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.

Im­port­ant to re­mem­ber

You must apply for a residence permit to study. 

  • 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 the application process also requires visiting in person a Finnish embassy/consulate in your country.

You need to start the application process early

  • Start preparing your application immediately after receiving your acceptance letter. The entire process may take several weeks or months.

The application process is longer if you submit an incomplete application, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

More information about the application process on MIGRI's Studying in Finland page.

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.

You have to wait for the residence permit card to be ready before coming to Finland

If your application is approved, you will get a biometric residence permit card. The card is delivered to the Finnish embassy.

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

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

What to do first?

Step-by-step guide for starting your immigration process

  1. Prepare for the application by checking you have all the necessary attachments and information before you begin.  
  2. Create your user account in EnterFinland online service. 
  3. Fill in the application form for student residence permit carefully and accurately. Attach all the required documents.
  4. Book a time for identification at the Finnish embassy/consulate as soon as possible.
  5. Pay and submit your application. 
  6. Visit the selected authority to identify yourself. 
  7. Follow the processing of your application. 

Additional information

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

There is a new legislation regarding the residence permits for international students, starting from April 2022. Read more about the new rules on MIGRI's website.

How to pre­pare the ap­plic­a­tion?

Open an electronic account

Open an electronic account at EnterFinland. Log in 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
  • national learner ID (Check from Studyinfo)
  • your contact details
  • the date you plan to arrive in Finland. We recommend that you arrive well in advance of the Orientation Week to give you time to settle in.

Collect the compulsory appendices

Next, read the details about the compulsory appendices and collect them:

  • acceptance letter from the University of Helsinki
  • funds for living
  • health insurance
  • tuition fee
  • a passport and a passport photo
  • if you are under 18 years old: a consent from your guardians

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 when you visit the embassy.

Please also read the more specific instructions about the appendices from Migri's website.

Acceptance letter from the University of Helsinki

Include your acceptance letter in your application.

Funds for living

You must have sufficient funds for living in Finland during the entire period of validity of your residence permit. 

  • You need to have at least 560 euros per month at your disposal.
  • These funds are to pay for your accommodation, food and other needs. Please note that the living expenses in Helsinki are much higher than this (approximately 700–1000 euros per month). 

If your studies:

  • take one year or longer, you must have EUR 6,720 in your bank account when you submit the application.
  • take less than one year, you must have EUR 560 per month at your disposal.

You need as an attachment a documentation of sufficient sufficient financial resources, for example a bank statement from your own bank account from the past three months.

  • 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.

If you have 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.
Health insurance

You must take out private insurance that will cover your medical expenses. 

  • 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.

An insurance document must indicate 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.

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.

MIGRI's checklist for degree students

Please also see the MIGRI's instructions for degree students applying for their first residence permit.

If you need more information, please contact MIGRI.

Visiting a Finnish embassy/consulate

You need to visit in person a Finnish embassy/consulate in your country. This is required for you to 

  • prove your identity
  • present the original copies of the attachments required for your application
  • have your fingerprints taken

How to visit a Finnish embassy? 

  • 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.
  • Remember to take a passport photo with you. Passport photo guidelines can be found on the website of the Finnish Police.
  • Your application will be processed only after you’ve visited a Finnish embassy.

Per­sonal iden­tity code

When applying for your first residence permit, 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 if your new residence permit exempts you from paying tuition fees. For more information on exemption from tuition fees, see the instructions on Tuition fees.