FINLAND STUDENT VISA: How to apply as a student and get permanent residency after you graduate

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

The Finland student visa is your gateway to a life-changing higher education in the happiest country in the world. It surely grants you access to top and modern universities that offer the best courses to make you globally competitive.

Additionally, you will specifically love Finland’s vibrant and innovative environment where the city and nature gracefully co-exist. The country is certainly ideal for learning new things and focusing on becoming a better version of yourself. 

Today, we will discuss everything from getting a Finland student visa to applying for a permanent residence visa. Let us help you equally achieve the best education and get full benefits as a permanent resident in the happiest country in the world!  

Do I need a Finland Student Visa to study in finland?

Yes, all students who reside outside the EU/EEA must have a Finland student visa or residence permit. International learners who stay in Finland for more than three months, such as degree and exchange students, must apply for a student residence permit before coming to the country. 

On the other hand, if the study is less than three months, you are only required to have a short-term visa. 

You may visit the Finnish Immigration Service Migri website to learn about the Finland student visa and permit. You may also head over to your Finnish embassy for further questions. 

First residence permit visa

The initial Finland student visa you need to get after getting admitted to a university in the country is a residence permit for studies. You need to apply for this if you receive a letter of acceptance from a university in Finland. 

Whether it is a university of Applied Sciences, an upper secondary learning institution, or a vocational education university, you need to get a residence permit for studies provided:

  • Your international study is for a degree or vocational qualification
  • You are an exchange student when entering Finland

On the other hand, you are not required to get a residence permit for studies if your classes do not need you to be in Finland, and it generally consists of distance online learning. 

Students entering Finland for the first time certainly must apply through the online portal EnterFinland.fi.

The new law in Finland for international students applying for a Finland student visa

With the new law in Finland for international students, you won’t have to reapply for a residence permit for studies every year. Instead, you will receive a valid permit for the whole time you are in Finland to study. 

We highly advise students to immediately apply for their online resident permit right after receiving acceptance from a university in Finland. Before the residence permit is processed, you must get an appointment at the Finnish embassy or VFS Center for biometric identification and interview. Generally, it takes a month to secure a schedule at the Finnish embassy or VFS Center, so you need to get an appointment immediately.  

The decision for your application will take five to eight weeks if everything is in order and the Finnish Immigration Service does not need additional documents for clarification. You must also wait for another two to three weeks to deliver your residence permit card. 

Documents needed for the First resident permit

Below are the attachments required:

1. A valid passport with at least one-year validity.

2. Notification of student selection result or acceptance letter from a Finnish university.

3. Receipt of payment of tuition fee issued by the bank.

4. Clarification of income that shows you can support yourself in Finland. You must have 560 Euros every month to pay for food, housing, and other personal needs.

  • Show in your application that you have 6,720 Euros in your bank account. If your studies are less than a year, show proof that you have 560 Euros per month.
  • Also, include other needed documents explaining the source of funds, such as employment contracts, bank account statements, employment contracts, sponsor letters, etc.
  • If your country’s currency isn’t the Euro, you can ask the bank to convert it into Euros.
  • If you took out a loan to pay for school, attach a letter from the bank that shows the amount and terms of the loan.
  • If you have a scholarship, you must show a certificate from the organization, government, or school that gave you the grant. The certificate must show the recipient how much it is worth and how long it will last.

5. Health insurance certificate

6. Two passport-size photos (36x47mm)

7. 350 Euros processing fee

Submit your online application at the EnterFinland portal.  After filling out all the fields and providing the requirements, you may now pay and submit your application. 

Methods of payment

  • Credit and debit card (Mastercard, Visa Credit or Debit, American Express, Diners Club)
  • Pay either online or at the Finland embassy in your country.
Finland student visa
Immediately schedule an appointment for your Finland student visa once you receive an acceptance offer from a university!

The application process for the first residence permit

Getting the first residence permit for studies generally lasts two to four months. That is why it is essential to get it immediately after receiving an acceptance letter from a Finland learning institution. Follow the steps below to start your application:

1. Set up your account at EnterFinland.fi. After filling out the required fields, select your service point and submit your application. Don’t forget to pass all the necessary documents.

2. Schedule an appointment with VFS Global or your country’s Finland embassy. Again, have the appointment as soon as you receive the letter of acceptance from the Finnish university. 

3. Go to the embassy or the VFS global center on your schedule with your original documents and photocopies. You will have a short interview. They might ask questions such as who sponsors your studies, where your university is in Finland, and more.

Visit our Embassy Interview blog to prepare for the questions they usually ask. 

4. Regularly check your email for updates regarding your application. If they ask for an additional requirement for your Finland student visa, provide it immediately. 

5. You will receive an update once your Finland student visa is good to release. 

6. Your student residence permit card generally takes two weeks to reach the Embassy of Finland in your country or at the VFS center. After getting your Finland student visa, you may now depart to pursue higher learning!

Working with Student Residence Permit

One great advantage of having a Finland student visa is you can work for a maximum of 30 hours per week. The number of working hours can exceed in some weeks. Ensure it is not more than 30 hours per week when the year ends.

A Finland student visa holder may work in bars, cafes, cleaning companies, food couriers, restaurants, warehouses, and retail stores. These workplaces offer flexible working hours for students.

FInland student visa
You can earn 8 to 12 euros in your part time job while studying in Finland!

How much can I earn when I work part-time in Finland?

Your salary ranges from eight to 12 euros per hour depending on the hours and job responsibilities. You may get extra pay if you work on the weekends or during the evening.

Residence permit based on family ties

Once you have a Finland student visa, you can bring family members to the country. They must have sufficient means of financial support to acquire a residence permit. Your family members can apply for a residence permit based on family ties.

In addition, if you are studying for a degree at a higher education learning institution, your family members can also apply for a continuous residence permit. 

If you’re married, your spouse can apply for a residence permit based on family reunification. They must submit proof of funds amounting to 700 Euros per month or 8,400 Euros per year.

For a child, attach proof that you have an additional 500 Euros per month or 6,000 Euros per year in the application. The proof of financial capacity can be from employment, savings, business, etc.

Short term visa

You must apply for a short-term Schengen visa if you stay in Finland for 90 days or less. You can get it at the VFS Center or the Finnish embassy in your country. If there is no VFS Center or Finnish Embassy in your country, you may apply for a short-term visa through another country’s embassy

Finland student visa
You can work for two years in the country after graduating from a Finnish university!

From Finland student visa to permanent residency

After living in Finland for four years with a continuous residence permit and the requirement for the said permit exists, you may apply for a permanent residence permit. The privilege allows you to enjoy a status similar to Finnish citizens, such as excellent public healthcare and education, social security benefits, and more. The validity of this privilege is until further notice. 

Furthermore, the new rule for international students makes them eligible for a type-A continuous residence permit.

The new legislation grants quicker permanency as your study duration is included in the four-year requirement of living in Finland. It is now more convenient for you to apply as a permanent resident!

Requirements for permanent residency

1. You have lived in Finland for four years with a continuous residence permit

You need to get a type-A continuous residence permit to fulfill the required four-year period of living in Finland. The four-year period starts after securing a permanent job in the country.

Generally, your Finland student visa or residence permit is valid if you stay without interruptions for four years. Short absences such as holidays or other trips are allowed, but ensure it doesn’t affect the four-year residence period.  Your residence in the country is continuous if you have lived at least half of the validity period of your residence permit.

The four-year time period begins:

  • On the first day, you entered Finland if you had a continuous residence permit when you came to Finland; or
  • On the first day of your continuous residence permit, if you applied for the permit in Finland; or
  • On the day of your entry into Finland, if you are granted a continuous residence permit based on refugee status or subsidiary protection.

2. Requirements for granting a continuous residence permit still exist

You must meet the needs of the previous type-A continuous residence permit to apply for a permanent residence permit. If your current A-permit allows you to work in Finland, you are still required to work when applying for permanent residency. 

However, the basis of your A-permit may vary during the four years. For instance, if you marry, your residence permit can change from work to family ties, but your permit is still continuous.

In addition, you must meet the income requirements, the same as before, to apply for permanent residency.  

3. You are free from any serious crimes

Below are the scenarios that will refuse your application for a permanent residence permit:

  • You are guilty of a crime that has a sentence of imprisonment
  • You are a suspect in a crime that has a sentence of imprisonment
  • You are guilty of two or more crimes
  • You are a suspect in two or more crimes
Finland permanent residency
You can legally stay in Finland while your application for permanent residency is in process!

The process to apply for a permanent residence permit

You may proceed with applying for a permanent residence permit before the expiration of your A-permit continuous residency. However, we do not suggest sending the application three months before finishing your four-year residence period.

In addition, you can legally stay in Finland while your permanent residency application is in process as long as you pass your new application in time.

To apply for a permanent residence permit:

1. Fill in the application form found on the Enter Finland website. 

2. Attach the necessary documents such as a valid passport, passport photo, color copies of all passport pages with personal data or notes, and clarification of income. 

3. Submit your application. You may optionally pay the service fee at the Finnish Immigration Service.

4. Schedule an appointment with the Finnish Immigration Service. Additionally, you may also pick which service point for the appointment.

5. Go to your preferred service point to prove your identity, and present the original copies of the documents you attached to the application. Also, you need to go through biometrics during your visit.  

6. Generally, it takes one to two months to process an online application. Wait for the Finnish Immigration Service to contact you.

7. You will receive a text message or an email regarding the decision. The outcome will also be in your Enter Finland account.  

frequently asked questions  

Can Edunation help me with the Finland student visa application?

Yes! Edunation will guide you throughout your student residence permit application. Aside from answering your concerns, we will also keep in touch with the Finnish Immigration Office if needed.

How much money do I need when applying for a student residence permit in Finland?

The minimum requirement for a master’s and bachelor’s degree is 560 Euros per month or 6,720 Euros per year. Your bank account must have at least 6,720 Euros when you apply for a Finland student visa. It is advisable to have some extra money for emergency purposes.

We can help you look for a job to earn money while studying. Visit our working in Finland jobs page to learn more.

Can I apply for a Finland student visa if I haven’t received my graduation certificate? 

Yes! You may certainly apply as long as you will receive the graduation certificate before you start studying in Finland.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement when applying for a Finland student visa?

It depends on the Finnish university’s requirements. Please check our university page for more information.

What is the expected processing time for the online application for a study residence permit? How much is the processing fee?

The permit’s processing time is in two to three months. You need to pay 450 euros. For underage applicants, they need to pay 270 euros. To learn more about processing fees and payment methods, click here.

My country doesn’t have a Finland Embassy; what should I do?

If there is no Finnish consulate or embassy in your country, you are certainly required to visit a nearby country that has one. Note that the Honorary Consulate doesn’t provide a residence permit appointment. 

Does the applicant’s age affect the decision of a student resident permit application?

There is no age limit for the student resident permit. All applications are generally reviewed based on the applicant’s funding capability and purpose for entering Finland.

If the student wants to go to Finland with a spouse, can they submit the residence permit application together?

The spouse can apply at the same time as the student applicant. The student residence permit is first processed as they are the primary applicant. The spouse’s application may take longer, usually three to seven months. 

However, the spouse’s residence application may delay the student’s application, so we strongly recommend applying individually.  

Are shared bank accounts acceptable for spouses?

No, both applicants must have their bank accounts, as their residence permit applications will be processed separately. 

In addition, the spouse must have 700 Euros per month or 8,4000 per year in their bank account. They must also prove the origin of the funds. 

If a married student starts their studies and their spouse applies later, do they still need to show the funds held by the student? Do they need proof of accommodation? 

No, the Finnish Immigration Service will no longer check the student’s fund when a student has a student residence permit.

However, if the student will be a sponsor for their spouse, they need to prove the required funds. Students attach their required documents to their spouse’s application for the residence permit.  

Can the spouse work in Finland?

Yes, they can work in full-time positions. 

Does the Finland student visa allow students to go to other European countries?

Yes, Finland student visa holders can certainly visit other European countries. International students can do an exchange semester in other European countries during their studies in Finland. Finnish learning institutions have a vast network of partner universities for exchange programs across Europe.

Can the student appeal for an unfavorable resident permit decision?

Yes, it is generally possible to appeal. However, it is unlikely to proceed unless the applicant has strong reasons to demonstrate that the rejection is not valid. 

If you have more questions regarding the Finnish student visa and other topics, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. You can also send us a message to learn how to apply to study in Finland!

In a nutshell

Aside from assuring your future with the best education, the Finland student visa certainly opens up a new world of possibilities. This privilege will surely make you grow and succeed as a student and a confident global citizen capable of contributing significantly to any industry you want. 

Let us help you start your goal! Learn higher education in Finland and enjoy the benefits of having a Finland student visa. Book a free counseling session now! You may also send us a message for inquiries

About the writer

Mark has been a professional content writer for more than three years. He is an expert in creating articles about education and studying abroad. His writings don’t only inform; he also wants to establish emotional connections with readers.

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