The Finnish higher education system is internationally appreciated. Learning in universities or polytechnics (universities of applied sciences - UAS) may be free for EU students, but it also provides an exciting student life.
International students enrol in plenty of degree courses in Finland yearly and enjoy the balanced schedule and interactive courses, but there are some things you should know about their visa and all the bureaucratic endeavours you will need to resolve.
Before applying for a Finnish student visa
All the document lists you will meet will require you to actually be accepted to a university, so it should be pretty obvious you will need to first apply, get accepted, and enrol to a university.
Some of the best universities you can enrol in Finland are:
- University of Jyväskylä
- University of Eastern Finland
- Lappeenranta University of Technology
- Samara National Research University
If these don’t appeal to you, you can always try and search for a university depending on the discipline you’re interested in. Some of the most popular study options in Finland are:
Who needs a Finnish student visa and types of student visas
Finland has two types of permits:
- Fixed term
- Permanent term
In order to enrol in a university degree course in Finland, you will need to obtain a residence permit for students, which is the name under which the Finnish student visa is known.
However, if you are a citizen of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Denmark), you have the right to live and study in Finland without applying for a residence permit.
You will still have to register with the local authorities, especially if your degree takes more than 90 days.
Usually, the student residence permit is valid for one year, so, if you intend to stay longer, you will have to apply for an extension at the local Police station.
Tips on applying for the Finnish residence permit
As a starting point, you can apply for a residence permit at the embassy or representative office in your country. You can also apply online, but you will still need to visit the local embassy to verify your identity and submit copies of other documents you might need during the application process.
If your home country doesn’t have a Finland embassy, you can always find the country’s representatives on a list on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland website.
A few shortcut links you can use are:
The documents you need for the student visa
Some of the general documentation that applies to all countries, and you will need to submit, are:
- Completed application form
- Certificate of acceptance from a Finnish higher education institution
- Proof that you can financially support yourself during your studies. The minimum amount you need to have at your disposal is 560 EUR/month (6,720 EUR/year), so 700 – 900 EUR/month should be enough to help you sleep at night
- A valid passport and a passport photo
- If the attached documents are in other languages but English, Finnish, or Swedish, you will also need official translations
- Proof that you paid the processing fee of 330 EUR (application on paper) / 300 EUR (electronic application)
- International student health insurance
After applying for the Finnish student visa
After you applied, you need to make a new visit to the local embassy or consulate, to present originals and copies of the requested documents and to prove your identity. You will have your fingerprints taken. This is also a part of the registration process, that will happen after you arrive in Finland, regardless of your country of origin.