Assessing travel and visa obligations in Finland

When traveling to Finland, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip, will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if work authorization will be required. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to Finland, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Attend business meetings
  • Tour a company facility
  • Attend a trade show or seminar convention


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for Finland?

Nationals of the European Union, the United States and many other select countries are eligible for a visa waiver and are not required to obtain a visa to enter and conduct business activities in Finland.

Finland is a member of the Schengen Area, a free-travel zone comprised of 27 European countries. If your nationality is not eligible for a visa waiver in the Schengen Area, you will be required to obtain a Schengen Short-Stay Visa prior to travel. Visa-waivered nationals, as well as those who are required to obtain a visa, are authorized to travel to Finland and throughout the Schengen Area. Please note that travelers may not spend more than 90 days within any 180-day period inside the Schengen Area.

Working in Finland

What types of activities require work authorization?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Finnish law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in Finland, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Technical training
  • System installation
  • Consulting
  • Software development

In limited circumstances and under various exemptions, foreign nationals may engage in specialized professional activities for a limited period without obtaining work authorization, although strict preconditions must be met. An individual assessment is required before deciding whether an assignment exemption is applicable.


If I am traveling to Finland for work, what type of work authorization do I need?

The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in Finland. The most common forms of work authorization for Finland are:

  • Worker Residence Permit (work authorization for non-specialists)
  • Residence Permit for Special Experts (work authorization for highly skilled specialists)
  • ICT Permits (Directive 2014/66/EU):
    • Intra-Company Transfer Residence Permit (work and residence authorization for the transfer of managers, specialists, or trainees of a company located outside the EU to a local branch belonging to the same company or group of companies)
    • Mobile Intra-Company Transfer Permit (work authorization for third-country nationals who already hold an EU ICT Card from another EU member state)
  • Visiting Consultant Residence Permit (work authorization for non-specialist consultants)
  • EU Blue Card (work authorization for highly skilled direct hires)


Is it possible to be exempted from work authorization requirements?

Nationals from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland are not required to obtain a work permit to work in Finland. However, registrations or other formalities may be required prior to working or residing in Finland.

Additional work permit exemptions are available in Finland under Vander Elst rules. In this case, a legal assessment to determine the possibilities for a work permit exemption should be obtained prior to traveling.

What else should I know?

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which governs post-Brexit relations between the EU and the United Kingdom, has altered immigration regulations in the affected countries. Please be sure to contact your immigration representative for full details regarding the TCA’s impact in Finland.

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.