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Role of the educational institution in a residence permit process

A foreign student from outside the EU or EEA coming to study at your educational institution requires a residence permit if the studies exceed 90 days. For shorter periods of study, the student may arrive in Finland with a visa or without a visa if he or she is exempted from the visa requirement.

Granting of a residence permit for studies requires that the following conditions are met:

  • The student has a study place at a Finnish educational institution providing education after basic education.
  • The studies lead to a degree or a vocational qualification or the student has reasonable grounds for other studies.
  • The student has sufficient funds to secure his or her means of support.
  • The student has sufficient health insurance.
  • The student has a valid passport.

Read more about the requirements for a residence permit for students here.

Applying for a residence permit

The student has to apply for a residence permit himself or herself. A student who is residing abroad has to apply for a residence permit at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) in the country where he or she resides legally. Some missions offer the possibility of making an appointment beforehand. The best way to find the information you need is to check the website of the mission in question.

If the student submits his or her residence permit application through the e-service Enter Finland, he or she will receive a decision on it quicker. Electronic applications move globally between authorities in electronic processing queues, and there is no need to send documents by post. The decision is also delivered to the applicant via the e-service. Applications made on paper in the traditional way are sent to Finland by courier, which may sometimes take several weeks.

If the applicant is granted a residence permit, he or she gets a residence permit card. Residence permit cards cannot be sent electronically to the applicant. For students living abroad, the residence permit card is delivered to the Finnish mission that hands the card over to the applicant.

Illustrated instructions about the residence permit process for students can be found here.

Customer bulletins for students

The Finnish Immigration Service has prepared customer bulletins in English for students who have received a study place in Finland. The educational institution can attach these bulletins to its letter of acceptance.

The customer bulletins can be found here:

Student information that the educational institution should send to the Finnish Immigration Service

A list of degree students accepted to the educational institution should be sent to the Finnish Immigration Service to the address migri(at) The lists should also show the degree programme and whether or not it is subject to a fee. With the help of the lists, the Finnish Immigration Service is able to quickly check, if need be, whether a residence permit applicant has the right to study. This means that separate enquiries made to the educational institutions do not delay the processing of the application.

There is no need for lists of exchange students.

Information about students who have not started their studies or who have interrupted their studies should also be supplied to the Finnish Immigration Service.

The Finnish Immigration Service has the right to access this information under section 8(1) (13) of the Act on the Register of Aliens.

Processing times and related enquiries

Information about the residence permit application is first and foremost given to the applicant himself or herself. The applicant can follow the status of his or her application in the Enter Finland e-service. The educational institution can be given information about its students’ residence permits, for example, if a student has been granted a residence permit or not.

The expected processing time for a residence permit application for studies is one month. The calculation of the processing time begins when the applicant visits a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) or a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service to verify his or her identity. The processing time ends when a decision is made. If the residence permit decision is positive, it takes about two weeks to manufacture and post the residence permit card.

You can find more information about our processing times here.