A visa is an entry permit to enter and stay in the territory of Finland and other Schengen area for a maximum of three months (90 days) within a half year period (6 months) starting from the day of the first border crossing to the Schengen area. If you are going to stay in Finland longer a residence permit may be required. Please see chapter Residence permit below for further information permits for longer term stay in Finland.
Students from most European and North American countries do not need a visa for short-term studies or e.g. attending entrance examinations in Finland. Please check with the local Finnish Embassy in your home country whether you need a visa or not. A visa is not required if your home country has signed a visa exemption treaty with Finland. For more information about visas and visa applications/requirements, you may contact the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and its diplomatic missions abroad.
Residence permit / Residence permits
Students admitted to the Oulu University of Applied Sciences should start their immigration document process as soon as possible to avoid delayed start of studies. Please notice that we have done our best to ensure that all information given about residence in Finland is correct and up-to-date, but we cannot guarantee the accuracy of information described hereafter at all times. However, you can always check the details by contacting the Finnish Immigration Service. Here you will find further information on residing in Finland for the purpose of studies for non-EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens, Nordic citizens and EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens.
Instructions for obtaining a residence permit by Finnish Immigration Service (pdf): http://u.oamk.fi/exchangeresidence
N.B.! If you (Third country citizen) are currently staying in a EU country and are maintaining a valid residence permit for the time of your exchange, it is sufficient to inform the Finnish Immigration Service by means of a mobility notification. More detailed instructions, processing fee and requirements at https://migri.fi/en/mobility-notification-to-finland
Instructions for obtaining a Personal Identity Code along with the residence permit application (mandatory): http://u.oamk.fi/registrationpicoverseas
Citizens of other than EU countries and equivalent are required to have a residence permit before arriving in Finland if their studies in Finland will last longer than three months, for shorter stays a visa may be required. The first application should be submitted to the nearest Finnish diplomatic mission abroad in the country where the student permanently lives. Applications for extension of a residence permit can be made to your local police in Finland. The applicant must have a valid passport or other travel document before he or she can be granted a residence permit.
You can get a residence permit if you have been admitted to a Finnish University of Applied Sciences. Apart from proving that you have been accepted to study at a recognised institution, you must also demonstrate that you have a secure income, i.e. either your own funds or a scholarship. Before a residence permit can be granted, you must make a bank deposit of 6,720 EUR in a Finnish bank in your own name and this must be renewed each year. Alternatively, you must demonstrate that you have the above-mentioned sum available for transfer to your account for study purposes. There are no restrictions on how you use this money.
You do not need to make the deposit if you are taking part in an exchange programme between a Finnish and a foreign university of applied sciences/university and your studies are being funded in some other manner through the programme.
Non EU/EEA or Swiss citizens who submit a residence permit application must attach details of his/her comprehensive health insurance cover to his/her residence permit application. Comprehensive insurance cover means insurance which includes the types of treatment and costs that are covered by the Finnish municipal health care services and the health insurance system of Finland. For studies of less than two years in duration, a student must have private insurance which primarily covers the costs of medical treatment up to 120,000 euros (cost level in 2018). Where the duration of the studies is two years or more, a student will usually have a home municipality in Finland and is therefore entitled to municipal health care services. In such cases, it is sufficient for the insurance to primarily cover the cost of medicines (in practice the cover extends to doctor’s fees and costs of treatment and examination), up to 40,000 euros (cost level in 2018). A student must have insurance cover when applying for a residence permit as without it a residence permit cannot be granted. In principle a residence permit cannot be issued for a period exceeding the period of the insurance cover.
Foreigners must fulfill certain criteria in order to obtain a residence permit for studies in Finland. The most important of these are:
- They must be at least 18 years old.
- They are going to study at a recognised educational institution.
- Their application for the permit includes a proof that they have been accepted as a full-time student.
- Their application indicates the degree to which their studies lead as well as the estimated length of studies.
- They must demonstrate that they have a secure income, i.e. either their own funds or a scholarship that will cover their study and living expenses in Finland. Before a residence permit can be granted, they must make a bank deposit of 6,720 EUR in a Finnish bank account in their own name and this must be renewed each academic year. Applicants must have a minimum of 560 EUR per month at their disposal. In some cases they can show that the funds are available for transfer from their home country to Finland by means of a reliable banking connection. There are no restrictions on how they use this money. Foreign students participating in a scholarship or exchange programme must show proof of acceptance by the programme sponsor in place of the deposit.
Instructions for obtaining a Personal Identity Code along with the registration of the right of residence (pdf): http://u.oamk.fi/registrationpiceurope
EU citizens and equivalent persons do not need a residence permit for coming to Finland for studies. However, they must register their right to reside in Finland at the Finnish Immigration office in Oulu, if their stay lasts for longer than three months. A written certificate of registration (in Finnish: Unionin kansalaisen oleskeluoikeuden rekisteröintitodistus) is given to persons who have been registered. If students interrupt their stay within the first three months, then it is sufficient to register their residence in Finland at a Register Office ("maistraatti"). The registration of residence must be done within three months of arrival in Finland.
A student who is an EU citizen or an equivalent person may provide proof of funding in any way he or she chooses. He or she must self-finance his or her stay in Finland during the study period. The Finnish government does not provide funding for an EU citizen and an equivalent person to stay in Finland, nor does it cover expenses for medical care for such a person. An EU citizen and an equivalent person is not entitled to the Finnish study grant. Unless it is withdrawn, the right to reside in Finland is valid until further notice.
In addition to Finland, the Member States of the European Union (EU) include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. Similar regulations on the right of free movement that apply to citizens of EU Member States also apply to those of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Hence, the citizens of these States are equated with EU citizens.
Students from Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland) do not need a residence permit for studies in Finland. However, they must register their residence in Finland at a Register Office ("maistraatti") under Inter-Nordic Migration Form and obtain a Finnish Personal Identity Code, and return the personal data form to Oulu UAS' International Services within the first weeks of their exchange stay in Finland. A written certificate of registration will be given to the registered persons at thre register office. It must be shown to the authorities on request. The registration of residence should be done within three months of arrival in Finland. Nordic citizens are also exempt from income requirements. Nordic citizens do not need a passport to move within the the Nordic countries. However, they must be able to prove their identity with a legitimate identification document upon request. The mobility information service Hello Norden provides information for Nordic people who intend to settle, study or work in another Nordic country.
Where to Apply for a Residence Permit and Visa?
The first residence permit and (if necessary) visa application should be addressed to the Finnish diplomatic mission in your home country before entering Finland. If you are currently a permanent resident abroad, the application should be addressed to the Finnish diplomatic mission in your country of residence. A residence permit can also be granted to you in any other country where you are staying legitimately, if this is considered reasonable.
Applications for extension of a residence permit can be made to the local police in Finland.
The residence permits in Finland are granted by the Finnish Immigration Service. On its Web site at www.migri.fi you will find more information on residence in Finland. As of 2017 the Finnish Immigration Service is also responsible for granting residence permits and visa extensions and re-entry visas to foreign nationals already resident in Finland. Applications should normally be submitted in these cases in person to the police authorities of the applicant's place of residence.
Currently, the Finnish Immigration Service provide electronic permit and licence services for foreign students applying for a residence permit. Even though you apply for a residence permit electronically, you must visit a Finnish embassy or a Migri Service Point.
Non-EU/EEA citizens who have been admitted to study at Oulu University of Applied Sciences, can enter the Oulu University of Applied Sciences and start their studies only if they possess a valid residence permit for the studies in Finland.
How Long is a Residence Permit Valid?
A residence permit granted to a student is temporary by its nature. If the studies last for more than a year, the residence permit is usually granted for one year at a time. An extension of the permit requires that the student is still registered at the educational institution, is a full-time student and has completed the required courses in the institution's study programme. If the student has a poor study performance, an extension of the residence permit may be denied. The application for an extension of the residence permit is submitted to the police.
Contact Information on Residence Permit / Registration
In Finland exchange and degree-seeking students can register their right to stay or apply for an extension to their residence permits at the following authorities:
Postal address: P.O. Box 18, FIN-00581 Helsinki, Finland
Visiting address: Panimokatu 2 A, Helsinki
Customer service: Lautatarhankatu 10, Helsinki
Finnish Immigration Service
Asylum Unit, Oulu
P.O. Box 173, 90101 Oulu
(official registry office e-mail address)
Tel. +358 (0)71 873 0431 (switchboard; NOTE! Switchboard does not put through customer calls)
Fax +358 (0)71 873 0730
The English translation of legislation concerning residence in Finland (Aliens Act 301/2004) can be found on the web site of the Finnish Immigration Service: www.migri.fi.