Increase in the number of residence permit applications from students with China, Russia and Vietnam topping the list

2.11.2018 11.52
Press release

The number of applications for a first residence permit for studies increased this year. By the end of September, a total of 5,007 students had applied for a first residence permit.

In January–September 2017, a total of 4,353 students applied for a first residence permit. In 2016, the total number of applicants was 5,660.

The low number of applications last year was presumably influenced by the fact that educational institutions in Finland implemented tuition fees for students from countries outside the EU. Students who started their studies in the autumn of 2017 were the first ones affected by the change. Most foreign students study at a higher education institution.

Most students come from China or Russia

The majority of the new students have already received a decision. About 90 per cent of the applicants were granted a residence permit and were able to begin their studies this autumn. This year, the Finnish Immigration Service has issued over 4,000 positive decisions and about 370 negative decisions.

Most applicants come from China or Russia. By the end of September, 674 applications had come from China, 624 from Russia and 404 from Vietnam. In recent years, the most common countries have remained roughly the same.

There are some countries where the number of applications from students coming to Finland has decreased in the long term, when the years 2015 and 2016 are taken into account. One of these countries is Vietnam. Despite the downward trend, the number of applications from Vietnam was higher this year than last year. In addition to tuition fees, changes in the course offering of educational institutions may be another reason behind the decreasing number of applications.

The average processing time of students’ applications was 25 days. The reason behind a longer processing time is usually that the application needs to be supplemented with additional documents. In addition, a large number of applications are submitted at the end of the summer in August and September.

Statistics on residence permits for studies are available on our website at

Further information