Securing the correct visa for Finland is essential for expats to enjoy the multitude of benefits that come with living in Finland. The country is a signatory to the Schengen agreement and is an EU/EEA member state, so nationals from countries that are part of the agreement or from the EU and EEA blocs can enjoy visa-free travel to Finland.
Tourist visas for Finland
Nationals from the Nordic countries, the USA, Australia, Monaco and Japan, among others, will not need a tourist visa to visit Finland. Those from countries that do not have visa agreements with Finland will need to apply for a tourist visa to legally enter the country.
Tourist visas are typically valid for 90 days during a 180-day period. Those looking to travel to Finland for tourism, business or family visit purposes must ensure their passport will be valid for at least 90 days after their intended departure from the Schengen zone. It is also essential to secure travel insurance and provide proof of accommodation, funds and a return ticket.
Some expat visitors may be required to write a cover letter detailing the reason for their visit to Finland. Those who have been invited to Finland by a friend or family member can submit an invitation letter along with their Schengen visa application. The letter must include the family member or friend’s details, as well as their residence status in Finland.
Business visas for Finland
Those travelling to Finland on a Schengen visa will not be permitted to work or study on the visa. It therefore becomes essential for expats to ensure they apply for the correct visa. The Business Schengen Visa for Finland will allow holders to perform business activities in the country at the invitation of a Finnish company.
New arrivals will need to submit an invitation letter, proof of funds and a letter from their employer stating the reason for their travels to Finland and the intended duration of their stay. The company will be expected to submit additional documents such as its trade licence, memorandum and article of association.
Work permits for Finland
Expats who are not from EU and EEA countries looking to live and work in Finland for more than 90 days will need a residence permit. It’s not possible to secure a work permit before receiving a job offer. Expats must submit their employment contract along with their university qualifications and proof of professional experience.
Only those undertaking seasonal work in Finland will be exempt from the university degree requirement. Seasonal workers who will be in the country for a maximum of 90 days will not need a residence permit. Other seasonal workers will need either a certificate for seasonal work and a residence permit for seasonal work.
Residence permits for Finland
Most expats moving to Finland are likely to need a residence permit for a right to work and live in the country. EU nationals have the right to live and work in Finland, so this will not be a necessity for them. There are multiple types of resident permits available for newcomers looking to work in Finland. These include those for specialists, seasonal workers, interns, startup entrepreneurs and media representatives, among others.
Those who are EU Blue Card holders or those coming to Finland to work as specialists, startup entrepreneurs or managers with an ICT residence permit in top or middle management can fast-track their residence permit application.
Holders of these residence permits are eligible for D visas, which allow them to immediately travel to Finland and forego the usual one or two-week wait other expats may be subjected to. Expats can become eligible for permanent residency status in Finland after holding a residence permit for a continuous four-year period.
- Visit the official Finnish Immigration website for more on applying for residence permits.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
What do expats say about Finnish visa processes?
"I tackled the visa process myself, and it was very smooth and easy. It seems that the process is highly dependent on your status and background." Learn more about moving to Finland in our interview with Japanese expat Daiki.
►See Working in Finland to learn more about job opportunities and the work culture in the country
Are you an expat living in Finland?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Finland. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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