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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.

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

No.

Example: You have received a study place in the University of Vaasa and stated in your residence permit application that you are going to study there. After submitting your application, you receive a study place in the University of Helsinki and would rather study in Helsinki.

You do not need to notify the Finnish Immigration Service of accepting another study place in another university. What matters is that you have a study place and that your studies lead to a degree or a vocational qualification.

Please remember that if you later apply for an extended permit, it is required that you have credits in the study record.

Application procedure

Has my application arrived at the Finnish Immigration Service?

You can follow the status of your application in the e-service. If it says in the e-service that your application is ‘initiated’, your application has arrived at the Finnish Immigration Service.

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 clarifications.

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?

The processing stage of your application can be seen in the e-service.

If you have submitted your application on paper, you cannot follow closely the processing of your application or check whether it has arrived at the Finnish Immigration Service. The application is initiated when you have submitted the application and all the necessary attachments and given your fingerprints at a Finnish embassy or a consulate or a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.

The embassy or consulate will send the paper application to Finland by courier. It may take several weeks for the application to arrive in Finland by courier. Therefore, it takes much longer to process an application submitted on paper than online.

During the peak season for applications by students, you can follow customer bulletins on the queue of applications.

More information: Processing times

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 all the required sections in the application form carefully and attach all the necessary appendices to your application. If any information is missing, you will be asked to provide further clarifications, which will delay the processing.

You cannot speed up the processing by calling, e-mailing or visiting the Finnish Immigration Service. We will contact you if supplementary information is needed for your application. Information on the current processing situation and average processing times can be found on the ‘Processing times’ page.

I have submitted my application online. How do I receive the decision?

When your application has been processed, it will say in the e-service that a decision has been made on your application.

If the decision is positive, a residence permit card will be manufactured for you. The card will be sent to the embassy or consulate where you identified yourself and gave your fingerprints.

When you see in the e-service that the decision has been made, all you need to do is to wait. It may take several weeks for the residence permit card to arrive.

My studies begin next week but a decision has not yet been made. What should I do?

It is very important that you apply for a residence permit as soon as you have received a letter of acceptance from the educational institution.

The application should be submitted without any delays. You can make sure that you receive your residence permit in time by applying for the permit as soon as it is possible.

There are certain steps in the processing of a residence permit which cannot be performed any faster. For example, it takes 1–3 weeks for the residence permit card to arrive. If you submit your application too late, the Finnish Immigration Service cannot, unfortunately, do anything about it.

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 secure means of support for the period and have sufficient insurance covering the entire duration of your studies. You should contact the German authorities to find out whether you need a residence permit for 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 am about 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?

Under the Finnish Aliens Act, a person who studies abroad and carries out a traineeship in Finland, is a trainee and not a student. Therefore, you are required to apply for a residence permit for internship. However, those entering Finland to study for a maximum period of 90 days will only need a visa. Employers usually pay trainees for the internship, which is the difference between a student and a trainee.

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’.

Living and means of support

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

You need to have the exact amount of money which you are required to have as a student.

I have a sponsor. Am I considered to have sufficient means of support?

You can have a sponsor, but please note that you need to have a bank account in your own name for the money. You also need to have the whole amount of money which you must have to meet the requirement for means of support on your bank account. Having a sponsorship agreement on receiving money into your account once a month, is not considered sufficient.

Sponsorship agreements with relatives, acquaintances or employers are not accepted.

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.

Can I take my family with me to Finland?

Yes. Please remember that a family member moving to Finland must have sufficient means of support 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.

Working

I have a residence permit for studying. Do I have the right to gainful employment?

If you have a residence permit issued for studying, you may engage in gainful employment without restrictions if the employment consists of practical training or diploma work as part of a degree.

During terms when lessons are given, you are allowed to do an average of 25 hours of part-time work per week.

The number of working hours is not restricted weekly, but the restriction concerns each term, so that you can work periodically according to the current situation. During holidays, i.e. during summer and Christmas holidays, you can work full-time without hourly restrictions.

I am about to complete my studies 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 for seeking work by submitting an application for an extended permit to the Finnish Immigration Service before your residence permit for studying expires. The Finnish Immigration Service may grant you a permit for seeking work for a maximum period of one (1) year. You can find instructions on how to apply here.

During the validity of the permit, you are free to seek employment and you may also start working without delay when you find a job. Before your permit for seeking work expires, you may apply for a residence permit on the basis of the employment you have found. It is possible to grant a permit for seeking work only as an extended permit, only once and only in Finland. In order to be issued with the permit, you need to have secure means of support.

I have completed my studies in a Finnish educational institution and I am looking for a job. Which permit do I need to have to be able to have gainful employment in Finland?

If you have received a degree in Finland, you do not need a residence permit for an employed person to have gainful employment. This means that you can be issued with a residence permit without a labour market test (a partial decision by a Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment).

There are no time limits for submitting a residence permit application on the basis of employment after receiving a degree. Example: You have received a degree in Fin-land several years ago and therefore have the right to receive a residence permit on the basis of employment without a labour market test (a partial decision of a Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment). However, you can be issued with a residence permit only if your employment contract complies with the collective agreement of the sector in question. If there is no collective agreement on the sector in question, your employment agreement must be based on the general terms and conditions of the sector. You are also required to have secure means of support.

You can apply for a residence permit on the basis of employment after you have found a job.

More information: Degree from Finland