Finnish Startup Permit
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.
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.
When we evaluate the business plan, the team and the resources, we would like to see that:
Please check residence permit for entrepreneur. The requirements differ from startup entrepreneur’s residence permit.
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. PLEASE NOTE that during summer period (July-August) you can apply at any time, but processing times are longer than normally.
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.
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.
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.
Business Finland is processing Eligibility Statement applications normally.
However, there might be restrictions / closure of Finnish missions abroad. Please check the latest updates on Migri’s corona virus info page. (https://migri.fi/en/coronavirus)
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 two weeks. During summer period (July-August) processing times are expected to be longer.
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 startup entrepreneur. 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.
There is no quota.
Please visit Finnish Immigration Service. Link to the application is at the bottom of the page; Extended permit for an entrepreneur, OLE_YRI.
You do not need to apply for a new eligibility statement from Business Finland for extended residence permit application. Finnish Immigration Service will request statement from Business Finland directly if needed. In case further information is required, you will be contacted.
Finnish Immigration Service cannot grant a residence permit for longer time than your passport is valid. Please, make sure before applying that your passport is valid for long enough to avoid need to re-apply too soon.