Non EU/EEA students studying in Finland for more than three months will need a residence permit for studies to join their program. An application costs up to €360 euros, and renewal fees also apply. Postgraduate students will need a residence permit for scientific research.
If you are an EU national, you do not need to apply for a residence permit, but you will need to register your right of residence in Finland which will cost €54 euros.
Steps to get a Finnish residence permit
In the first instance your residence permit may be issued for one or two years but may need renewing depending on the duration of your university program.
- Fill in your application: gather your necessary documents for your application and apply online or by paper. Submit the documents asked for.
- Book an appointment: visit a Finnish embassy or consulate. This is to prove your identity for your application.
- Pay for your application: you can pay online, or when you go to the service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.
- Attend the appointment: identify yourself and present the original documents of the ones you uploaded.
- Wait for a decision: It takes around 1 - 3 months to process and an application. The Finnish authorities will contact you and let you know if you have been approved.
- Receive a residence permit: You may need to collect this when you arrive in Finland.
Finland student visa processing time
Processing times for Finnish visas depend on whether you apply online or in person.
Although you’ll still need to visit your local embassy to verify your identity and provide supporting documents, you can complete an initial application form through the Finnish Immigration Service website.
Online applications usually take between 2-3 months to process, while paper applications generally take 3 months.
The Finnish Immigration Service prioritizes student visa applications, so hopefully, you shouldn’t have to wait too long to hear back.
Visas for a student’s dependents
Your spouse and children can apply for their own residence permit to be able to join you in Finland while you study. Finnish immigration will try to process your applications together. You must be able to show that you not only have funds to support yourself while in Finland but also any dependents that are joining you.
Finland study visa requirements
You’ll need to show originals or copies of documents when applying for your residence permit. These can include:
- Valid passport
- Color passport photo
- Color copies of the passport’s personal data page and any passport pages that contain notes
- A certificate of acceptance from a Finnish educational institution
- Details of tuition fee payments or any scholarships
- Proof of funds to support yourself
- Proof of health insurance
- Previous qualifications
Working with a Finnish student residence permit
International students with a residence permit in Finland are allowed to work as many hours as they wish if the job is related to the program they are studying. In general, as an international student you can work up to 25 hours a week during term time, and full time during holidays.
What to do if you are rejected for a Finland residence permit
It’s never nice to receive a visa refusal letter, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of your study abroad plans.
Residence permit applications are usually rejected because students fail to provide evidence of sufficient financial resources. If you’re unsure about how to illustrate your funds, contact your nearest Consulate or Embassy to ask for details.
If you receive a negative decision you will also be informed of how to appeal. You’ll find instructions enclosed within the rejection letter.
Once your appeal is submitted, the Administrative Court will either reject it or return your case to the Finnish Immigration Service for reprocessing.