with versatile expertise
- an intention of founding a fast growth company in Finland
- an innovative business plan
- commitment to the business idea and eventually building 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
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
- 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.
How to apply
STEP 1: Eligibility Statement from Business Finland
Before submitting the application to the Finnish Immigration Service, you must ask for an Eligibility Statement from Business Finland. There are no set deadlines for submitting the request.
- Describe your business plan according the instructions given in the Template for the Eligibility Statement Request (rtf)
- Submit your Eligibility Statement Request and other necessary documents to Business Finland by using the secure e-mail service https://secure.businessfinland.fi/startup-permit
STEP 2: Application to the Finnish Immigration Service
If you receive a positive Eligibility Statement from Business Finland, you can submit your application for the Finnish Startup Permit to Finnish Immigration Service. The Eligibility Statement is valid for 2 months. You need to submit the Eligibility Statement as an attachment to your residence permit application.
- More information about applying the residence permit can be found at the Finnish Immigration Service's website.
- Application needs to be submitted in 2 months from the date of signature of the Eligibility Statement. Application can be done in online portal https://enterfinland.fi/eServices
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. The criteria for funding are close to the startup permit criteria, so the application process will be fast and smooth, if there hasn't been any major changes to the team, business plan or resources. To be eligible for Tempo funding, we expect a 30.000€ equity investment by third party or entrepreneurs.
Frequently asked questions
If you have submitted your eligibility statement application by using the secure email service and you have seen a dialog:
yes indeed, we have received your application. We will not send any other confirmation email of your application.
The average processing time is about 38 days.
A residence permit for high-growth startup entrepreneurs was added to the Finnish Aliens Act in 2018. The text can be found from Finlex in Finnish. It is legally binding only in Finnish and Swedish. Here you can find the content translated in English.
High-growth startup entrepreneur
An alien who intends to hold a responsible position on a full-time basis in such a company registered or to be registered in Finland whose business model and competence among the staff fulfil the requirements set out by the Innovation Funding Agency Business Finland for funding granted to innovative fast-growing startups is considered to be a high-growth startup entrepreneur.
Residence permit for a high-growth startup entrepreneur
(1) An alien is issued with a continuous residence permit if the Innovation Funding Agency Business Finland has given a favourable opinion on the work as a high-growth startupentrepreneur. A further requirement for the issue of the residence permit is that the alien meets the other requirements for issuing a residence permit laid down in this chapter.
(2) The residence permit application shall include the opinion of the Innovation Funding Agency Business Finland which was issued no more than two months before the residence permit application was filed.
(3) A continuous residence permit is issued to a high-growth startup entrepreneur and his or her family member upon application filed in Finland or abroad.
NOTE! This is unofficial translation and not legally binding.
Do they cover spouse and children?
There is no quota. The startup residence permit can cover the family members (spouse and children under the age of 18).