Permits for studying in Finland


Foreign students coming to study at a Finnish educational institution usually have to apply for a residence permit, unless their duration of study is less than three months.

EU/EEA students in Finland

EU/EEA citizens coming to study in Finland do not need a residence permit. All they need to do is register their right to reside  in Finland at a Finnish police station if their stay lasts longer than three months.

The student’s right to reside in Finland is generally granted, provided the following two criteria are fulfilled:

  • The main purpose of their stay in Finland is to study at a Finnish educational institution
  • The applicant has sufficient funds for the duration of their studies

Students provide proof of funding in any way they can. Students from Nordic countries are not required to provide any proof of funding at all.

EU/EEA citizens are permitted to work while studying in Finland and do not have to obtain a special work permit to do so.

Non-EU/EEA students in Finland

Students coming from Non-EU/EEA states must obtain a residence permit  if their studies last for more than three months.

If you need to sit an entry examination before being accepted onto a course at a Finnish university, you may also require a visa beforehand. The visa will cover you for the short-stay while you complete your entry exam, after which you will probably have to return to your home country in order to apply for the residence permit.

Residence permits will generally be granted if:

  • The main purpose of the your stay is to study at an educational institution in Finland above the level of comprehensive school
  • You are studying the Finnish or Swedish language at degree level (short language courses are not usually sufficient grounds to earn a residence permit
  • You are an exchange student from a university abroad spending a maximum of one academic year studying at most Finnish higher education institutions
  • You are an exchange student participating in an approved exchange programme

Students must also be able to prove that they have sufficient funds for the entire duration of their stay. This is generally around 560€ per month or 6720€ per year, though the required amount can be reduced if your institution offers free accommodation, meals and tuition.

Students are entitled to undertake limited employment during their stay in Finland. The type of work permitted under the student’s residence permit is restricted to:

  • Practical training relevant to their study
  • Part-time employment at a maximum of 25 hours per week

However, during the Christmas and summer holidays students are allowed to work full-time with no limitations on working hours.

Health insurance valid for the duration of the student’s stay must also be provided in order to obtain a student’s residence permit.

Further reading

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