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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 requires 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.

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;
  • the student has sufficient funds to secure his or her means of support;
  • The student has sufficient health insurance;
  • The student has a valid passport.

Read more about the requirements for a residence permit for students here.

Applying for a residence permit

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.

The e-service Enter Finland is the quickest way to receive a decision. Applications filled in online move in electronic processing queues globally from one public authority to another, so there is no need to send documents by post. The decision is also delivered to the applicant via the e-service. 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. Residence permit cards cannot be sent electronically to the applicant. 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. Educational institutions can attach the bulletin to their admission letter.

The customer bulletins can be found here:

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.

You can find more information about our processing times here.