Residence permit for exchange and visiting students

The instruction belongs to the following themes

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You must apply for a residence permit if you are not a citizen of EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and you plan to study in Finland for longer than 90 days.

Cit­izen­ship

Are you a citizen of EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland?

  • If your answer is ‘YES’ you do not need a residence permit or a visa. Information on EU citizens’ registrations is available at Finnish Immigration Services and on our webpage "Registration with the authorities". 
  • If your answer is ‘NO’ and you plan to study in Finland for more than 90 days, you will need a residence permit. If you plan to study in Finland for 90 days or less, you may need a visa. Information on visas is available on the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.
  • If you have been granted a residence permit on the basis of studies by some other EU Member State than Finland and if you are covered by a programme or an agreement specified in the Finnish act on residence permits for students. You can carry out part of your studies in Finland for a period up to 360 days. You must submit a mobility notification to the Finnish Immigration Service. 

What to do now?

Start preparing your application immediately after receiving your acceptance letter. The entire process may take several weeks or even months. The application process is longer if you submit an incomplete application, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully. 

Submit your application for a residence permit online at Online Service of the Finnish Immigration Services.

  • Apply for your residence permit abroad, not in Finland. 
  • Please note that if you are a BSc or MSc student, you must apply for a residence permit for study. If you are a PhD student, you must apply for a residence permit for scientific research.
  • Visit a Finnish embassy/consulate in person for identification and fingerprinting.  All Finnish embassies and consulates are listed on the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. If there is no Finnish diplomatic mission in your country, check on the finlandabroad.fi -website which embassy or consulate you need to contact.
  • Your application will be processed only after you have personally visited a Finnish mission. It is very important that you will be able to attend the orientation period so book the appointment time as soon as possible. 

Finnish Immigration Services 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 check the processing time of your application on this website. Remember that telephone or e-mail inquiries will not make the process faster.

If you need more information, please contact Finnish Immigration Services. 

Documents University of Helsinki provides for the application

 

  • You have received your stamped acceptance letter as an attachment in the Confirmation of acceptance email sent by the International Exchange Services. Include also the aforementioned Confirmation e-mail to your application.
  • If you are a PhD student, you must include a hosting agreement to your application. The agreement must be filled in and signed by your supervisor at the University of Helsinki. Please note that the start date in the agreement needs to be the day you arrive in Finland, e.g. one or two days before the orientation period.
  • You may be asked about your address in Finland. You can write "I have applied for housing as a part of my student exchange application and will receive a housing offer from HOAS or Unihome by the deadline given by the host university".

If you need more information, please contact Finnish Immigration Services.

Take note

You will need to have the required insurance before you submit your residence permit application. Insufficient insurance cover is the most common reason for not being able to get your residence permit on time. See more: https://migri.fi/en/insurance   

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.

It may be a good idea to purchase airline tickets well in time, but make sure that you are able to both change the date and return the tickets if needed. 

Per­sonal iden­tity code

The personal identity code is compulsory to have in case your stay lasts at least three months (obliged by the University of Helsinki). When you are granted a residence permit by the Finnish Immigration Service, your personal information will by law in most cases be recorded in the Population Information System. You will also be issued a personal identity code.

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