Legislation on visas and student residence permits for international students in Finland vary depending on the country of citizenship. Below you can find general guidelines for non-EU/EEA citizens.
If you will be staying in Finland for less than 90 days, (if you are attending summer schools, for example) you will need a short-term visa, which can be obtained at the nearest Finnish embassy, or in some cases, at some other Schengen country’s embassy that officially represents Finland in short-term visa matters.
Find out if you need a visa
Check here to see if you need a visa.
Even if you did 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 from the nearest Finnish embassy. Or sometimes Finland may be represented by another Schengen state. In such cases, apply for a visa to Finland from the embassy of that Schengen state.
- The visa application form completed and signed
- One photograph
Include a color photograph from which you are recognizable
- A passport
Make sure your passport is valid for at least three (3) months after the end of your intended travel and that it has been issued no later than ten (10) 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 EUR 30,000 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. For summer school students, you have 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 EUR 30 a day is required.
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 euros (2018/Jan).
Please always check with your nearest Finnish embassy for the most updated information regarding to 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 one year at a time. This means that you will have to renew it at the end of each academic year.
The following documents are required for obtaining a student residence permit:
- Valid passport and a passport photo– The passport must be valid for at least one year after your arrival to Finland
- The Official admission letter from a Finnish university or UAS. If the letter of acceptance was sent to you via email, include the forwarding email from Studyinfo.fi service / the school in Finland
- Proof of financial resources for the stay (means to support your living, including a clarification on tuition fee or scholarship, if applicable)
- You must have 6,720 € for one year (=560 €/month) as a bank deposit (or scholarship or grant, if applicable)
- A bank statement from your own bank account. Written sponsorships from private guarantors are not accepted
- 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. A bank statement is not necessary if the scholarship fully covers the requirement.
- Valid health insurance
- Tuition fee
- If you pay your tuition fee before arriving in Finland, please attach documentation of the paid fee.
- 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.
These documents must be 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.
Application instructions for residence permit
Submit an application for a residence permit online at Enter Finland Services.
Apply for your residence permit abroad, not in Finland.
- Visit a Finnish embassy/consulate in person for identification and fingerprinting. At the website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland, you can find all Finnish embassies and consulates. Remember to book an appointment!
- If there is no Finnish diplomatic mission (such as an embassy or consulate) in your country, you need to visit a mission in another country
- Your application will not be processed before you have visited a Finnish embassy
If your application is accepted, a biometric residence permit card will be sent to the Finnish embassy. It is not possible to collect the card from Finland, and all students must have their residence permit cards before the arrival to Finland.
Visit the website of Finnish Immigration Service Migri for more details on applying for a residence permit for studies.
In addition to the student residence permit, if your stay in Finland lasts for more than a year, you are required to register in the Finnish population system at the Local Register Office.
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’.
The required level of income is a bit higher for spouses of students than students. The income level requirement is based on how much money a person must have at his or her disposal in order to be able to finance his or her stay in Finland. The required income level is lower for students than for other applicants. It is based on the financial aid that Finnish students receive yearly.
Students must have 560 euros per month at their disposal, whereas their spouses are required to have 700 euros per month.
Working during and after your studies
During your studies
With a student residence permit, you are allowed to work if the work is part of a traineeship required for a degree or is part of a research paper required for the studies. Otherwise, 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.
When you have completed your studies, you can apply for a temporary residence permit 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.