Everybody has the right to engage in commercial activities in Finland

Under the Constitution of Finland, everybody has the right to earn his or her livelihood by the employment, occupation or commercial activity of his or her choice. More detailed provisions on this right are laid down in the Freedom of Enterprise Act.

Under the Freedom of Enterprise Act,

  • a natural person residing in the European Economic Area,
  • a Finnish corporation or foundation,
  • a foreign corporation or foundation that has been established in accordance with the legislation of a member state of the European Economic Area, that has a registered branch in Finland and that has its registered office, central administration or principal place of business in a member state of the European Economic Area can engage in commercial activities in Finland.

A natural person residing outside the European Economic Area and a foreign corporation or foundation that has its registered office outside the European Economic Area and that establishes a branch in Finland can engage in commercial activities in Finland under a licence granted by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.

A partner in a general partnership and the general partner in a limited partnership must also obtain a licence for engaging in commercial activities in Finland from the Finnish Patent and Registration Office if the partner/general partner resides or is domiciled outside the European Economic Area unless at least one of the partners in a general partnership or the general partner in a limited partnership resides or is domiciled in the European Economic Area.

Regulated trades

There are also commercial activities in Finland that are subject to a licence. These include the serving of alcohol, debt collection and guarding service business.

There are also commercial activities that require a registration in a register kept by the authorities. The entrepreneur submitting the registration notification must meet the prerequisites laid down for the registration in the law. The registration obligation covers such activities as package travel business, real estate agencies and housing rental agencies.

There are also commercial activities in which the authorities must be notified of the start of the activities. Under the law, restrictions and obligations may also be imposed on commercial activities for which a notification is required.

In most cases, the entrepreneur may already start the operations before the authorities have considered the notification.

Further information: tuomo.knuuti(at)tem.fi