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Role of the educational institution in a residence permit process

A foreign student from outside the EU or EEA coming to study at your educational institution is required to have a residence permit if the studies exceed 90 days. For shorter periods of study, the student may arrive in Finland with a visa or without a visa if he or she is exempted from the visa requirement.

If the student is covered by a programme that comprises mobility measures, as defined in the Finnish act on residence permits for students, it is advisable to mention this already in the admission letter. In this case, a reference to the programme will be printed on the student’s residence permit card.

If a student from outside the EU or EEA has a residence permit for studies in some other EU Member State and is covered by a programme that comprises mobility measures, he or she may come to Finland to study. For more information on how to submit a mobility notification, please see this page.

A residence permit for studies can be granted for the duration of the studies 

Granting of a residence permit for studies requires that:

  • the student has been accepted to study at a higher education institution to study for a degree and has paid the fees charged by the higher education institution; or
  • the student has been accepted to study at an educational institution that is not a higher education institution, provided that the studies lead to a degree or a vocational qualification or that the student has reasonable grounds for other studies;

In addition, the student must have:

  • sufficient financial resources for the entire time the studies will take
    • In his or her application, the student must provide documentation proving that he or she has sufficient funds during the first year of studies.
  • sufficient health insurance
  • a valid passport.

If the studies mainly consist of distance learning online and do not require the student to stay in Finland, the student cannot be issued with a residence permit for studies. Read more about the requirements for a residence permit for studies.

The student has to apply for a residence permit himself or herself

A student who is residing outside Finland has to apply for a residence permit at a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) in the country where he or she resides legally. Some missions offer the possibility of making an appointment beforehand. The best way to find the information you need is to check the website of the mission in question.

We recommend submitting the application in the online service Enter Finland. Applications made on paper in the traditional way are sent to Finland by courier, which may sometimes take several weeks.
Applicants who are granted a residence permit will get a residence permit card. For students living abroad, the residence permit card is delivered to the Finnish mission that hands the card over to the applicant.

Customer bulletins for students

The Finnish Immigration Service has prepared customer bulletins in English for students who have received a study place in Finland. The educational institution can provide a link to the instructions in their letter of acceptance.

The customer bulletins can be found here:

Customer instructions for students

Student information that the educational institution should send to the Finnish Immigration Service

Educational institutions should provide the Finnish Immigration Service with a list of students who have not started their studies, who have interrupted their studies or who have not paid their tuition fees in accordance with the educational institution’s requirements. The lists can be sent to [email protected].

The Finnish Immigration Service has the right to access this information under the Act on the Register of Aliens.

Processing times and related enquiries

Information about the residence permit application is first and foremost given to the applicant himself or herself. The applicant can follow the status of his or her application in the e-service Enter Finland. The educational institution can be given information about its students’ residence permits, for example about whether a student has been granted a residence permit or not.

The calculation of the processing time begins when the applicant visits a Finnish mission or a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service to verify his or her identity. The processing time ends when a decision is made. If the residence permit decision is positive, it takes about two weeks to manufacture and post the residence permit card. Read more about processing times.