Visas and residence permits
In general, a foreign citizen must carry a valid passport in order to enter Finland. Since the Schengen Agreement (March 2001) has been applied in Finland, checks at the common borders (including flights from the Schengen countries) have been abolished. The Schengen Area consists of member states of the European Union (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 sincerely 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.
Visa and residence permit
Once you have received the Certificate of Admission, together with relevant information, please contact the Embassy of Finland in your home country in order to find out if a visa or residence permit is required.
EU citizens and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can enter the country freely, but they must register their right to reside in Finland if staying for more than three months. The registration costs about 50 €. More information can be found on the web page of the Finnish Immigration Service. Please note that students who are citizens of an EU country can enter Finland with their EU Identity Card, but if they are planning to travel outside the EU (e.g. to Russia) during their stay in Finland, they will need a passport.
Non-EU/EEA citizens entering Finland must apply for a residence permit for studying at the nearest Finnish Embassy or Consulate with the admission documents provided by the university. Non-EU/EEA citizens must also demonstrate that their own funds or scholarship will cover their living expenses in Finland. Non-EU/EEA students who have been accepted into an institution of higher education and who will financially support their own studies must demonstrate that they have the sum of money stipulated by the Finnish Directorate of Immigration (at the time of writing about 6720 euros per year or 560 euros a month) available for transfer with no conditions limiting the use of the funds/account. More information and details of the rules and regulations are available from the Embassy of Finland of home country and on the Finnish Immigration Service webpages.
It is possible to apply for the Finnish personal identity code when applying for a residence permit. We recommend that the students should do this.
Please note that tourist visas cannot be extended in Finland.
Registration of a foreigner in Finland
Foreign citizens who intend to stay or work in Finland for at least one year must register at the local register office. A Finnish home municipality is registered for foreigners who have moved to Finland if they intend to stay here permanently or if they have a residence permit for at least one year. 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 local register office. The information that is registered is used for various purposes, such as for elections, taxation, health care, judicial administration and statistical purposes.
In order to register, report to the local register office (Maistraatti). The Maistraatti in Joensuu is located at Torikatu 36 (tel. 071 8750231). In Kuopio, the Maistraatti is situated at Puistokatu 29 (tel. 071 8750211). Bring your passport and a valid residence permit. Other documents needed when registering include a possible certificate of marriage and birth certificates of any children moving with you. Fill in and sign the form entitled "Registration information on a Foreigner", which you will get at the local register office. Make an official Notice of Moving every time you move, also if you move out of Finland.
On the basis of registration, each foreigner will be assigned the Finnish personal identity code if he has not got one yet. The personal identity code is used for identification purposes, needed in such places as banks, hospitals and the registration offices of different authorities. You can obtain your personal identity code from the local register office in about one week after you register. Foreigners residing in Finland for a short time only may also obtain a personal identity number if they need it for work, for example. However, no home municipality is registered for them in Finland and therefore, they do not necessarily have the same rights as foreigners who reside in Finland permanently.
According to international agreements, international students are allowed to work in Finland without a work permit for a maximum of 20 hours per week during academic semesters and full-time during holidays. Foreigners must have work permits if they intend to engage in gainful employment while in Finland. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. Citizens of the Nordic countries, i.e. Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, or citizens of the EU/EEA countries do not need a work permit. Additional information about work permits and applications is available on the web pages of the Finnish Immigration Service.
Please note that finding a job in Finland is very difficult. Therefore you should not count on financing your studies by working.