In general, a foreign citizen must carry a valid passport in order to enter Finland. Finland is a Schengen country (the link opens up in a new tab) and usually the checks at the common borders have been abolished. But under special conditions the border check can be introduced. The Schengen Area consists of EU member states (apart from the United Kingdom and Ireland) together with Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.
Nevertheless, citizens of Schengen countries must have a passport or an internationally recognised official identity card during their stay in Finland. We recommend those coming from the Schengen countries to bring a passport with them. It is absolutely necessary in case you desire to travel outside the EU from Finland, for example on study tours to Russia.
Students who are citizens of an EU country can enter Finland with their EU Identity Card. If they are planning to travel outside the EU during their stay in Finland, they need a passport.
Visa and residence permit
Please note that you should not come to Finland with a tourist visa since they cannot be extended in Finland.
Citizens of the Nordic Countries
Students coming from Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are allowed to arrive, reside, study and work without visas or residence permits in Finland and they do not need to register at the Finnish Immigration Service either.
EU citizens and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
EU citizens (the link opens up in a new tab) and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can enter Finland freely (=without visa or a residence permit). However, if they stay longer than 3 months (90 days), they must register their right of residence (the link opens up in a new tab) at the Finnish Immigration Service within three months of arrival in Finland. Please note that if you travel outside the Finnish borders, you will be able to stay again for 3 months (90 days) in Finland without registration. In this case, please remember to save all your travel documents.
You can fill the application online. However, you will still need to visit a Migri office within three months of submitting your application to verify your identity and to show the original documents. Please note that Migri offices can get busy, so please book an appointment well in advance. You can also reach Migri by phone or email. Joensuu does not have a Migri office, the closest office is in Kuopio.
Please note, that the processing of an application is subject to a fee. Also be sure you have all the attachments and information needed to process the application. If any the documents are not in Finnish, Swedish or English, you must have them translated into one of these languages by an authorized translator. Please take all the original documents with you to the Migri office.
Non-EU/non-EEA citizens (from countries located in Africa, Asia, Australia, North America and South America) intending to enter Finland for more than 3 months (90 days) must apply for a residence permit for studying before their arrival in Finland. The residence permits in Finland are issued by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri). It is recommended that students fill the application online (Enter Finland). It is possible to apply for a study-based continuous residence permit (type A) for the entire duration of the studies.
Sufficient funds and tuition fee
If your studies take one year or longer, you must have EUR 6,720 in your bank account when you submit the application. If there is a tuition fee for your studies but you have not paid the tuition fee when applying the residence permit, you must also show evidence of sufficient funds to both pay the tuition fee and support yourself.
If you have been awarded a grant or scholarship (e.g. Finland Scholarship or Erasmus Mundus Scholarship) to cover your living costs in Finland, add proof of this grant or scholarship to your application. The money will be counted towards the income requirement.
At UEF: the tuition waiver / scholarship information is in the acceptance letter.
For more info: Finnish Immigration Service
You can submit your application online as soon as you have received your Certificate of Admission from the university. Applying electronically is the fastest and cheapest way to get a decision on your residence permit. You can also submit the application to a Finnish Embassy in your home country. If there is no Finnish Embassy or Consulate in your home country, you should contact the Finnish Embassy nearest to your home country. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland keeps a list of Finnish Embassies and consulates around the world.
The students need to
1) apply for the residence permit (online) and 2) make the arrangements for the compulsory visit to a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) office within three months of submitting the application to verify their identity. The embassy or consulate can get busy, so please book an appointment well in advance.
There might not be a Finnish mission in the country of your legal residence, thus you might have to visit another country. UEF recommends to start the residence permit application process as soon as possible.
What is required for the application?
- a valid passport
- a valid health insurance to cover the costs of medical treatment
- a letter of acceptance from the university
- sufficient funds for living in Finland
- if applicable, a clarification on tuition fee or scholarship
The Finnish Embassy will submit your residence permit application to the Finnish Immigration Service for a decision. Depending on the country you are coming from, it can take approximately 1–3 months to get a residence permit. Do not acquire airline tickets before the residence permit has been granted to you. It cannot be guaranteed that the residence permit decision will be ready before your flight to Finland, especially if your application is incomplete or submitted late.
Please apply for the Finnish Personal Identity Code at the same time with your residence permit!
Foreign citizens from all countries, who intend to stay in Finland for a year or longer, must also register at the the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. Please read more below “Registration of a foreigner in Finland – Digital and Population Data Services Agency (DVV)”
If you need to apply for an extension to your residence permit, please read the instructions Finnish Immigration Service – Extended permit. Apply for an extended permit about three months before your residence permit expires and please note that you can only apply for an extension of residence permit while in Finland.
Embassies and Consulates
A list of Finnish Embassies and consulates around the world can be found Embassies, consulates general and honorary consulates by country
You may want to contact the Embassy or Consulate of your home country while in Finland. Contact details can be found on Representation of foreign states in Finland or in the nearest country to Finland.
Sufficient funds: https://migri.fi/en/income-requirement-for-students
Enter Finland online form: https://enterfinland.fi/eServices/info/studypermit
In the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (former Register Office) you can
- do the Registration of a Foreigner
- apply for the Finnish Personal Identity Code
- Apply for Municipality of Residence
- submit the Notification of Move
Registration of a foreigner in Finland and the Finnish personal identity code
All UEF students should have a Finnish personal identity code (the link opens up in a new tab) so if you don’t have it already, please visit the Digital and Population Data Services Agency to receive it. The Finnish personal identity code differentiates you from everyone else in the country and makes it much easier to do business in such places as banks, hospitals and the registration offices of different authorities.
Registration of foreigners (the link opens up in a new tab) always requires a visit at a Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s service location. Please, book an appointment (the link opens up in a new tab) by using the online service and request to be registered in the Finnish Population Information System and to receive a Finnish Personal Code. You can also reach the DVV by phone or secure email. The information that is registered is used for various purposes, such as for elections, taxation, health care, judicial administration and statistical purposes.
When you visit the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, you will need to bring a valid passport or other identification, UEF study certificate, as well as a possible certificate of marriage and birth certificates of any children moving to Finland with you. Also bring your residence permit if you have one.
After you receive the identity code, please inform the Student and Learning Services about it personally or by email. Never send your Finnish personal identity code via open email, but ask Student and Learning Services how to send encrypted email.
If you are a non-EU citizen and you stay in Finland for longer than a year, please visit the Digital and Population Data Services Agency for getting the Municipality of Residence. It entitles you to use some of the local services, for example the public health care.
Citizens of the Nordic countries do not need residence permits, but if they stay in Finland for more than six months, they are advised to register at a Digital and Population Data Services Agency.
Municipality of Residence
Read about Municipality of Residence at the DVV’s site
Notification of Move
If you are staying in Finland for longer than three months, you are required to fill out a Notification of Move form. You can fill out the form when you visit the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s service location or online. Alternatively, you can fill out the form at any post office. If you need help with filling the form out, please ask for instructions at the International Mobility Services.