Finland has great work opportunities. It was rated as the eighth richest country in Europe and a great number of people would like the opportunity to work in Finland. However, in order to freely work there, third-country nationals need a Finland work visa.
The work visa is slightly different from other visas since it’s a long-term permit and it allows the holder to stay for a longer period of time than the regular 90 days limit.
Do I Need a Visa to Work in Finland?
If you aren’t from any of these countries listed below you need a visa:
- The Schengen Area and the EEA/EU.
- The Nordic countries.
- The US., New Zealand, Australia, San Marino, the Vatican, Republic of Andorra, and Japan.
Finland also has a visa facilitation agreement with other countries.
Those who don’t need a visa to work in Finland can only work for 90 days, afterward, they have to register as a working resident in Finland.
Eligibility Requirements for a Finland Work Visa
In order to qualify for a work visa in Finland you need to meet some specific criteria:
- You must have a valid work contract in Finland.
- You must have a university degree (except for seasonal work).
- You must work professionally in your field.
- You must be clear of any criminal charges.
- You must not be a danger to Finland.
- You must uphold all Finnish laws.
- You must not be subjected to any travel bans in the Schengen Area.
- For a specialist visa: You must qualify as a highly-skilled worker.
- For welfare and healthcare: You must be authorized to practice your profession.
- For an entrepreneur visa: You are self-employed in the form of:
- a private entrepreneur.
- a partner in a general partnership.
- a general partner in a limited partnership.
- a member of a cooperative who has unlimited liability for refinancing.
- an entrepreneur in a limited liability company.
- For a start-up visa: You must have a start-up plan and financial support.
- For specialist visa and EU Blue Card:
- You must have a salary higher than average.
- You must have high competence in completing the required work
- For a researcher visa: You must hold a valid certificate proving your researcher status.
- For scientific research: You must have an invitation to work on a scientific project.
- For religious work: Your employer must be a registered association.
- For au pair work: You must be between the ages of 17-30.
How to Apply for a Finland Work Visa?
Here is a list of the steps you need to take when you apply for a Finland work visa:
- Find a job.
- Apply for the work permit.
- Visit a local Finnish mission.
- Wait for an answer.
- Go to Finland.
Find a job
Before you apply for your work visa you must find a job in Finland. It’s obligatory to present a valid work contract with the rest of the application. Without work, you won’t be receiving a positive answer regarding your visa.
Apply for the work permit.
Once you have secured a job in Finland, then you can apply for a work permit. You can apply for the permit through the e-service online, or you can apply on paper. The e-services applications are easier to go through.
Visit a local Finnish Mission
Here you must submit the original documents that you attached to your application in the e-service (passport, civil documents, travel insurance, and so on). You will also be asked to submit your fingerprints.
You also need to pay the application fee for the e-service when you applied.
If by any chance you applied in Finland then you need to visit a service point in Finland of the Immigration Service.
If you applied on paper then bring your application with you alongside all your required documents, and pay for the fee when you hand in your application.
*Please make sure that the necessary documents are translated if they are not in English, Finnish or Swedish, and legalized if required.
Wait for an answer
You should know that your application will be processed in two ways. Firstly, an Employment and Economic Development Office will process the application for you and make a partial decision. Afterward, the Finnish Immigration Service will finalize your application process and a decision will be made.
If you applied abroad, you cannot travel to Finland and wait for a decision. If you were in Finland then you can wait for the decision even if your visa expires.
You will be notified of the decision through the e-service if you applied online, if you applied on paper the Immigration Office in Finland will send the decision to your local Finnish mission at your country of residence, which in turn will let you know, either by email or post.
Your residence permit based on employment will be sent to the embassy in your country, once it arrives you can pick it up and head over to Finland.
Go to Finland
Once your residence card has been issued your personal info will automatically be recorded in the Finnish Population Information System. When you arrive in Finland you can start working as soon as you want.
What Is the Duration of a Work Visa for Finland?
Typically, a work visa issued by Finnish authorities lasts about a year. However, the duration will vary depending on your type of visa.
If you have a B permit, otherwise known as a temporary permit, it will be valid only for a year. If you have an A permit, also known as a continuous permit, it will be valid for as long as you have work in Finland.
Can I Extend a Finland Work Permit?
Yes, you can. Depending on the type of your permit you can either apply for an extension every year or every four years. A temporary permit requires to be extended every year, while a continuous permit after four years.
You should apply for an extension at least three months before your permit expires.
After you’ve lived with a continuous permit for about 5 years you may apply for a residence permit which is valid indefinitely unless there is ground to revoke your residence.
Can I Switch Employers With a Finland Work Visa?
If you applied for a work permit on the basis of a specific employer then you can’t switch employers. If you want to change your employers then you must apply for a new work permit.
If you applied for a work permit that allows you to switch work as you wish, you should have no problems, but make sure you check beforehand the right to work based on the permit when you apply.
If you want to work for multiple employers you must add the ‘several employers’ option to your application.
Other Types of Finnish Work Visas
There are several types of Finnish work visas, some types will vary on the kind of work you’re qualified for, while some will vary based on the length of duration.
- Job-seekers visa.
- EU Blue Card.
- Start-up entrepreneur.
- Religious work.
- Au Pair.
- Seasonal work.
Finnish job seekers visa
If you completed a degree program in Finland you are eligible to apply for a job-seekers visa. This visa is valid for a year and it allows you to stay in Finland while you look for employment.
Once you have a valid work contract you can then apply for either a temporary permit or a continuous permit.
EU Blue Card
The EU Blue Card is granted to highly qualified individuals who wish to work in Finland. Alongside the general requirements, you will need to have a higher education degree, and your job salary must pass the average number. Your gross income must be at least €4,929 per month.
This type of permit issued by Finland allows you to work only in Finland and not in other Schengen countries. This visa usually lasts about 2 years and it must be renewed every 2 years, as long as you have your job.
Finland entrepreneur visa
In order to qualify for this type of permit you must be:
- A private entrepreneur.
- A partner in a general partnership.
- A general partner in a limited partnership.
- A member of a cooperative who has unlimited liability for refinancing.
- An entrepreneur in a limited liability company.
If you want to work as a freelancer or as a light-entrepreneur this is the type of permit that is most adequate for you. You are considered a free-lancer if you work for several contractors, independently without a permanent employment status. Whereas if you are self-employed and perform entrepreneurial activities you are considered a light-entrepreneur.
In order to secure a work permit for this type of work your business must be profitable, a Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) will evaluate if your business meets these requirements.
Don’t forget: If you get this work permit you must register your business in the Trade Register maintained by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.
Finland start-up entrepreneur visa
You qualify for this type of permit if you have a start-up business. But, keep in mind that before you apply for this permit you must have a positive Eligibility Statement from Business Finland.
Finland specialist visa
You should apply for this permit if you qualify for the category of a highly skilled worker that can work as an expert in any field in Finland. Your income salary should be at least €3,000 per month for this permit.
Finland religious work visa
You can apply for this work permit if you are working for a religious association. But, your employer must be a registered group, and you must have a valid work contract.
Finland Au Pair visa
This type of permit is usually given with the goal of helping young individuals between the ages of 17 and 30 get acquainted with the Finnish culture and language by having them work with a host family in Finland.
Finland Seasonal work visa
For seasonal work, you have to apply for a short-term visa. This visa is usually valid only for three months.
Can I Bring My Family to Finland if I Have a Work Visa?
Yes, your family members can apply for a residence permit on the basis of family ties as long as you have a valid work visa.
How Much Does a Finnish Work Visa Cost?
If you apply through the electronic service then the payment fee is €490, however, if you apply on paper that’s more expensive; €690.
When Can I Apply for Permanent Residence?
After you’ve lived for five years with a continuous permit you can apply for a permanent residence.
When Can I Apply for Finland Citizenship?
You can apply for Finland citizenship after you’ve completed 5 years of uninterrupted living in Finland. You must be the holder of a continuous permit in order to qualify for citizenship.