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Finland is planning to introduce a new type of residence permit for startups

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 28.9.2017 14.13
Press release 101/2017

A new type of residence permit is proposed for growth or startup entrepreneurs. At the same time, the application process for an extended permit would be simplified and the validity period of a first residence permit for specialists would be extended. The Government submitted a proposal for amending the Aliens Act to Parliament on 28 September.

The aim is to make it easier for entrepreneurs and experts to move to Finland and thereby to promote economic growth and employment. The amendments are scheduled to enter into force as soon as possible.

The competition for international experts is so intense that the residence permit system, along with other factors affecting moving to Finland, needs to be as smooth as possible. The amendments are part of a wider package that the Government has introduced to facilitate the immigration and entrepreneurship of experts.

The aim is to make it possible for growth entrepreneurs to get a residence permit as quickly as possible. The residence permit would be issued by the Finnish Immigration Service but the applicant should obtain a business assessment from the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, Tekes, before applying for a residence permit.

Tekes would assess if the company’s business model shows potential for rapid international growth. The role of Tekes is based on its role as a national authority and solid experience of startups. The Finnish Immigration Service would no longer assess business activities but make sure that the applicant has secure means of subsistence and there are no reasons related to national security that would hinder the issue of a residence permit.

The residence permit would be issued for two years, after which it could be renewed. It would take no longer than a few weeks to issue a residence permit.

Finnish startup permit based on the models of other countries

Finland has followed the example set by other countries such as Denmark in introducing a residence permit for startups. Several EU countries have introduced a separate residence permit for growth entrepreneurs. Studies show that it is not the residence permit systems that attract entrepreneurs but good business opportunities. The startup permit sends a message that Finland invests in growth entrepreneurship by all available means.

Residence permit for entrepreneurs covers limited liability companies

The residence permits other than the permit for growth entrepreneurs would be changed so that in the future it would also be possible to issue residence permits for entrepreneurs operating on a limited liability basis. At present, the permit can only be issued to self-employed people who have full personal liability for their business activities, for example self-employed people operating under a trade name. At the same time, the current name ‘residence permit for a self-employed person’ would be changed into ‘residence permit for an entrepreneur’.

In the future, there would be two kinds of residence permits for entrepreneurs — a residence permit for a growth entrepreneur and a residence permit for an entrepreneur.

Specialists issued with a residence permit for two years

A first residence permit for a specialist could be issued for a period of two years instead of the current one year. This would also apply to their family members. The requirement for issuing the permit is that the employment relationship is continuous and valid for at least two years.

Applications for an extended permit could be submitted online

The residence permit process would be streamlined so that applicants would no longer be fingerprinted when applying for an extended permit. It would thus be possible to apply for an extended permit online without visiting the Finnish Immigration Service.

This would apply to all residence permits. This change would facilitate the residence permit process particularly for employees working in international companies as they have to travel a lot.


Elina Immonen, Chief Specialist, Migration Department, tel. +358 295 488 593, [email protected]

Riitta Koponen, Director of Legislative Affairs, Migration Department, tel. +358 295 488 610, [email protected]