Other countries

Right to work without a residence permit

People from other than EU or Nordic countries need a residence permit if they intend to work in Finland. Working without a residence permit is allowed in some occasions, though. Even then, however, you need to have a valid visa if visa requirements concern you or a Schengen residence permit granted by another country which allows you to reside in Finland. Exemption from the visa requirements enables working without a residence permit for the duration of visa-free residing time. A residence permit is not required in the following cases:

If you come to Finland on research purposes you may conduct research without a residence permit if you have a valid visa or you are from a country whose nationals have been exempted from visa requirements or you have a residence permit granted by another Schengen country. It is also required that the research is based on an invitation or contract and it lasts for a maximum of three months. A residence permit is also not required in cases where a researcher resides in Finland for no longer than three months on the basis of a hosting agreement under the Directive on researchers signed in another EU country.

A residence permit is not required from teachers, specialists and interpreters coming to work based on an invitation or contract and the duration of the job is no longer than three months.

More specific information is available at the Finnish Immigration Service website.

How and when to start applying for a residence permit?

Processing times for applications vary greatly depending on the prevailing amount of applications and, therefore, it is difficult to estimate the exact processing time. Please fill in your application carefully and ensure that you have attached all required documents to your application; if any information is missing it will take longer to process your application. It is very advisable to start the process with applications months before your planned arrival. It is important that all necessary paperwork is delivered to the embassy or consulate in good time; the procedure cannot be started before that.

Generally, the first residence permit should be applied from the Finnish diplomatic mission in the applicant’s country of origin. It is also possible to submit your application online but you are still required to visit the embassy or consulate in person in order to verify your identity and to give your fingerprints for the biometric residence permit card. An electronic application cannot be processed until you have visited the embassy personally. It is also very important to present the original copies of any supplements needed and to take your passport and a passport photo to the embassy. Please note that your passport must be valid for your entire stay in Finland or possibly longer. When applying for a residence permit, it is also necessary to have the original contract of employment or invitation letter from your host University.

The application form can be printed out from the website of the Finnish Immigration Service and in some cases it can possibly be submitted online. The forms are also available in diplomatic missions. More specific information pertaining to residence permits and fees can be found on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service.

Family members

When you are moving to Finland together with your family member(s), they are also required to have residence permits. The permit to a family member can be issued on the grounds of family ties. In Finnish legislation, the definition of a family member is somewhat narrower than in some other countries: comparable family members for non-EU citizens are a spouse, cohabiting partner, registered partner or child. Also a guardian for a child under 18 years is considered a family member.

When applying for permits for family members, please pay attention to the fact that you and your family members may be interviewed to verify the family ties. If your family members will arrive to Finland at different times, accompanying family members should regardless apply for the permit at the same time.

Please pay attention to information on the Finnish Immigration Service website to get more specific information concerning residence permits admitted on the grounds of family ties.