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Frequently asked questions: Students

Requirements for applying

I would like to come to Finland to study. What should I do?

You can apply for a residence permit for studying when you have received a study place in a Finnish educational institution. Your studies must lead to a degree or a vocational qualification (occupation). A residence permit can be issued for other studies, which do not lead to a degree or a vocational qualification, only on reasonable grounds.

You must also have sufficient means for studying in Finland and a valid and sufficient health insurance. Apply for a residence permit using the form OLE_OPI via the e-service.

Remember to include all the necessary attachments.

I already have a university degree in my home country. Can I come to Finland to study and apply for a residence permit for studying?

Yes.

I have accepted another study place after submitting a residence permit application. Do I need to submit a new application?

You do not need to submit a new application. 

However, you must notify the Finnish Immigration Service of the change, if you change

  • from an upper secondary school to a higher education institution, or
  • from a higher education institution to an upper secondary school.

You do not need to notify us of the change if the level of the previous and the new school is the same (for example, if you change from a higher education institution to another).

I am about to graduate, but my residence permit for studies will expire before I get my degree certificate. What should I do? On what grounds can I apply for an extended permit? Do I need to apply for an extended permit for studies for 2–3 months, or can I apply for an extended permit for a person who has completed a degree?

If you will graduate and get your degree certificate within three months, you can apply for an extended permit for a person who has already completed a degree for work or to look for work. When you get your degree certificate, you should submit it to the Finnish Immigration Service as an attachment to your application.

If you will graduate later than within three months, you should apply for an extended permit for studies.

I intend to complete part of my studies in Finland in apprenticeship training. Do I need a residence permit for an employed person or can I study with a residence permit for studies?

If you complete all of your studies in apprenticeship training, you will need a residence permit for an employed person (TTOL). You will also need a residence permit for an employed person, if half or more of the duration of your studies is apprenticeship training. If you intend to complete less than half of your studies in apprenticeship training, you can study with a residence permit for studies.

Application procedure

Has my application arrived at the Finnish Immigration Service?

You can follow the status of your application in the online service Enter Finland. If the online service tells you that your application is pending, it means that the Finnish Immigration Service has received your application.

If you have submitted your application on paper, the Finnish embassy or consulate will send the application to Finland by courier. It may take several weeks for the application to arrive in Finland by courier.

All you need to do is to wait. If there is anything unclear in your application, the Finnish Immigration Service will ask you for further clarification.

Has the Finnish Immigration Service received the supplementary information that I have sent?

The authorities are obliged to ask for further clarifications if supplementary information is needed to make a decision on your application.

If the Finnish Immigration Service has requested further clarifications from you and you have sent all the requested information, all you need to do is to wait. The Finnish Immigration Service will contact you if there are any problems with the clarifications.

At which stage of processing is my application at the moment?

If you submitted an online application, you can check the processing stage of your application in Enter Finland. You can check the estimated processing time of a paper or online application and the application’s place in the processing queue by asking chatbot Kamu

During the peak season for students’ applications, you can follow our customer bulletins on the processing queue of residence permit applications.

Read more about processing times.

Why does the processing of paper applications take longer?

Your application is pending when you have submitted the application and the necessary attachments and given your fingerprints at a Finnish mission or at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service. The mission will send the paper application to Finland by courier. It may take several weeks for the application to arrive in Finland. Therefore, it takes much longer to process a paper application.

When will the decision be made? Can I or my educational institution expedite the decision?

You or your educational institution cannot expedite the decision. Please fill in the application carefully and attach all the necessary attachments to the application. Missing information will delay the processing of the application.

You cannot speed up the processing of your matter by calling, e-mailing or visiting a service point. We will contact you if we need more information for your application.  Information on the current processing situation and average processing times can be found on the page Processing times.

I have submitted an online application. How will I be informed of the decision?

When your application has been processed, you will receive the decision to your Enter Finland account. You will be notified by text message and email that you can read the decision in Enter Finland.

If the decision is positive, you will be manufactured a residence permit card. The card will be sent to the mission where you proved your identity and gave your fingerprints.  

It may take several weeks for the residence permit card to arrive by post.

If you have applied for an extended permit in Finland, the card will be sent to the address that you have given in the application form. If your address in Finland changes, please inform the Finnish Immigration Service of the change.

Can I get a residence permit directly for next year? The teaching in my study programme has already begun, and I can no longer attend this year.

If you meet the requirements for the permit, you can be granted a residence permit starting from the beginning of the following term or academic year. However, you need to make sure that your health insurance is valid for the entire duration of your stay in Finland. In addition, you must have sufficient financial resources for the whole duration of your studies. Describe in your application how you intend to finance your stay in Finland during the first year of studies.

How can I get an expiry decision so that my educational institution can refund my tuition fee?

If you wish to get a decision on the expiry of your application, you need to cancel your application by submitting a free-form notification stating that you wish to cancel your application. Remember to include your customer number, name, age and address. You can submit your notification by email to migri@migri.fi or send it by post to the address PL 10, FI-00086 MAAHANMUUTTOVIRASTO.

I was unable to arrive in Finland by the time my educational institution required me to, and as a result, I lost my study place. Who will reimburse my expenses?

You can discuss the reimbursement of your tuition fee with your educational institution.

I am coming to Finland through the Erasmus Mundus programme to study at a university. My studies will take a year and nine months. This includes a 4-month student exchange in Germany. Can I obtain a residence permit right away for the entire period and do I need a separate residence permit for Germany?

You can be granted a residence permit for the entire time, if 

  • you have sufficient funds for living in Finland and 
  • you have a sufficient insurance that is valid when you arrive in Finland. The insurance must be valid for the whole duration of your studies. 

You should contact the German authorities to find out whether you need a residence permit in Germany.

Researchers, students of the Finnish language and open university

I want to come to Finland to study Finnish. Do I need to apply for a residence permit for studies?

A residence permit for studying is issued only for studies leading to a degree or a vocational qualification (occupation). If you intend to take a short language course, you will not be issued with a residence permit for studies. The only exception to this rule is a language course taken prior to your studies which lead to a degree or a vocational qualification.

You can, however, stay in Finland and study the language in 90 days if you have a visa or if you are not required to have a visa to come to Finland. Finnish embassies (or consulates) abroad make decisions on issuing visas. If you have been issued with a residence permit on other grounds, you can freely attend Finnish language courses in Finland.

I intend to come to Finland for three months to do research in a Finnish university through an internship program. I am studying for a lower university degree in my home country. Am I considered a student who can come to Finland for an internship with a visa?

A person who studies abroad and carries out an internship in Finland is considered a trainee and not a student. Apply for a residence permit for internship.

Can I be granted a residence permit for taking open university courses?

A residence permit for studies is not issued for taking courses in an open university.
A residence permit can be issued for studies other than those leading to a degree or a vocational qualification on reasonable grounds which include:

  • further studies to supplement vocational skills or degrees already acquired
  • further training relating to work done in the country of departure
  • special training to be acquired in Finland
  • student exchange
  • Finnish ancestry
  • language or other training preceding studies (e.g. a Finnish language course when the applicant has been accepted as a student in an educational institution and these studies lead to a degree or a vocational qualification).

Insurance

I have been accepted as a student in a Finnish educational institution and I am about to apply for a residence permit. What kind of health insurance will I need?

The extent of the insurance coverage required depends on the duration of your studies.

An exchange student will, therefore, need a more comprehensive insurance than students studying for a degree.

Please note, that if you are studying for a degree and some of the studies will be completed in another country, you will need a more comprehensive insurance.

Where can I get the health insurance that I am required to have before applying for a residence permit for studies?

You can take out the insurance abroad from an insurance company in your home country or ask for a suitable insurance from an international insurance company.

Each insurance and its terms and conditions are assessed individually when the residence permit application is examined.

I have a European Health Insurance Card. Do I need to have insurance?

You do not need to have insurance. By presenting the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can prove your right to necessary medical treatment in EU and EEA countries and in Switzerland.
More information can be found under ‘Insurance’.

I have a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Do I still need to have insurance?

No, you don’t. A valid UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is regarded as sufficient proof of insurance. Your health insurance card must be valid for the duration of your stay in Finland.

I have a Kela card in Finland. Do I need to have insurance?

As a student, you do not need to have insurance if you have a municipality of residence in Finland and a Kela card. If you do not have a municipality of residence in Finland but you have a Kela card, you can ask Kela to issue you with a certificate of entitlement to medical care. 

When you have a Kela card, you are covered under the National Health Insurance scheme, but it does not mean the same thing as being entitled to treatment in the public healthcare system in Finland. With the Kela card, you are entitled to receive reimbursement for the costs of medicines and fees of private doctors. If you have a municipality of residence in Finland, you are entitled to treatment in the public healthcare system. 

Living and financial resources

Do I need to have the exact amount of money which is required to fulfil the requirement for sufficient financial resources? Is it enough if I almost have the required sum?

You need to have the exact amount of money required of a student. Read more about the required amounts of money.

I have a sponsor. Am I considered to have sufficient financial resources?

You can have a sponsor, but you need to have a bank account in your own name for the money. To meet the income requirement, you also need to have the entire required amount of money in your bank account when you apply for the permit. Having a sponsorship agreement on receiving money into your account once a month from, for example, a relative, friend, or employer is not considered sufficient.

In which country do I need to have a bank account?

You can have a bank account in any country, as long as you can use it in Finland. You must be able to withdraw money from the account in Finland.

Do I need to have my bank statements translated?

If the attachments are not in Finnish, Swedish or English, you should have them translated by an authorised translator and attach the translations to your application.

Can I take my family with me to Finland?

Yes. Please remember that a family member moving to Finland must have sufficient financial resources in order to be issued with a residence permit.

You can have the required sum of money on your own accounts or on your joint account.

More information can be found on the page ‘Moving to Finland to be with a family member’.

A family member who is moving to Finland together with you can apply for a residence permit at the same time with you or later.

Why is the required level of income higher for spouses of students than for students?

The required level of income is the same for spouses as for all people applying for a residence permit on the basis of family ties. It makes no difference what kind of residence permit their spouses have in Finland (for example a residence permit for studies or for an employed person). The income level requirement is based on how much money a person must have at his or her disposal in order to be able to finance his or her stay in Finland. The required income level is lower for students than for other applicants. It is based on the financial aid that Finnish students receive yearly.

I am residing in Finland with a residence permit for studies, and I want my whole family to come to Finland. What is the income requirement for my entire family? 

The income requirement is the same for a student’s family as for all other family members of persons who have been granted a residence permit in Finland. For a spouse, the income requirement is 700 euros per month (8,400 euros per year), and for a first child, 500 euros per month (6,000 euros per year).

You can read more on the page migri.fi/en/income-requirement-for-family-members-of-a-person-who-has-been-granted-a-residence-permit-in-finland

Working

I have a residence permit for studies. Am I allowed to work in paid employment?

A student who has been issued with a residence permit for studies may engage in gainful employment without restrictions if the employment consists of practical training or diploma work as part of a degree.

In addition, you may work in paid employment for a maximum of 30 hours per week. The number of working hours can be exceeded some weeks, as long as the average working hours are no more than 30 hours per week at the end of the year.

I am about to complete a degree at a Finnish educational institution. My residence permit for studying will soon expire. I would like to find work in Finland. What should I do?

You can apply for a temporary residence permit to look for work. In order to be granted the permit, you need to have sufficient funds for living in Finland.

I have graduated from a Finnish educational institution and am looking for work. Which permit do I need to have to work in paid employment in Finland?

If you have completed a degree in Finland but have not yet found a job, you may apply for a residence permit to look for work. 

You may apply for an extended permit to look for work right after graduation or no later than within five years of graduation. A residence permit to look for work can be granted for a maximum of two years. 

If you wish, you can also take the permit in three parts.

  • The last part must end within three years from the date when the first part started.
  • The duration of each part must be at least six months.

Read more about the permit to look for work.

If you have completed a degree in Finland and found a job, you can apply for a residence permit for work on the basis of a degree completed in Finland.  

Read more about the residence permit for work on the basis of a degree completed in Finland.

I graduated and then returned to my home country, where I have been working for a while. Can I still apply for a residence permit to look for work, and return to Finland on the basis of this permit?

You can apply for a residence permit to look for work no later than within five years of the expiry of your residence permit for studies. Read more about the permit to look for work.

Extended permits and the legislative amendment that took effect on 15 April 2022

What kind of an insurance do I need?

All insurance must meet the following requirements:

  • The insurance excess may not be more than EUR 300.
  • If you stay in Finland for less than year, your insurance must be valid throughout your entire stay in Finland.
  • If your studies in Finland take longer than a year, your insurance must be valid without a break for at least one year. There cannot be any restrictions on the validity of your insurance. It must be valid throughout your entire stay in Finland. This means that the insurance cannot be a regular travel insurance that is only valid during trips that last a maximum of 90 days.
    • If you get a residence permit for two years but your insurance is only valid for a year, remember to renew your insurance.
  • Your insurance must be valid when you arrive in Finland.

The required amount of insurance depends on the duration of your studies in Finland. If your studies in Finland take less than two years (less than four semesters),

  • your insurance must cover medical expenses up to EUR 120,000.

If your studies in Finland take at least two years, 

  • your insurance must cover pharmaceutical expenses up to EUR 40,000.

Read more about insurances.

How much money do I need for living in Finland?

You need to have at least 560 euros per month at your disposal to be able to pay for your accommodation, food and other needs.

  • In your application, provide documentation proving that you have sufficient funds to live in Finland for the first year of the validity of the extended permit. 
    • A deposit in a Finnish bank account is the easiest and most reliable way to show that you have sufficient financial resources.

If your educational institution supports your living in Finland, you do not necessarily need to have 560 euros per month at your disposal. When applying for an extended permit, your income from work can also be taken into account. Read more about income requirements.

How can I change my B permit to an A permit?

Students studying for a higher education degree can be issued with a continuous residence permit, an A permit, in Finland. Students who study for some other degree are issued with a temporary residence permit, a B permit.   

You can change your B permit to an A permit, if 

  • you submit a new residence permit application
  • you meet the conditions for the residence permit, and
  • you study for a degree at a higher education institution in Finland.  

If you do not study in a study programme that leads to a higher education degree, you cannot be issued with an A permit. 

Read more about residence permit types.

How much am I allowed to work?

Residence permit for studies enables you to work without restrictions if your work is related to your degree. This means practical training or diploma work as part of the degree. In addition, you may work in paid employment for a maximum of 30 hours per week. The number of working hours can be exceeded some weeks, as long as the average working hours are no more than 30 hours per week at the end of the year.

Students can no longer work without restrictions during holidays or at the times when the educational institution offers no instruction. The right to work changed when the amendments to legislation on students and researchers entered into force on 15 April 2022.

I have had a residence permit to look for work prior to the amendment that took effect on 15 April 2022. I lived in my home country for a while after having been granted a residence permit to look for work. According to the amended law, can I apply for an extended permit to look for work? Or can I apply for a new residence permit to look for work?

You can apply for an extended permit to look for work. According to the amended law, you can get the permit for a maximum of two years and you can take the permit in three parts. In other words, you can still take two of the three parts. Please note that the last part must end within three years from the date when the first part started.

If you are abroad, apply for this permit as a first residence permit. If you wish to apply for an extended permit, you must submit the application before your current permit expires.

Read more about researchers’ and students’ residence permit to look for work.

What type of a permit can my family members get?

If you are granted a residence permit for studies, your spouse and children can be granted a residence permit on the basis of family ties. Your family members can get a first residence permit for a maximum of one year and an extended permit for a maximum of four years.

If you study for a degree at a higher education institution, even your family members can be granted a continuous residence permit, an A permit. The duration of family members’ first A permit can be one year at the most. The duration of family members’ extended permit can be four years at the most.