VISAS AND STUDENT RESIDENCE PERMITS
Depending on your nationality, you may need a permit to reside in Finland as a student. Below you can find a general overview and some advice on permit matters – more detailed information and advice is available from the Finnish embassies around the world and from the Finnish Immigration Service Migri.
If you are an EU/EEA citizen, you do not need a visa or a residence permit to Finland. However, you are required to register your residence with Migri if your stay in Finland exceeds 90 days. Additionally, if your stay in Finland lasts for more than a year, you should register in the Finnish population system,
If you are a Nordic citizen, you do not need a visa or a residence permit to Finland. However, you are required to register your residence at the local registry office if your stay in Finland exceeds 6 months. Additionally, if your stay in Finland lasts for more than a year, you should register in the Finnish population system, see section on Registration.
If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, you will usually need a visa or a student residence permit. Which one you should apply for, depends on the length of your stay in Finland.
FOR SHORT VISITS, YOU MAY NEED A VISA
A visa is a short-term entry permit for maximum of 90 days’ visits. You may need a visa for example if you are invited to take an entrance exam in Finland, or if you take part in a course or exchange that lasts less than 90 days. Note that Finland has visa-waiving agreements with some countries, so whether or not you need a short-term visa depends on your nationality.
You apply for a short-term visa 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.
STUDENT RESIDENCE PERMIT
A student residence permit is a long-term temporary residence permit that is usually granted for one year at a time. If you come to Finland for a student exchange period exceeding three months, or if you have been admitted to a full degree programme, then you need to apply for a student residence permit.
To apply for a student residence permit, you need to have a valid passport and an official admission letter from a Finnish university or UAS. Also, you will be required to show enough funding at your disposal (means of support to cover your living costs, including a clarification on tuition fee or scholarship, if applicable), and that you have valid insurance. You can find detailed information on these requirements on the Finnish Immigration Service Migri website. See also our basic advice in the sections Insurance and Health and Cost of Living.
You can start your student residence permit application online at Enterfinland.fi, but in the process, it is also necessary for you to personally visit a Finnish embassy. This means that you need to travel abroad to a Finnish embassy, if one is not available in your home country.
After you have completed your student residence permit application process, the Finnish embassy will forward your application to the Finnish Immigration Service Migri for processing. If you are granted a residence permit, you will receive a residence permit card.
A student residence permit is usually granted for one year at a time. After your first year in Finland (in good time before your previous permit expires) you should apply for an extension of your student residence permit from Migri. Note that you can use the Enter Finland e-service also for this purpose!
You can read more about the student residence permit procedures, requirements, and processing times on the Migri website.
REGISTERING IN THE FINNISH POPULATION SYSTEM
In addition to your student residence permit, if your stay in Finland lasts for more than a year, you should register in the Finnish population system