Finland is a great country for digital nomads who value a high standard of living, a thriving startup ecosystem, and breathtaking natural scenery. From the cosmopolitan vibe of Helsinki to the historic atmosphere of Turku and the magical aurora borealis of Lapland, there's plenty to see and do.
But what kind of visa do you need to legally stay and work in Finland? The answer is Finland’s Self-Employment Visa. This visa lets you work as a freelancer, consultant, or entrepreneur in Finland without finding a local employer or setting up a company in Finland.
This article will explain everything you need to know about Finland’s Self-Employment Visa, including the eligibility requirements, the application process, and the advantages of getting this visa. As a bonus, we will also give you some helpful tips for paying taxes as a self-employed professional in Finland.
If you want to live and work remotely in Finland as a digital nomad, read on to learn how!
Does Finland Have a Digital Nomad Visa?
Finland doesn't offer a specific visa for digital nomads. It's also not permitted to engage in remote work while in the country on a tourist visa or during visa-free visits.
If you're a citizen of the EU or EEA, you can reside in Finland and work remotely for up to 3 months without any constraints. If you're a non-EU citizen, you can opt for a self-employment visa to work remotely in Finland.
Finland's self-employment visa lets you work as a freelancer, consultant, or entrepreneur in Finland for up to 6 months, depending on your work situation. To qualify for this visa, you just need to have a feasible business plan, adequate income, and relevant skills.
Benefits of Self-Employment Visa for Digital Nomads
There are several advantages of obtaining a self-employment visa in Finland:
- You can work as a freelancer, consultant, or entrepreneur in Finland without having to find a local employer or set up a company in Finland
- You can renew your self-employment visa after one year if you still meet the requirements
- You can apply for a permanent residence permit after 4 years of continuous residence in Finland
- You can enjoy a high standard of living, a vibrant startup scene, and stunning natural beauty in Finland
Who Can Apply for Finland's Self-Employment Visa?
You can apply for Finland’s Self-Employment Visa if you are:
- A private entrepreneur who owns a business on his/her own
- A partner in a general partnership
- A general partner (not a silent partner) in a limited partnership
- A member of a cooperative who has unlimited liability for refinancing
- A shareholder holding a managerial role in a limited liability company
How to Apply for Finland's Self-Employment Visa as a Digital Nomad
You can apply for Finland’s self-employment visa both online or via paper application.
To apply online, you need to follow these steps:
STEP 1: Gather all necessary documents.
The list of required documents can be found in the section below
STEP 2: Complete the application form.
Finland's self-employment visa application form is available on the Enter Finland e-service portal. You must set up an account and log in to access the form. Once logged in, you can complete the application form and upload the required documents
STEP 3: Select your service point.
Your service point is where you will validate your identity and provide your fingerprints. You can find your service point online by using the Enter Finland e-service or by contacting a Finnish diplomatic mission or consulate in your country of origin/residence. Remember to schedule an appointment at your chosen service point in advance
STEP 4: Pay the application fee.
This can be done online or at the service point. The fee is 400 EUR for online applications.
STEP 5: Wait for your application decision.
You will be informed of the decision through the Enter Finland e-service website or by email.
If you'd like to submit a paper application, follow these steps instead:
- Download and print the application form OLE_Y from the Finnish Immigration Service website
- Complete the form and attach all necessary documentation. The list of required documents can be found in the section below
- Submit your application at a Finnish embassy or consulate in your home country or place of residence. You'll also need to verify your identity and provide your fingerprints at the same location. It's recommended to contact the Finnish embassy or consulate in advance to schedule an appointment
- Pay the application processing fee at the Finnish embassy or consulate. For paper applications, the fee is 600 EUR
- Wait for the decision on your application. You will be notified of their decision through the Finnish embassy or consulate in your home country or place of residence.
Documents Required for Applying for Finland's Self-Employment Visa As a Digital Nomad
The necessary documentation for both online and paper applications for Finland’s self-employment visa includes:
- A valid passport, which you need to present when submitting your residence permit application.
- A passport photo that aligns with the police-issued photo guidelines or a photo retrieval code from a photo shop.
- Color photocopies of your passport's personal data page and any pages with annotations.
- Document showing that you are legally staying in the country where you submit the application
- The MP_1 form, if you are currently in Finland and applying for your first residence permit.
- An extract from the trade register or an explanation for why the company isn't listed in the Trade Register.
- A detailed description of the company's business idea.
- A document related to the business premises.
- A report detailing the number of employees.
- Certificates demonstrating professional qualifications.
- A document showing assets and other income.
- A profitability calculation, providing an estimate of the company's revenues and costs for the forthcoming two years.
- Copies of contracts signed with customers and partners, if available.
How Much Does Finland's Self-Employment Visa Cost?
The price of applying for a self-employment visa in Finland varies based on the application process. The charges are as follows:
- For applications submitted online via the Enter Finland e-service, the fee is 400 EUR.
- For traditional paper applications submitted at a Finnish embassy or consulate, the fee is 600 EUR.
The payment can be made either online or at the service point, where you verify your identity and provide your fingerprints.
Timeline for Applying For Finland's Self-Employment Visa
The process and timeframe for applying for a self-employment visa in Finland depend on multiple factors, including the nature of your work, the completeness of your application, and the current workload of the relevant authorities.
The average processing time for self-employment visas is around 4 months. You can look up the estimated processing time for your application on the Finnish Immigration Service website. The manufacturing and delivery of a residence permit card typically then takes approximately 2 weeks.
What If I’m Not Eligible For Finland's Self-Employment Visa As a Digital Nomad?
If you are not eligible for Finland’s self-employment visa as a digital nomad, you may apply to obtain Finland's Start-up Visa. This is for you if you own a start-up with innovative and scalable business prospects that show promise for quick international expansion, and have been granted a positive Eligibility Statement from Business Finland.
You can find more information about this type of visa and its requirements on the Finnish Immigration Service website.
You may also be interested in:
Paying Taxes As A Digital Nomad In Finland
Understanding tax obligations as a digital nomad in Finland can be complex and depends on your circumstances and your visa. Here are some general principles:
- If are a non-EU citizen working in Finland with self-employment or a start-up visa, you might be required to pay income tax on your global income in Finland, in addition to social security payments and health insurance premiums. Corporate tax may also apply if your company is registered in Finland.
- Suppose you're a non-EU citizen working remotely for an overseas employer with a digital nomad visa from another EU nation, such as Estonia or Croatia, you won't be required to pay income tax in Finland, provided your stay doesn't exceed six months. However, based on their tax regulations, you may need to pay income tax in your home country or the country that issued your digital nomad visa. Social security contributions and health insurance premiums may also need to be paid in Finland or your home country, or the country that issued your digital nomad visa, depending on mutual agreements.
- Suppose you're an EU citizen working remotely for an overseas employer with a digital nomad visa from another EU country, such as Estonia or Croatia you won't be required to pay income tax in Finland, as long as your stay is not over 3 months. You may still need to pay income tax in your home country or the country that issued your digital nomad visa, subject to their tax laws. As per other cases, social security payments and health insurance premiums may also be due in Finland, your home country, or the country that issued your digital nomad visa, depending on their agreements.
Are You Ready To Live and Work in Finland as a Digital Nomad?
If you want to receive digital nomad guides like these, sign up for our newsletter and get upcoming articles straight to your inbox!
We'll see you there, Freaking Nomads!
Disclosure: Hey, just a heads up that some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that, if you buy through our links, we may earn a small commission that helps us create helpful content for the community. We only recommend products if we think they will add value, so thanks for supporting us!