Legislation on visa and student residence permit for international students in Finland vary depending on the country of citizenship. Below you can find general guidelines for non-EU/EEA citizens.

More detailed information is available from the Finnish embassies around the world and from the Finnish Immigration Service Migri.


passport on the wooden table

  • Short-term visa

    If you will be staying in Finland for less than 90 days, (for example, attending a summer school) you will need a short-term visa, Schengen visa to Finland. It can be obtained through the VFS Global Finland visa application center, or in some cases, at the nearest Finnish embassy, or at some other Schengen country’s embassy that officially represents Finland in short-term visa matters.

    Find out if you need a visa

    You can find out on the website of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, whether you need a visa.

    Even if you do not need a visa to visit Finland, you need a valid passport or some other travel document accepted by Finland. It must be valid for at least ninety days after your intended date of departure from the Schengen area.

    In addition, the passport or other travel document must have been issued no later than ten years ago.

    In case you do not need a visa, you can stay in Finland or in the territory of other Schengen state for ninety days in any 180-day period.

    Apply for a visa

    If your country of destination is Finland, apply for a visa at the VFS center or the nearest Finnish embassy. Sometimes Finland may be represented by another Schengen state. In such cases, apply for the visa to Finland at the embassy of that Schengen state.

    Required documents:

    • Visa application form completed and signed
    • One photo
      Include a color photo in which you are recognizable
    • Passport
      Make sure your passport is valid for at least three months after the end of your intended travel and that it has been issued no later than ten years ago.
    • Travel insurance
      Your travel insurance must be in force for the period of the validity of the applied visa and cover the entire Schengen area. The minimum coverage of the policy must be 30,000 EUR and the insurance must cover expenses arising from a sudden illness and accident (also the patient’s repatriation) and repatriation expenses in case of death.
    • Supporting documents
      The required appendices vary by country, contact the embassy to make sure which ones you need. Examples of such documents are tickets, a confirmation of hotel reservation, a private invitation letter and an official invitation. Summer school students need to provide a formal Certificate of Admission. As the Certificate of Admission is only issued on receipt of full payment, we recommend that you apply early and pay in full as soon as possible, as the visa application process may take a few weeks.
    • Proof of sufficient financial means
      The applicant must have proof of sufficient financial means to cover the duration and purpose of the stay and the cost of living in the country. In Finland, a minimum of 30 EUR a day is required.
    • Interview
      The embassy may also ask you for a personal interview to find out about the purpose of your visit.
    • Visa fee
      The fee for visa application is 60 EUR (Jan 2019).

    Please always contact your nearest Finnish embassy for the most updated information regarding the visa application.

    More information on visa for Finland can be found on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs website.

    If you plan to reside in Finland for longer than 90 days you need to have a residence permit. Please read the next section for more information.

  • Student residence permit

    If you have been admitted to Finland for an exchange or a full degree program exceeding three months (90 days), you need to apply for a student residence permit, which is granted for 1 year at a time. This means that you will have to renew it every year.

    The renewal fee is 150 EUR. To be able to renew it, students should have earned at least 45 ECTS credits during the academic year and have registered their attendance for the next semester.

    Is it difficult to obtain a student residence permit?

    According to the Immigration Service in Finland, 5839 decisions were made on foreign students applying for student residence permit in 2018. Of those decisions, 88.6% were positive and 11.4% were negative. Hence, most students successfully obtain residence permits!

    In the event that you miss some documents, you will be informed by email. If your residence permit application is rejected, you can appeal the decision or re-apply after 3 months.


    How long does it take to apply for a student residence permit?

    If everything is in order with your application and the Immigration Service does not need to ask for clarifications or additional documents, it takes around 5-8 weeks to receive a decision from the immigration office, and another 2-3 weeks to get the residence permit card delivered. However, sometimes it can take over a month to book an appointment at the nearest VFS Center or the Finnish embassy for the interview. Therefore, we advise you to book the appointment immediately after you have received your acceptance letter and decided to accept the study place.

    See section below for application instructions.

  • Required documents for residence permit
    • Valid passport
    • Notification of student selection result (acceptance letter) from a Finnish educational institution
    • Clarification of income:
    • If you only want the residence permit for one year at a time, you need to have 6720 EUR in your bank account (registered under your name). If you apply for 2-year residence permit, then you must have 13,440 EUR as a bank deposit or as a scholarship or grant. If your country’s currency is not euro, you can ask the bank to translate and change the currency into euro. If you have received a scholarship, you must show a certificate of a scholarship granted by an organization, government or an educational institution. The certificate must indicate the recipient, amount and duration of the scholarship.
    • Health insurance certificate
    • 2 passport photos size 36 x 47 mm
    • 300 EUR for the fee (Jan 2019)
    • Clarification regarding the origin of funds:
      • If your parents or other guardian pay for your studies:
        • If your parents/guardians work, you should scan his/her/their employment contracts, payslips and bank account statements from the last 6 months.
        • If your parents/guardians run a business (e.g shop, housing rental) or are self-employed, you should scan their business certificate (the certificate that proves the business is legitimate by the government/ authority), their bank account statement from the last 6 months.
      • If you have a job that can finance your studies, you should scan your employment contract and attach your own bank statements from the past 3 months.

    Remember to print copies of the required documents as stated on the online application form.

    Submit your application online via the EnterFinland portal.  Only when you have filled in all fields and submitted all the documents, you are allowed to make the payment and submit your application.

    Methods of payment

    1) Credit and debit card (Visa Credit, Visa Debit, Mastercard, Discovery, American Express).

    2)  You can also pay at the service point, which you have to visit after you have submitted your application online.

    If you are under 18 years old, you need a paper that shows “Consent from the guardian”, written in English by your guardian (for example, parents). This document can be added in step 4 on EnterFinland.fi when you submit the other documents.

    Visit the website of Finnish Immigration Service Migri for the most up-to-date information.

  • Application instructions for residence permit

    The whole process of attaining the permit takes around 2 months.

    1. Book an appointment. Depending on your country of residence, contact either the VFS Global or your nearest Embassy of Finland for an appointment. Do it as soon as you have secured your study place in Finland. (Note: You cannot go to a Honorary Consulate for this!) If you do not have a Finnish Embassy or Consulate in your country, you would have visit one in a country nearby. Find your nearest Finnish Embassy here at Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland.
    2. After paying your tuition fee, submit your application for a student residence permit online at Enter Finland Services.
    3. Bring the original versions of the required documents with you and Visit the Embassy or the VFS Center at the appointment time. You need to attend this appointment in person.
    4. At the Embassy/VFS, you would have to give your (a) Fingerprints (b) Copies of your required documents as stated on you online application form. Some of the original copies will be returned to you after this appointment, but some will be taken by the Embassy/Consulate, such as the bank statement. You will be asked some questions such as: Where are you going to study? Who is sponsoring your studies? Where will you be living? Read more information here.
    5. Once your residence permit application has been processed, you will get a notification in your EnterFinland acount as well as receive an email from VFS or the Embassy with information regarding when and where you should collect the student residence permit card.

    Apply for your residence permit abroad, not in Finland.

    • Your application will not be processed before you have visited a Finnish Embassy or the VFS Center. So, set up an appointment as early as possible!

    It is not possible to collect the card while in Finland, and all students must have their residence permit cards before  arrival to Finland.

    If your stay in Finland is longer than a year, you are required to register in the Finnish population system so that you will get the Finnish ID number. The ID number can be used for obtaining a travel card, opening a bank account and for student tracking at the Local Register Office.

    Tuition fee

    • If you pay your tuition fee before arriving in Finland, please attach documentation of the paid fee. (Note that most Edunation’s partner universities require you to pay the tuition fee before arriving in Finland.)
    • If you pay the tuition fee only after arriving in Finland, please attach documentation of necessary means for paying the tuition fee. You cannot use means reserved for your support to pay the tuition fee.
    • If you have been exempted from paying tuition fees or received a scholarship, you have to present a certificate from the educational institution of this.

    All documents attached to your residence permit application must be either in Finnish, Swedish, or English. Otherwise, you need to get them translated by an authorized translator. Take the original documents with you to the Embassy / VFS Center.

    Please also check the Finland Immigration Department (Migri) website for the latest updates needed for required documents: Checklist for applying for your first residence permit.

  • Working during and after your studies

    During your studies

    With a student residence permit, you can work 25 hours a week on average during your studies. The number of working hours is not restricted on a weekly level, which means that you can work periodically during the academic term according to your situation.

    During summer and winter holidays when your higher education institution is not offering lectures, you can work freely. The same applies to if your work is part of a compulsory internship as part of your degree or is part of a research paper required for the studies. 

    After graduating

    When you have completed your studies, you can apply for a temporary residence permit (Post-Study Work Visa) for seeking work for a maximum period of one year. You can start working without delay and after employment, you can apply for a residence permit.

  • Spousal Visa

    When moving to Finland, you are allowed to bring your family members with you. However, family members moving to Finland must have sufficient means of support in order to be issued a residence permit.

    If your spouse applies for a residence permit on the basis of family reunification, he or she must have 700 euros per month, i.e. 8,400 euros per year, at his or her disposal. As a student, you need to have 560 euros per month, i.e. 6,720 euros per year, at your disposal. Together you are required to have 1,260 euros per month, i.e. 15,120 euros per year.

    You can have the required sum of money on your own accounts or on your joint account. A family member who is moving to Finland together with you can apply for a residence permit at the same time with you or later.

    More information can be found on the Finnish Immigration Service page Moving to Finland to be with a family member.


  • Submitting the application

    Would previous visa denial to another country in the EU or the USA be a problem?

    No, this will not be a problem because each country has their own process for student residence permit. Previous residence permit denial to Finland can be problem, though, if the new application is not of excellent quality.

    Can we fill out the residence permit application on behalf of the student?

    Yes, you can. In that case, be sure to follow up the email account that you have given in the application.

    In the application, the student can apply for a 1-year or a 2-year residence permit. Which one should a student choose? Should it be determined by the length of the program the student will be studying?

    The choice is determined by the availability of funds. If you apply for the one-year residence permit, you must have at least 6,720 Euros on your account and if you apply for the 2-year residence permit, you must have at least 13,440 Euros on your account. The length of the program doesn’t matter, because in any case the student can and will renew the residence permit during the studies in Finland.

    If the course begins in September, when is the ideal time to apply for the permit?

    As soon as possible.

    Should the documents (e.g. mark sheets, income proofs) be notarized or apostilled?


    What is the approximate processing time?

    The immigration office processing time for the student residence permits is 5 to 8 weeks from the day that the application arrives at Immigration (i.e. after your visit to the Embassy or the VFS center) if the application is in order and no additional documents are asked.

    If the student has received a negative decision previously, anything they should be extra careful about?

    Previous negative decision is a reason to give another negative decision. A student that has previously received a negative decision should ensure that the new application is of perfect quality. Only very good applications will get a positive decision, as the threshold for these students is lower.

  • Funds for covering living costs in Finland

    How much money does someone applying for a bachelor’s degree in Finland need?

    The requirement of funds to cover the living costs in Finland during the studies is the same for master’s degree programs and bachelor’s degree programs. It is always at least 560 Euros per month. This means that if you apply for the one-year residence permit, you must have at least 6,720 Euros on your account and if you apply for the 2-year residence permit, you must have at least 13,440 Euros on your account.

    Is there a minimum period before which the required funds of 6,720 or 13,440 Euros should have been deposited? Are freshly deposited funds accepted?

    No there is no minimum period for the fund deposition. Freshly deposited funds on the student’s account are accepted, but the source of the funds must be well explained with supporting documents such as payslips. However, we recommend you to attach 3 months bank statements if the student is covering the costs and 6 months bank statements if the sponsor is covering the costs. The applicant must be able to demonstrate a solid and constant source of funds that will carry them through the studies in Finland. With asking to attach several months of bank statements, we want to reduce the risk of Immigration Office asking for additional documents, because every time the Immigration Office asks for additional documents, the processing is delayed. When the application has as many good attachments as possible, the likelihood of asking additional documents gets lower.

    Can there be too many supporting documents explaining the origin of funds?

    Not really. It is best to submit all relevant documents regarding your financial status and the source or origin of your funds in the student residence permit application. Every time the Immigration Officials need to ask for additional documents from the student, it will delay the process and increase the processing time. It is better to submit too much than too little.

    When explaining the origin of funds can we show business certificates, house rent agreements, agriculture and salary certificates or payslips as sponsor’s supporting documents to the applicant?

    Yes, these are exactly the type of documents you should include in the application. Just make sure that all the documents you attach explain the source of the funds used for sponsoring the students living costs in Finland.

    Can a cover letter be added to explain the funds and income in detail?

    Yes, this is a good idea. It will make the Immigration Officers job easier if they can quickly grasp who the sponsor is, what the source of income is, and which documents are attached to explain the source of income. However, please note that a cover letter alone is not a sufficient proof of origin of funds.

    If you are under the age of 18 or an exchange student, the bank account can be a joint bank account that you share with your guardian. The bank statement must include a statement of your right to access the bank account. Is a letter from the bank required?

    Yes, a letter from the bank is required. If the account is in the name of the student only, then the bank letter is not required.

    If the student has taken a loan to cover the expenses, what additional documentation is required?

    Along with a letter from the bank stating that the student has been granted the loan, the loan amount needs to be on the student’s own account.

    By sufficient funds, what is the approximate balance that should be maintained in addition to the 6720 EUR?

    6720 Euros is the minimum amount that needs to be in the account. This amount is enough and no additional amount is required as long as the source of the fund is explained well and the source is solid.

    For how long should the amount be on the student’s account after entering Finland?

    The student will need money to cover the living costs (accommodation, transport, food) in Finland, therefore the money should not be removed.

    Must the proof of funds be exactly 6,720 EUR on the students account or can they show excess amount?

    No, the account must not show exactly 6,720 EUR, it can show more. However, it can never show less.

  • Insurance

    Which insurance company is better – Swisscare or AoN?

    Both are good, well-known international health insurance providers whose insurance policies the Finnish Immigration Authority knows well. Your choice depends on the budget.

    The coverage of 40,000 EUR, is this per year or overall coverage?

    Insurance cover is for overall coverage.

    Is there a maximum permissible excess amount on the insurance 300 EUR?

    300 EUR is the maximum permissible amount.

    From when should the insurance period begin? The exact date of start of the program or a few weeks in advance?

    The insurance period should begin before travelling to Finland or at least 15 days before the start of the program.

    What should the insurance actually cover? Medical and drug expenses?

    Everything should be covered under the insurance, that includes costs such as doctor fees, drugs, hospital charges and repatriation costs.

    Are these Indian insurers valid? Apollo Munich / Bajaj Allianz / Cholamandalam MS General /  Future Generali  / HDFC ERGO / ICICI Lombard  / IFFCO – Tokio  / Reliance General / Royal Sundaram / Star Health & Allied / Tata AIG / The New India / The Oriental Insurance / United India / Universal Sompo 

    Yes. Make sure to attach  your insurance policy with the application.

  • Sponsor

    Can a student have more than one sponsor?

    Yes, students can have e.g. two sponsors. In case you have two sponsors, you must provide information about the financial situation of both sponsors. Remember that the required funds must always be at the students own account – not at the sponsor’s account.

    Who is eligible to be an applicant’s sponsor?

    For example, parents, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, uncle, aunt. Just explain the relationship of the sponsor and the student in your application.

    How much money or income should a sponsor have, so that s/he can be a reliable sponsor for the applicant?

    This depends on the amount of the tuition fee as well as the economic situation in your country. The sponsor should have income for e.g. the following three items: 1) the required 6720 Euros per year for the student’s living costs, 2) the annual tuition fee of the student 3) to cover the sponsor’s own living costs at their home.

    Can a boyfriend be a sponsor?

    Yes, why not. Ensure you clarify the relationship in an e.g. cover letter.

    If a student is being sponsored by parent and has funds transferred to student’s account, does the student indicate himself as self-sponsored?

    No, in that case the student still has a sponsor. Money must always be on the student’s own account, whether s/he has a sponsor or not. If the student is being sponsored by the parent, the student needs to submit information about the sponsor (the parents), as well as documents explaining the source of the funds that demonstrating where the parents got the money from.

  • Embassy appointment

    What is the process of booking the embassy appointment?

    You book the appointment by email. Each embassy has their own email address. Check with Edunation the correct process for your country. You can email us at contact@edunation.co  for details. In some countries, Finland has outsourced the appointment booking to VFS center. The countries are listed here. In that case, VFS takes the biometrics and might check the documents but the student may still be invited for an interview in the Embassy. Note that for now only the VFS offices located in the capital city of the country provide services for student residence permit applicants.

    What is the student expected to know before arriving at the embassy?

    The student should bring all the original documents with them as well as one set of photocopies of the same documents. The student must have complete knowledge of the documents. Print out of the online application form is also a must. The Embassy officer will go through the documents and ask about them one by one. The student should answer honestly and be ready to give any clarifications if requested. Usually, the questions are about the financial situation or about the sponsor’s financial situation. Be ready to explain how you have planned to fund the studies. Make sure your answer is in line with the documents you have provided – don’t make things up.

    Sometimes, the officer might ask you many other questions as well. These may include questions such as: which university have you been accepted to, why do you want to study in that particular university, why do you want to study in Finland, what do you want to do after you graduate, do you know the difference between a university and a university of applied sciences. Make sure your answers are clear and demonstrate your motivation to study in Finland.

    Read our detailed blog post about the Embassy appointment here.

    Once the university admission letter is received, how do we book the embassy appointment in India?

    The Embassy of Finland in New Delhi has outsourced the customer service of residence permit applications to VFS in New Delhi. Book an appointment at the VFS Global service centre in New Delhi online. You will be given an appointment time to provide biometric identification at the VFS centre. At the same time, you may be allocated a time for an interview at the Embassy of Finland. The appointment time at the VFS and the interview at the Embassy will take place either on the same day or within the next days, depending on the availability of interview slots at the Embassy. Once the residence permit card is ready, you can either retrieve it yourself or arrange an authorized person to pick it up on your behalf. You may also purchase a VFS courier service where the card is delivered to the address requested by the applicant when technically possible.

    Can an applicant from Bangladesh be allowed to book their appointment at the Finnish Embassy for the residence permit application in China instead of India?

    The student must visit the embassy in their country of residence. If there is no embassy in the country of residence, student needs to submit the application at the designated Finnish embassy for that particular country. In the case of Bangladesh students, this would be the VFS Center in New Delhi.

    If the student would be a citizen of Bangladesh but currently have a residence permit for studies in China, and therefore be a residence in China, the student could apply at the Finnish Embassy in China.

    Do we first submit the scanned copies of documents online and then carry the original documents to the Embassy?

    Yes, exactly. Firstly, students need to scan and attach the copies of all the documents online at the enterfinland.fi portal in the application. Once they visit the embassy for the biometric identification, they must bring the original documents with them, as well as photo copies of the same, as the documents will be checked.

    Can students from Bangladesh also use VFS Global as they would be applying to the Finnish embassy in New Delhi?

    Yes, students from Bangladesh should book an appointment at the VFS Global service centre in New Delhi online. If you need a visa to India, note the Indian visa processing time before requesting an appointment at the VFS. Upon booking the appointment, you will be given an appointment time to provide biometric identification at the VFS centre, and, at the same time, you will be allocated a time for an interview at the Embassy of Finland. The appointment time at the VFS and the interview at the Embassy will take place either on the same day or within the next days, depending on the availability of interview slots at the Embassy. Once the residence permit card is ready, you can either retrieve it yourself or arrange an authorized person to pick it up on your behalf. You may also purchase a VFS courier service where the card is delivered to the address requested by the applicant when technically possible.

    Where do students from the Philippines apply for student residence permit?

    Students from the Philippines must submit their student residence permit application online at www.enterfinland.fi . For the biometric identification, students must an appointment at the VFS Global service centre in Manila online. On the day of the appointment, the consular officer identifies the applicant and checks the application documents before the applicant moves to the other side of the building to submit the application, give biometrics and pay the VFS service charge. Once the residence permit card is ready, the applicant can either collect it in person or arrange a courier to pick it up.

  • Family, spouse and permanent residency

    How easy or difficult is it to get a spouse visa in Finland?

    The income requirement for a spouse is higher than for the student. The spouse must have 700 euros per month to cover their living expenses in Finland. If this financial requirement is in order, and the relationship between the student and the spouse applicant has clearly been established, there should not be any problem.

    If the student declares that they want to stay in Finland and become a permanent resident or a citizen – will this be an issue?

    As the student is applying for a student residence permit, they should demonstrate their motivation to come to Finland for the purpose of studying. Therefore, there is no need to bring up immigration/PR intentions when applying for student residence permit.

    In the student residence permit application, there is a question about how long the student intends to stay in Finland. Should the student declare the period of their study or do they declare their intent to stay as PR?

    As the student is applying for a student residence permit, they should demonstrate their motivation to come to Finland for the purpose of studying. Therefore, there is no need to bring up immigration/PR intentions when applying for student residence permit.

    Regarding permanent residency to Finland, where the requirement is continuous residence over 4 years in Finland, is it allowed to stay e.g. 90 days out of the country per year? This is for purposes of emergency or vacation travelling in other EU countries?

    Yes, holidays outside of Finland are allowed. The residence in Finland is considered continuous if you have resided at least a half of the period of validity of your residence permit in Finland. Continuous residence is not interrupted by absences caused by ordinary holiday and other travel. If you have spent longer times outside Finland, attach to your application a written statement of the reasons and lengths of your absences

    Can a student’s study time be deducted from the requirement of 4 years of continuous work and stay prior to applying for a permanent residency?

    No, this is not possible.

  • Extension of the student residence permit

    How much time is required to apply for the extension of the student resident permit?

    It is difficult to estimate the processing time of the Immigration Office. It may take several months and therefore, we advise the students to apply for the extension early during the spring term. The students can do the application online and, in many cases, they might not even have to visit the local Immigration Office in person, if they have opened a bank account in Finland during the first year of studies.

  • Miscellaneous

    Can we advise our students that their Finnish Student Residence Permit will allow them to visit other EU countries?

    Yes, students can visit other EU countries. In fact, many international students do an exchange to another university in the EU during their degree studies in Finland. Finnish universities have an extensive network of partner universities for exchange programs across the EU.

    Will the age of an applicant affect the decision of a student residence permit application?

    It will not. Finland strongly believes in continuous education. The most important factor is that the student is motivated to study in Finland and has the required funds and other documents to do so.

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