The conditions and practices for moving to Finland vary depending on whether a person moves to Finland from an EU country or outside the EU and whether they move here to study or short-term seasonal work, for example. This page includes examples of the most typical situations.
It is advisable to find out in more detail the conditions for applying for different residence permits at the Finnish Immigration Service. More information on the conditions for moving to Finland and the different residence and work permits is available at the Finnish Immigration Service and on InfoFinland.fi in 12 languages.
A worker’s residence permit often involves a labour market test. Labour market test means that the employer must determine whether it is possible, within a reasonable period of time, to find labour for the job in question from Finland, the EU or the EEA. Labour market test, or the process of determining the availability of labour, will no longer apply to holders of a residence permit for an employed person who have worked in Finland for at least one year and who are transferring to another sector.
EU citizens can stay in Finland for a maximum of three months without registering their residence
EU citizens can arrive in Finland with a valid passport or an identity card. EU citizens can stay in Finland for a maximum of three months without registering their residence. EU citizens have the right to work, act as an entrepreneur and study in Finland similarly to any Finnish citizen.
EU citizens do not need a work permit in Finland; instead, they can work as soon as they have arrived in Finland.
If EU citizens continue to live or work in Finland for longer than three months, they must apply for registration of their right of residence by using the Enter Finland service or at the Finnish Immigration Service. EU citizens must also register with the Digital and Population Data Services Agency if they permanently move to Finland to live here for at least one year.
People arriving from outside the EU and Nordic countries need a residence permit
When citizens of a non-EU country or a Nordic country arrive in Finland to work or do business here, they need a residence permit. They must apply for a residence permit before arriving in Finland. They can apply for a residence permit after they have found a job in Finland. A person moving to Finland to work here usually needs a residence permit for an employed person. There are different kinds of permits depending on the type of work.
A start-up entrepreneur from outside the EU or the Nordic countries can apply for a residence permit for growth or start-up entrepreneurs. A concrete business plan is a condition for obtaining this kind of residence permit.
Seasonal work requires a seasonal work permit
Persons moving to Finland for seasonal work need a seasonal work permit. Seasonal work may not last for more than nine months. Seasonal work is available in agriculture and forestry, for example. If seasonal work lasts for less than three months and a person moves to Finland from a country subject to a visa requirement, they must apply for a seasonal work permit at the Finnish mission. If seasonal work lasts for longer than three months, the person should apply for a seasonal work permit at the Finnish Immigration Service.
International students may apply for registration of a right of residence or a residence permit
A citizen of an EU country arriving to study in Finland must apply for registration of the right of residence if the stay lasts longer than three consecutive months. They should apply for registration of the right of residence at the Enter Finland service or the Finnish Immigration Service. A person residing permanently in Finland for at least one year must also visit the Digital and Population Data Services Agency to register as resident.
A citizen of a country other than an EU or a Nordic country, who arrives in Finland to study here for more than 90 days, needs a residence permit. They must apply for a residence permit before arriving in Finland. Before a person can be granted a residence permit to study in Finland, they must have a place to study in Finland.
A person who has graduated from an educational institution in Finland may obtain a temporary residence permit to find work. The person must apply for the permit before the residence permit for studies expires.
A researcher is required to have a higher university degree
A person who moves to Finland for academic research, to undertake licentiate studies or to prepare a doctoral thesis can apply for a residence permit for a researcher. In order to be considered a researcher:
- the person must hold a doctoral degree or a higher university degree that enables the holder to attend a doctoral programme, and
- the person must have been selected by the research organisation, and
- the person has been granted the right to enter the territory of an EU Member State to carry out research that usually requires at least a higher university degree.
A researcher is always required to have at least a higher university degree. A holder of a residence permit for a researcher is allowed to do other work too. However, the holder of such a permit must be a full-time researcher and make progress with the research.