Residence permit for degree students

By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

If you are NOT a citizen of EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and you plan to study in Finland for more than three months, you will need to apply for a residence permit. Below you can find the instructions by the Finnish Immigration Service MIGRI. If you need more information, please contact MIGRI.

What to do now?

Submit an application for a residence permit online at MIGRI's online service EnterFinland.

  • Apply for your residence permit abroad, not in Finland.
  • Please note that you must apply for a residence permit to study!
  • Visit a Finnish embassy/consulate in person for identification and fingerprinting.
  • Contact the embassy or consulate in advance to arrange a visit. All Finnish embassies and consulates are listed on the website of Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
  • If there is no Finnish diplomatic mission in your country, contact a Finnish mission in another country to confirm your visit. Please note that you need to be legally in that country.
  • Your application will be processed only after you’ve visited a Finnish embassy. The estimated processing time of your application starts from the day you visit the embassy.

Residence permit applications during the COVID-19 outbreak

Non-EU/EEA students need a student residence permit. You can begin the student residence permit application online at Enterfinland.fi. Remember that you must personally visit a Finnish embassy or consulate as part of this process and many of them have limited opening hours due to the pandemic. Start your residence permit process as soon as possible, carefully following the immigration authorities' instructions and regulations, so that you can receive your permit in good time before your studies begin! You can find detailed information and advice on the residence permit requirements and procedures on the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) website.

Step-by-step guide for starting your immigration process during COVID-19 outbreak: 

  1. Prepare for the application by checking you have all the necessary attachments and information before you begin.  
  2. Create your user account in Enter Finland online service 
  3. Fill in the application form for student residence permit carefully and accurately. Also attach all the required documents. This will help the Immigration service when they will process your application later. 
  4. Book a time for identification as soon as possible. You can find a list of Finland’s embassies and other missions online. 
  5. Pay and submit your application 
  6. Visit the selected authority to identify yourself 
  7. Follow the processing of your application 

Residence permits, EU registrations, citizenship: Find all the information you need and apply at EnterFinland.

Im­port­ant to re­mem­ber

Start preparing your application immediately after receiving your acceptance letter. The entire process may take several weeks. The application process is longer if you submit an incomplete application, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Check out more information at MIGRI's Studying in Finland page.

MIGRI processes all residence permit applications based on studying as urgent. To follow the progress of your application, log on to your electronic account. You can also find updates on processing times at MIGRI. Please note that telephone or e-mail inquiries will not make the process faster.

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’s not possible to expedite the delivery of the card or collect the card from Finland. All students must wait for the residence permit card before coming to Finland. You cannot come to Finland without the residence permit card.

Airline tickets should not be acquired in advance since the decision might not be ready before your flight to Finland.

How to pre­pare a per­fect ap­plic­a­tion?

Open an electronic account at MIGRI's Online Service EnterFinland. Log on to your account and carefully fill in the application form for studies. Make sure to 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 following compulsory 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.

 
Acceptance letter from the University of Helsinki

If your application is approved, the residence permit is valid for two years, unless you apply for a shorter period. However, the residence permit is only valid for the duration of your studies, if your studies take less than two years.

  • If your acceptance letter was sent to you by e-mail from the university, include it in your application.

Health insurance

  • If your studies in Finland last 2 years or more: your insurance must cover medical expenses up to at least 40,000 euros.
    • After arriving in Finland, apply for a home municipality at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency to be eligible for public health care.
  • If your studies last less than 2 years: your insurance must cover both sickness and accident related medical expenses up to at least 120,000 euros.
  • Your insurance must be valid throughout your entire stay in Finland. Take out insurance minimum for a year if you plan to study in Finland for at least a year. Make sure that there are no restrictions to the number of days within the period of validity. Travel insurances are often valid for a maximum of 90 days per trip and are not acceptable.
  • It is recommended to get an insurance from an international insurance company. This will speed up the processing of your residence permit application.

Acquire an insurance document which indicates the following information

  • Your personal details
  • Period of validity of insurance
  • Geographical area in which your insurance is valid
  • Insurance coverage
  • Insured amounts
  • Amount of deductible, or a mention that there is no deductible
  • Don’t terminate your insurance! Otherwise you will be responsible for the costs yourself.

Sufficient funds

  • You must have 13,440 € for two years (=560 €/month) as a bank deposit or as a scholarship or grant. If you only want the residence permit for one year at a time, you must have 6,720 €.
  • A bank statement from your own bank account: Make sure the statement indicates you as the account owner. A shared account or a written guarantee of sponsorship from a private person is not accepted.
  • A certificate of a scholarship granted by a state, an organisation or an educational institution. The certificate must indicate the recipient, amount and duration of the scholarship. A bank statement is not necessary if the scholarship fully covers the requirements.

Tuition fees

  • You have to pay your tuition fee before arriving in Finland, please attach documentation of the paid fee.
  • If you have been exempted from paying tuition fees, partially or entirely, or received a scholarship, you have to present a certificate from the educational institution of this.

A passport and a passport photo

  • Make sure your passport is valid throughout the time you plan to stay in Finland.
  • The passport photo should comply with the photo guidelines issued by the police (pdf) or you should have photograph retrieval code from a photo shop

If you are under 18 years of age

  • Attach a written consent for moving to Finland from both your guardians to your application.

Please also see the MIGRI's checklist for degree students applying for their first residence permit:

If you need more information, please contact MIGRI.

Per­sonal iden­tity code

When applying for your first residence permit, please ask to be registered in the Finnish Population Information System. This way you can receive a Finnish personal identity code at the same time as you are issued with the permit. The personal identity code is compulsory to have in case your stay lasts at least three months (obliged by the University of Helsinki). The code is issued only to those who receive a positive decision on their application.

If you cannot be registered in the Population Information System when you are issued with your residence permit, apply for one when you ask to be registered at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency after you have arrived in Finland.

Once you have the personal identity code, please visit the Student Services to have your code updated in the student register. Please bring with you an official document proving your code and your official ID.

Ex­tend­ing your res­id­ence per­mit

Remember to submit your application for an extended residence permit before your current permit expires, but at the earliest three months before your permit expires. Extensions can only be applied in Finland, not abroad. Please note that in order to be granted an extension to your residence permit, you will have to complete a minimum of 45 credits during the academic year.

Please see also the detailed instructions in MIGRI's checklist for students applying for an extended permit.

Application process

It is recommended to apply for a residence permit extension electronically by submitting an application at MIGRI's Online Service EnterFinland. Your application will become pending from the moment you send in the application via EnterFinland. If you have applied for an extended permit through the EnterFinland service, you do not necessarily have to prove your identity and give your fingerprints at MIGRI's service point. When you have submitted your application using EnterFinland, the service will inform you of whether you need to visit a service point.

Make sure that you have submitted your application and have all the necessary attachments either in the application online or with you as originals when you visit the service point. The passport photo cannot be older than six months. The processing of your application may take significantly longer if your application is incomplete. If you cannot make it to your appointment, please remember to cancel it.

45 credits rule

In order to prove that you have completed at least 45 credits during the academic year, attach a transcript of records to your application. It is a good idea to apply for the extension only after the sufficient amount of credits have been registered in Sisu. If for some reason you did not complete 45 credits during the academic year, please attach a clarification to your application to explain why this is. We also recommend getting a clarification letter from your education coordinator to support your application. If you have not earned enough credits because you are in the process of writing your thesis, please obtain a clarification letter from your thesis supervisor to support your application.

Tuition fees

If you are liable to pay tuition fees, please attach documentation of the paid fee to your application. If you have been exempted from paying tuition fees or you received a scholarship, attach a certificate of this to your application.

 

NB! If you are forced to apply for your next residence permit abroad instead of Finland, you will need to arrange a personal visit to a Finnish embassy for identification. Your application will then be handled as a first residence permit and the processing fee will be charged accordingly. The fee for a first residence permit application is higher than the fee for a residence permit extension application.

 

Changes in your residence permit

If you are liable to pay tuition fees and your residence permit type changes, check StudyInfo to see whether your new residence permit exempts you from paying tuition fees.

If you are no longer liable to pay tuition fees due to the change in your residence permit type, send a message to tuitionfees@helsinki.fi as soon as possible. In order to be exempted from paying the tuition fee for the upcoming autumn term or the entire academic year, your residence permit must be valid starting 1 August, and for the spring term, starting 1 January. You need to send a copy of your new residence permit via encrypted message by 15 August/15 January. In case you have already paid the tuition fee for the upcoming year/term, you can ask for a reimbursement of the tuition fee by 31 August/31 January. Please note that the University withholds 300€ from the refund for administrative costs.

Additional information on residence and citizenship status changes can be found on FAQ tuition fees and scholarships.