Do I need a Visa?

A visa might be needed if a student coming from a non-EU country has to participate in an entrance exam in Finland prior to being accepted at the educational institution and if he or she is a citizen of a country that has not signed an agreement on the abolition of visa with Finland. Visa allows the student only for a short stay in Finland (maximum three months). Thus the student must usually return to his/her home country after the entrance examination in order to apply for the actual residence permit.

Please note that the University of Vaasa does not arrange entrance examinations for the international Master’s degree programmes or doctoral studies. Thus the students do not need to apply for a visa. In order to study in Finland for more than three months, the students might need a residence permit.

For up-to-date information on visa matters, please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland’s website or Finnish Immigration Service website.

Do I need a residence permit?

Every foreign person staying in Finland for more than three months needs to either have a residence permit, register at the local police station, or register at a Register Office. Please note that without a valid registration / residence permit, the person won’t be allowed to enter Finland again if s/he has left the country and s/he might have problems with authorities also in Finland. For up-to-date information on residence permits, please visit the Finnish Immigration Service website.

1) Citizens of the Nordic countries
– may arrive, reside, study and work in Finland without visas, residence permits or work permits. Citizens of the Nordic countries must register their right to reside in Finland at a Register Office (‘Maistraatti’) if their stay in Finland exceeds six (6) months.

2) EU/ European Economic Area (EEA) citizens
– do not need to apply for a residence permit. However, EU/EEA citizens must register their right to reside in Finland at the local police station if their stay in Finland exceeds 90 days. For the registration, international students must

  • have a valid passport
  • have three passport sized photos
  • show a Letter of Acceptance from a Finnish university (in this case from the University of Vaasa)
  • have a certificate of financing the studies in Finland
  • pay the application fee

As from 1 January 2012, the Finnish Immigration Service and the Finnish police
introduced an e-service for the purpose of handling foreigners' permit and license matters. Among other features, the e-service enables customers to submit an application and to follow the progress of its processing.

At first the e-service will be available only to students who are applying for their first residence permit. The rest of the electronic application forms and extension application forms will be added gradually. In addition, the service will include selected application forms relating to Finnish citizenship, registration of EU citizens' right of residence, and residence cards for the family members of EU citizens.

You may access the e-service via the websites of the Finnish Immigration Service or the Finnish police.

3) Citizens of all the other countries
All the students coming from outside the EU/EEA countries must have a residence permit. The residence permit has to be obtained from the Finnish Embassy or Consulate in home country before arrival in Finland. We strongly advise you to contact the Embassy as soon as possible because it will take about 1–3 months to get the permit depending on the country you are coming from. If you live abroad, the application should be addressed to the Finnish diplomatic mission in your country of residence. A residence permit can also be granted in any other country where you are staying legitimately, if this is considered reasonable.