Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Moving to Finland

The Republic of Finland is a Nordic country in Northeastern Europe. Its capital is Helsinki, a large, global city. About 5.3 people live in Finland, mainly in the South of the country, making it the most sparsely populated member of the European Union. Its native language is Finnish, which is difficult for many foreigners to learn, and many people also speak Swedish. It is a semi-presidential republic.


Residence Permits

Resident permits can be issued to foreingers coming into Finland for purposes of family ties in Finland, Finnish descent, remigration, humanitarian reasons or special conditions to do with studies or employment.

Citizens of other Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland) can enter Finland, reside and work without any permits. Citizens of the European Union have the right to enter, reside, study, seek work or practice a profession for up to three months, but must register with the police if they wish to exceed this period.

To apply for a residence permit, you must contact your nearest Finnish embassy. The embassy will provide all necessary forms and further information on the process, which is specific to your country of origin.

In any case, to apply for a residence permit in Finland, you must have a valid passport, passport photo and show a criminal background check. You must provide information on your country of origin, place of residence and mother tongue.

A residence permit is granted either for one year, or for the duration of one’s studies or work. If you reside in Finland for five years continuously, you may apply for permanent residency.

Click here for a directory of application forms.

Work Permit

To work in Finland, you must apply for either a residence permit for workers, or just a residence permit. In the application for the residence permit for workers, you must have a job lined up, and describe your position, as well as the nature and location of your company.

Certain types of professions do not require a residence permit for workers. Some occupations include manager of small or large firm, religious worker, athelete or teacher. Each of these jobs has specific criteria that you need to show for your application. For instance, you may need to show your education certificates fo rprofessional and teaching jobs, or details of the company you will work if you are a manager. Some of these occupations have fixed-term employment. Someone working in a factory may only have a contract for up to six months, and a teacher can only work for one year.

Student Visa

If you are a non-EU citizen that plans to study in Finland for over three months, you are required to apply for a student/residence permit. You must first be accepted by an accredited Finnish educational institution.

To apply, you must submit:

1.       Clarification of studies (appendix form OLE 4)

2.       Copy of all pages of your passport

3.       Letter of acceptance from your school

4.       Any previous degrees, depending on your case

5.       Proof of funds

6.       Proof of health insurance

7.       Language certificate, if necessary

You are encouraged to apply from outside of Finland, but you have the option of applying from inside the country if you really need to. You can work part-time under a student visa, but you’ll face many regulations.

Moving Pets

In order to import your pet to Finland, it is required to by microchipped or tattooed for identity. You must have an EU Pets Passport or health certificate.

This is regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Other Information

Visit Expat Finland for some great resources.

Click here for a guide to Finnish Embassies.

Click here for the Finnish Customs Authority.


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