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Tips for international students applying for a residence permit

5.6.2018 14.36
Press release

Thousands of international students will begin or continue their studies in Finland this year. Most of them will be applying for residence permits between May and September.

The Finnish Immigration Service processes all residence permit applications for studies as high-priority applications. Applications are processed in the order they are submitted. Contacting the Finnish Immigration Service by email or telephone will not speed up the processing. Your application cannot be fast-tracked even if you have purchased flight tickets in advance.

To help international students navigate the application process, we have compiled the following checklist.

Are you applying for a first residence permit?

  • We recommend using the e-service. If you are applying for a first residence permit for studies, apply for it abroad using the e-service Enter Finland or by submitting a paper form as soon as your admission to a Finnish educational institution has been confirmed. Applying online is always the quickest and most affordable way to apply.
  • Make sure that you have all the necessary attachments.
  • Prove your identity. Once you have submitted your application online, you will need to visit a Finnish embassy or consulate in your home country or in a country where you reside legally. You will have to give your fingerprints and prove your identity. Your application will only be processed after you have visited a Finnish embassy or consulate in person.
  • Wait for the decision abroad. If you are granted a residence permit, a residence permit card will be ordered for you at the same time. It takes a few weeks to manufacture and post the card. Your card will be sent to the Finnish embassy or consulate that you visited to prove your identity. 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.

Are you applying for an extension to your residence permit?

  • We recommend using the e-service. Apply for an extended permit in the e-service Enter Finland or with a paper form in Finland before your current residence permit expires. Please note that you cannot apply for an extended permit abroad.
  • Complete your spring studies first. Only submit your application after completing your spring studies, as we will check whether you have made progress in your studies. If you study at an institute of higher education, a university or a university of applied sciences to complete a basic degree, you must complete approximately 45 study points during an academic year.
  • Visit our service point. Visit our service point within three months of submitting the application. Book an appointment using our appointment system at Migri.fi. At the service point, you must present original copies of the documents attached to your application and give your fingerprints, among other things.
  • Remember to visit our service point within three months. Do not worry if you are unable to visit our service point before your current residence permit expires. Remember, however, to visit our service point within three months of submitting your application through the e-service.
  • Make sure that you have all the necessary attachments.
  • Wait until your residence permit card is posted to you. If you are granted a new residence permit, the residence permit card will be delivered to you by post. If you are not in Finland, you can authorise another person to pick up the card on your behalf. If you are abroad, you need to return to Finland before your current residence permit expires. We will not send you a new residence permit card abroad.

Are you starting a student exchange or a traineeship?

  • If you are away from Finland for more than six months, you cannot be granted a residence permit. Before your return, reapply for a first residence permit at the Finnish embassy or consulate of your country of residence

Information about the processing queue for students’ residence permit applications is published on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service. The information on the website is updated regularly.

If you have submitted your application using the e-service Enter Finland , you can track its status in the e-service.

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