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Instructions for high school exchange students

Congratulations on your study place in Finland! 

Start preparing your application immediately after receiving your acceptance letter. The entire process may take several months.

How do I know if I need a residence permit in Finland? 

You will need a residence permit in all other cases, except: 

The mandatory appendices 

If your documents are not in Finnish, Swedish or English, have them translated into one of these languages by an authorized translator. Take the originals of your documents with you to the embassy. For more information about the appendices, please see our website 'Residence permit application for studies'.

This is what you should do to apply for a residence permit


Apply for your residence permit abroad, not in Finland 


Create an account in the online service. Fill in the application form for studies. Fill in your name as it is in your passport, your contact details and the date you plan to arrive in Finland. Next, collect the mandatory appendices.


Submit your online application. 


Visit a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) in person for identification and fingerprinting. Contact the embassy or consulate in advance to book an appointment. All Finnish embassies and consulates are listed at the website of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs ( If there is no Finnish diplomatic mission in your country, check on the -website which embassy or consulate you need to contact. Please note that the Finnish Immigration Service cannot influence at which Finnish embassy or consulate you should handle your matter. The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs makes this decision. 


Your application will be processed only after you have visited a Finnish embassy. Also, the estimated processing time of your application starts from the day you visit the embassy. 

Important to remember: 

The application process is longer if you submit an incomplete application. We process all residence permit applications for studies as urgent. 

If your application is approved, you will get a biometric residence permit card. The card is manufactured in Finland and delivered to the Finnish embassy. It is not possible to speed up the delivery of the card or to collect the card from Finland. You cannot come to Finland without the residence permit card. 

We recommend that you do not acquire airline tickets in advance in case you do not receive a decision before your flight to Finland. 

How to follow the progress of your application: 

  • Check the processing queue of students’ residence permit applications
  • Use the Kamu chatbot on to check how your application is proceeding. Kamu will check the progress of your application among other submitted applications with the same case type and processing basis.
  • Log in to your Enter Finland account. 
  • Please note that telephone or email inquiries will not speed up the process.

The D visa allows you to travel to Finland immediately after being issued with a residence permit

You can apply for a D visa at the same time as you apply for a residence permit. The D visa allows you to travel to Finland immediately after you have been issued with a residence permit and a D visa sticker has been attached to your passport. You should apply for a D visa only if you can travel to Finland within two weeks of being granted a residence permit, because you need to be able to collect your residence permit card from a collection point in Finland.

With a D visa, you can arrive in Finland during a time period of 100 days before the residence permit becomes valid. The validity period of your D visa needs to overlap with the validity period of your residence permit for at least one day. Please note that if you apply for a residence permit long before your studies begin, it may not necessarily be possible to grant you a D visa together with the residence permit. In such cases, it is possible that your card is delivered to Finland but you are not necessarily able to collect it from the collection point in Finland. If this happens, someone else can pick up the card for you. Read more about the D visa.