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 at the nearest Finnish Embassy or Consulate before their arrival to Finland and with the admission documents provided by the university.
In order to have a residence permit granted, non-EU/non-EEA citizens must demonstrate that their livelihood is secured either with a deposit in your own bank account or with an official scholarship or grant. To pay for your accommodation, food and other expenses, the Finnish Immigration Services requires that you have a minimum of EUR 560 for each month that you intend to stay in Finland (i.e. EUR 6720 for a one-year residence permit). A written guarantee of sponsorship from a private person such as family member, friend or employer is not accepted. In addition, non-EU/non-EEA citizens must have a valid health insurance to cover the costs of medical treatment.
For more info: Finnish Immigration Service
You 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.
Although the residence permit application can be submitted online, you still need to visit a Finnish Embassy or Consulate to verify your identity and to present the original documents. You will also be fingerprinted for a biometric residence permit card. Your application cannot be processed until you have visited the Embassy. 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.A processing fee (depending on how you submitted your application i.e. online or on paper) will be collected at the Embassy when you submit your application. The fee will not be refunded even in the event of a negative decision. Read more on the process of applying for a residence permit.
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.
Finland has introduced tuition fees in 2017. If tuition fees apply for your studies, and you have paid the fees before coming to Finland, attach documentation of the paid fees to the residence permit application. If you are paying the tuition fees after arriving to Finland, attach documentation of means to pay for them. Or if you have received a waiver for the tuition fees, attach the documentation on this. Read more on tuition fees.
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.
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.
International students are allowed to work in Finland without a work permit for an average of 25 hours per week during academic semesters and full-time during holidays. Additional information about work permits.