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International student: how to apply for a residence permit this year

Publication date 7.4.2020 11.06
Press release

If you plan to move to Finland for the purpose of studies, you can still apply for a residence permit for studies in accordance with these instructions. Students usually submit their residence permit applications between May and September.

The current situation with coronavirus influences the processing time of the applications this year. Your application will proceed to the Finnish Immigration Service for processing after you have visited a Finnish embassy for identification.

Keep updated for news on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak by following the Finnish Immigration Service’s website:

Applying for a first residence permit

  • Accept your study place following the instructions provided by your educational institution after receiving your letter of acceptance to study in a university in Finland.
  • Apply for a residence permit for studies online, in the Finnish Immigration Service’s online service Enter Finland. Please remember to add the required attachments in accordance with the instructions.
  • You must submit your application no later than two months before your studies start. So, if your studies begin in early September, you must submit your application before the end of June.
  • A state of emergency has been declared in Finland due to the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, and entry into Finland has been restricted until 13 April 2020. Up-to-date information on these restrictions is available on the website of the Border Guard.
  • Before a residence permit decision can be granted to you, you have to visit a Finnish embassy abroad for identification. At the embassy, you must prove your identity, give your fingerprints and present the original documents attached to your application. At the moment, the operations of Finnish embassies abroad have been temporarily suspended due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, which means that you cannot make appointments at the embassies. The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs reported these exceptional circumstances in a press release on 19 March 2020. 
  • Owing to the exceptional situation of the embassies, identification times have been temporarily extended. You can read more about identification in the press release issued by the Finnish Immigration Service.
  • Follow the websites of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Finnish Immigration Service.  Please book an appointment to identify yourself once the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has lifted the restrictions.
  • We will process your application after you have visited the embassy. The embassy will inform us of your visit directly. You do not need to inform the Finnish Immigration Service of this separately.

Follow the status of your application on Enter Finland

  • If you have already visited the embassy for identification and you have already submitted your residence permit application, the processing thereof will continue in normal order. Follow the status of your application on the online service Enter Finland.
  • If a residence permit is issued for you, a residence permit card is ordered for you. Your card will be sent to the same embassy that you visited to prove your identity. You can keep updated on the operations of Finnish embassies during these exceptional circumstances on the website of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, on
  • You should therefore wait for the decision abroad. You cannot come to Finland while your application is still being processed and receive a residence permit card in Finland.

Extended residence permit applications

  • First complete your studies for spring term. In the processing of the extension of your residence permit, we will check if your studies have progressed. Undergraduates at a university or university of applied sciences should complete about 45 credits during the academic year.
  • Once you have completed your studies for the spring term, submit your application for an extended residence permit in the online service Enter Finland. You must submit the application before your previous residence permit expires.
  • Use your online banking credentials when using Enter Finland. With the online banking credentials, you can provide a strong identification, i.e. prove your identify online. If you have provided a strong identification and paid the processing fee online, it is not necessary to visit a service point personally for identification. After submitting your application, the Enter Finland service will tell you if you need to visit a service point or not.
  • You can only visit our service points for pre-booked appointments during the coronavirus outbreak. Instructions on visiting our service points is available in this press release.
  • If you receive a new residence permit, your residence permit card will arrive by post. If you are not in Finland yourself at the time of receiving the card, you can authorise someone else to collect the card for you. We cannot send your new residence permit card to an address abroad.

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