Relocation process in Finland

You can secure a visitor’s visa, come to Finland, and look for a job on the spot or you can arrive in the country only after you get a job offer. The latter option is easier and more popular among skilled immigrants.

The relocation process in Finland consists of 10 steps.

1. Obtaining a visa

First, you may want to find out whether you need an entry visa to travel to Finland. Citizens of the following countries don’t need a visa:

  • Europe: EU member states, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican
  • Asia-Pacific: Australia, Brunei, East Timor, Japan, Kiribati, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Zealand, Palau, Samoa, Singapore, South Korea, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
  • North America: Canada, Mexico, United States
  • Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
  • South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
  • Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Western Asia: Georgia, Israel, United Arab Emirates
  • Africa: Mauritius, Seychelles
Visa to Finland

Others must apply to their nearest Finnish embassy/consulate or visa center to get a Schengen visa.

To apply for a single-entry or multiple-entry visa, you will need to submit the following documents 15 days to 6 months before your travel to Finland:

  • Completed and signed application form.
  • One color photograph.
  • Passport that must be valid for at least 3 months after the end of your travel.
  • Travel insurance with the minimum coverage of €30,000 for the duration of your stay.
  • Supporting documents: tickets, hotel or apartment reservation, invitation letter, proof of sufficient funds (at least €30 a day for the period of travel).
  • Evidence of paying a visa fee (€35–80 depending on your home country).

The maximum period of stay on a Schengen visa in Finland is 90 days in any 180-day period. To reside in the country longer than that, you need to obtain a residence permit. See Section 3 of this guide for more details.

2. Renting an apartment for a short term

After you obtain a visa, if you need any, you can come to Finland. The first thing you should do after arriving is finding a place to live. As it may be hard to find a permanent apartment at once due to the high rental demand and the need to gather all the necessary documents, allow at least 2 to 3 weeks to hunt for a home.

It’s recommended to rent a temporary apartment 2–3 weeks before the start of the new month, because, as a rule, long-term residential properties are rented in Finland from the first day of the new month.

Temporary accommodation can be offered by your employer. If not, you can find it on Airbnb, or similar websites before you arrive in Finland. You will need a temporary or permanent address in the country to open a bank account.

3. Applying for a residence permit

If you are a citizen of an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you don’t need a residence permit but you must register your right of residence in Finland if you come to live in this country for more than 3 months. You can apply online on

Applying for a residence permit in Finland

Citizens of other states need to apply for a residence permit to work in Finland even if their stay will be shorter than 90 days.

To work in Finland, ICT specialists normally apply either for a residence permit for persons employed as a specialist or for an EU Blue Card.


To apply for a residence permit in Finland, you need to gather documents listed below.

  • Passport and color copies of all passport pages with personal information and notes.
  • Passport-sized photo (47 × 36 mm).
  • Document showing that you are legally staying in the country where you submit the application (e. g. a passport, residence permit or visa issued in the country where you apply).
  • Application form (MP_1) — if you are already in Finland and are applying for your first residence permit.
  • Employment contract with an employer operating in Finland.
  • Job description (e. g. an extract from a job listing).
  • Diploma or certificate of a higher education degree plus proof of work experience if you don’t have job-related education credentials.
  • Proof of sufficient funds (it may be your salary indicated in the employment contract). The minimum income requirement is €1,000 per month for one adult plus an additional €700 for a partner or spouse, €500 for one child, €900 for two children, €1,200 for three children, etc. For example, if you’re relocating with a spouse and two children, you will need €2,600 per month.
  • For an EU Blue Card: document showing that you have not resided in Finland for more than one month — if you are already in Finland and are applying for your first residence permit.
  • Form TEM054 filled out by the employer. It should contain legal information about the company, the hired specialist and their working conditions.
  • Translations of all documents — for documents that are not in Finnish, Swedish or English.

For an online application, documents should be combined into one .pdf file. 

Your family members need to submit the following documents:

  • Passport and color copies of all passport pages with personal information and notes.
  • Passport-sized photo (47 × 36 mm).
  • Document showing that they are legally staying in the country where you submit the application (e. g. a passport, residence permit or visa issued in the country where they apply).
  • Residence permit application for the spouse of a foreigner resident in Finland (OLE_PH1).
  • Form for clarification of family ties (PK1_plus).
  • Marriage certificate, if you’re married.
  • Birth certificates, if you have children.
Documents for a residence permit in Finland

Residence permit for persons employed as a specialist

This is a temporary residence permit issued to high-skilled specialists wishing to work in Finland. With this permit, you can freely change work within your sphere, it’s not bound to a specific employer. You can include in your application your partner or spouse who will also have the right to work in Finland.

You can apply for this residence permit if:

  • You work in an occupation in demand (e. g. you’re an IT expert).
  • You have a job offer or an employment contract with an employer operating in Finland.
  • Your salary or salary offer in Finland should be at least €3,000 per month or €36,000 per year before tax. If your salary offer is lower than that (which rarely is for an IT specialist in Finland), you need to apply for a so-called residence permit for an employed person.
  • You must usually have a higher education degree (at least a Master’s degree or equivalent qualification). If you don’t have a higher education degree or your salary is smaller than the threshold, your application must explain why your work requires special expertise, i. e. you need to prove your qualification and work experience. 

The first residence permit is issued for one year, then usually is renewed for 4 years.

EU Blue Card

An EU Blue Card is issued to high-skilled specialists willing to work in Finland on certain conditions:

  • You cannot start working in Finland before you get an EU Blue Card.
  • An EU Blue Card issued by Finland gives you the right to work only in Finland.
  • You have a right to work in employment that requires high-level competence.
  • Your permit is not bound to a specific employer.
  • If you have been granted an EU Blue Card by Finland, you can move to another EU member state. If Finland has granted your family member a residence permit, they can move with you to a second EU member state or return to Finland with you.
  • You can stay in Finland for 3 months even if your Finnish EU Blue Card has expired.

You can apply for an EU Blue Card to work in Finland if:

  • You have at least a one-year employment contract with a company doing business in Finland.
  • Your work demands a high level of competence and requires professional expertise or qualifications.
  • You have a higher education degree.
  • Your gross minimum salary is €4,852 per month, excluding potential employee benefits and daily allowances.

An EU Blue Card is issued for 2 years at a time (if you have a two-year employment contract) or for the duration of your employment contract plus 3 additional months.

Applying for an EU Blue Card in Finland

Application process

Here is the application process for both residence permits for persons employed as a specialist and EU Blue Cards.

1. Fill out your online application on or an application on paper (OLE_TY2). 

2. Pay for your application in the online service Enter Finland, at a Finnish embassy or consulate or at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service. The electronic application fee is €410, and the paper application fee is €560. The fee may be reimbursed by your employer. 

3. If you are abroad, visit a Finnish embassy or consulate, submit the originals of documents, and give fingerprints. If you are already in Finland, book an appointment at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

4. Wait for a decision. It will take about 1 month on average if you apply online or about 2 months if you apply in paper. You should wait for the residence permit in the same country where you applied and proved your identity.

5. If you applied for a residence permit for persons employed as a specialist, you can start working in Finland before you get a residence permit while your application is pending. However, your right to work will end after 3 months or even earlier if your visa expires.

After residing in Finland for 4 years, you can apply for permanent residence in Finland, after which you can live in the country as long as you like. After 5 years of permanent residence in the country, you can apply for citizenship. In this case, you will need to pass an exam to prove your proficiency in Finnish (or Swedish) and not have problems with the law or debts to the state. And you can keep your first citizenship.

4. Registering and getting an identity code

When you have moved to Finland, one of the first things you need to do is to register as a resident if you’re planning to live in this country for more than 3 months.

If you move to live in the country for a year or more, you may have the right to a municipality of residence in Finland. You need this right to use city or municipal services, such as health care and children’s daycare.

To register, you need to visit the nearest service location of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (Digi- ja väestötietovirasto). Before visiting the agency, you can fill out the Registration Information of a Foreigner form on the website. You can also fill out this form during your visit to the agency. The registration is free of charge.

Getting an identity code in Finland

The Digital and Population Data Services Agency will enter your name, date of birth, citizenship, gender, marital status, and address into the Finnish Population Information System.

If you have been registered in the Population Information System, you will be given an 11-digit Finnish personal identity code (henkilötunnus). If you have a Finnish residence permit, you most likely already have a personal identity code — you can find it on the reverse side of your residence permit card.

You and your family members need personal identity codes to deal with many processes in Finland like opening a bank account, buying insurance or obtaining a permanent public library card. You also should give this code to your employer.

To get an identity code, you will need the following documents:

  • Passport.
  • Residence permit (if you need a residence permit for Finland) or a printed certificate from EnterFinland stating that your application for a residence permit has been accepted and is pending.
  • Employment contract.
  • Marriage certificate, if you’re married.
  • Birth certificates, if you have children under 18 who are moving with you to Finland.
  • Apostille for documents that were issued outside the EU.
  • Address in Finland. You can normally provide your temporary address in the country.

5. Obtaining an identity card

To live in Finland, you also need a foreigner’s identity card. You can get it from your local police department in Finland if your details are already in the Population Information System (e. g. you need to register first — see Section 4 for more details). 

To obtain an identity card, you will need the following:

  • One passport-sized photograph made by a licensed photographer. You can find a photographer closest to you on the police website.
  • Photographer code (you will receive it from the photographer) — you’ll need it to attach it to your application.

An identity card costs €54 or €48 if you applied online.

6. Getting a tax card

All people who work and receive pay in Finland need to obtain a tax card (verokortti). Although it is called a card, it is actually a number. This card will show your tax rate (veroprosentti) that depends on your income. When you show your tax card to your employer, they will then know how much tax to withhold from your pay. If you don’t provide the card, your employer will deduct a whopping 60% from your salary.

It’s recommended to obtain your tax card before you receive your first salary in Finland. You can get this card from your local tax office (verotoimisto) by providing the following documents:

  • Passport or a valid photo ID.
  • Employment contract.
  • Finnish personal identity code.

If your income changes, you need a new tax card. You can order it on

7. Opening a bank account in Finland

To get your salary in Finland and pay for your rental home, you need to have a bank account in the country. Many other payments may also require a local bank account.

Here are popular banks in Finland:

  • Aktia (
  • Danske Bank (
  • Nordea (
  • Osuuspankki (OP), an online bank (
  • Säästöpankki, Savings bank (
Banking in Finland

You can come to a bank in person and open an account at once. In some cases, you will need to book an appointment in advance. Your best option would be to choose a bank, call there, and ask what to do. 

You will need the following documents to open a bank account in Finland:

  • Passport or an official Finnish ID with your photo.
  • Finnish identity code (you will need it to use online banking).
  • Temporary or permanent address in Finland (your debit or credit card will come to the address you indicated).
  • Your address in another country where you pay taxes.

You might need to wait a couple of weeks before the bank sends you your debit or credit card.

It’s recommended to acquire online banking credentials when opening a bank account as online banking and online payment options are very popular in Finland.

If you have a time-limited residence permit (you’ll likely to get a temporary residence permit as your first permit), your bank account may be blocked on the day when your residence permit expires. In this case, you need to renew your permit and show it at the bank to restore your account. Not all financial institutions block accounts in such cases — you need to specify rules in your bank.

8. Finding a long-term apartment

While obtaining all the essential documents, you can simultaneously look for a long-term rental apartment or house. Rental demand in Finland (especially in Helsinki) is high, so hunting for a home may take 2–3 weeks or even more. There can be several prospective tenants at one viewing at the same time, so the first person to make an offer is usually the one who gets the apartment.

Long-term rentals in Finland can be found on the following property websites:

Housing in Finland

To rent an apartment or house in Finland, you will need the following documents:

  • Copy of your residence permit or passport.
  • Proof of income (e. g. your latest payslip or tax return).
  • Employment contract.
  • Finnish personal identity code (henkilötunnus).
  • Application form provided by the landlord.

While renting a property in Finland, you will carry the following expenses:

  • Rental deposit that usually equals two months’ rent. It will be refunded before you move out unless you damage the landlord’s property or don’t pay rent.
  • Rent for the first month.
  • Letting agent’s fees (one month of rent) — only if you hire an agent look for a rental flat and make a written agreement (toimeksiantosopimus). If you look for information on vacant apartments yourself, you don’t need to pay commission fees (välityspalkkio) to letting agents.

For example, if your apartment costs €1,200 per month, you will need to pay at least €3,600 at once. You can transfer money from your account in your home country with Swift payments or similar instruments. You may need to wait for several days to receive money on your account, so it’s recommended to transfer funds in advance. 

In addition, you may have to buy furniture. Most long-term rental apartments in Finland are rented unfurnished, but most have at least kitchen furniture, cupboards, a stove, and a refrigerator. It may take about €3,000 to buy new furniture, kitchen appliances, and the like. However, you can buy everything on local classifieds websites (e.g. or in flea markets for pennies.


The rent usually includes utilities, with the exception of water. As a rule, water is paid at a fixed price — about €15–25 per person per month. You can often see in property listings something like “1150 e. + 25 e/h vesimaksu”. It means “€1,150 per month for rent + €25 per person for water”. However, if the building has water meters, the water rate depends on how much water you use.

To pay for electricity, you will need to conclude a contract with an electricity provider (e. g. Jyväskylän Energia or Vattenfall). You can do it online with the help of the website. Electricity costs about €60–80 per quarter or €20–30 per month. 

High-rise residential buildings usually have central heating, and apartments are warm in winter. There are normally no natural gas networks, and the majority of stoves are electric.

Home insurance

It’s customary in Finland to buy a home insurance policy (kotivakuutus) that usually covers damage to your furniture and personal things. It costs about €200 per year.

Home insurance policies are sold by insurance companies. Here are some of them:

  • Fennia (
  • If (
  • Kaleva (
  • LähiTapiola (
  • Nordea (
  • Pohjantähti (
  • Pohjola (
  • Varma (


In residential buildings in Finland, there are often a sauna, a laundry room, storage space in the basement for bicycles and strollers as well as a parking space for residents. Using a sauna, laundry and parking is subject to fees that are usually paid directly to the housing company. For example, using a sauna would cost about €20 per month.

A Finnish sauna

Parking spaces are distributed among residents of the house. If you live farther from the center, you will definitely have your own parking space, free or for a nominal fee. In residential buildings closer to the city center, there may be garages on the ground floor, and new houses may have underground parking. Covered parking spaces are usually equipped with sockets for heating the engine in winter (it’s a standard option that is offered in any car service in Finland).

9. Obtaining a social security card

Another important document you need to obtain to live in Finland is a Kela social security card (Kela-kortti). With this card, you, your spouse or partner and children under 18 years of age will have access to the state social benefits and health care services just like all citizens and permanent residents of Finland.

To be eligible for social security coverage in Finland, you need to work in Finland at a minimum wage of €723.69 per month or more. It doesn’t matter how many hours you work per week or how long your employment contract is. Your family members don’t need to work to be eligible.

A Kela card


To be entitled to unemployment allowance, you have worked for at least 6 months in Finland. And to receive parental allowances, you need to reside or be employed in Finland for at least 180 days before the birth of the child.

To get a Kela social security card, you need the following documents:

  • Passport or valid photo ID.
  • Employment contract.
  • Residence permit.
  • Finnish identity code.
  • Application form SV 157e.
  • Form Y 77e Moving to Finland.

You can apply for Kela benefits and the Kela card via Kela’s e-service. You will receive a written decision that will be sent to the address you have indicated in your application. 

10. Getting a Finnish phone number

To live and work in Finland, you may also need a local SIM card. You can buy it for €5,90 at R-kioski (a retail chain), some supermarkets (S Group, Kesko) or from one of the retail stores of mobile phone service providers (Elisa, Telia, DNA or Ålcom). 

It is believed that Elisa has slightly better coverage and data speeds, and may be more useful if you’re planning to travel in rural areas. Ålcom is a local provider that operates on the Åland Islands only. 

Unlimited calls and texts are common on many plans. Elsa, Telia, and DNA monthly packages cost €24.90 on average.

2G, 3G, and 4G networks are widespread in Finland. Helsinki, Vantaa, and Oulu also have a 5G network.

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