Skip to Content

Considerable increase in the number of residence permit applications for studies

Publication date 25.8.2023 8.00

The number of first applications for residence permits for studies shows a dramatic increase from the previous year. Interest in Finland’s education system is growing.

By the end of July 2023, 8,762 non-EU applicants submitted their first application for a residence permit on the basis of studies. The first residence permit is applied for when the student has been granted a place to study and they plan to move to Finland. The first permit is usually applied for from abroad.

At the same time in 2022, the number of first applications for residence permits for studies submitted was 5,911. This represents an increase of approximately 48%.  

Of those who applied for a residence permit for studies in January-July 2023, a clear majority were degree students. They accounted for 86% of all applicants. The highest number of applications are currently coming from Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, India and Russia. 

Most applicants receive a positive decision 

This year, 7,039 first residence permits for studies were awarded between January and July. The majority, around 95 per cent of the applications, are approved. Typically, negative decisions are based on difficulties in proving sufficient financial resources.

In addition to a study place in Finland, the residence permit for studies requires that the student has sufficient financial resources to live in Finland and insurance to cover the costs of possible medical treatment in Finland. Students from outside the EU are not eligible for student financial aid, and they pay tuition fees to their higher education institution in Finland. 

Students arriving from abroad can obtain a residence permit for the duration of their studies. 

Backlog of applications

On average, this year, students have received their first residence permit in 41 days. Approximately 60 per cent of those who apply for a first residence permit for studies get a decision within 30 days or less.

There is currently a backlog of applications. By the end of July 2023, the Finnish Immigration Service had managed to process more applications this year than ever before during the same time period.

“We added resources to be prepared for the summer season, as every year. Due to the considerable increase in the number of applications, we have also added personnel in the processing of applications submitted by students for the rest of the year. We estimate that the backlog will be cleared by the end of the year for the most part,” says Anu Tarén, Head of Section at the Permit and Nationality Unit.

The Finnish Immigration Service is continuously developing the processing of residence permits for studies, for example by making more use of partial automation. Among other things, it means that information that is available in registers maintained by public authorities is used more effectively and automatically. 

Further information for the media

Head of Section Anu Tarén,, tel. +358 (0)295 433 037