As of April 2022 the applications for a student’s residence permit to Finland are done either on the paper (found as a PDF file in migri.fi), or electronically through another official website – enterfinland.fi. Let me guide you how to apply for ‘student visa in Finland’.
While some choose to remain confident with paper applications; electronic applications have become more popular, convenient, and low-cost. You just need to apply and upload documents before you book time at the embassy, or the service point to verify your identity and provide the biometric data. The application fees for the paper application and electronic application are 450 euros and 350 euros respectively.
In both cases, you need to book an appointment with the embassy or the service point. If you have not paid the residence permit feed electronically using the debit or credit cards, you will need to pay the fees during your visit to the service point or the embassy (mostly depositing the amounts in their bank accounts beforehand). When you visit there for the fingerprints, identity control, and other biometrics, you also need to submit the payment slip as proof of fees paid. You also need to provide original documents that you had uploaded in enterfinland.fi and a passport photo. Most students might even need to face an interview on the same day of the appointment.
Pragmatic Suggestions for Residence Permit Applications for Studies in Finland
- Try to get some scholarships or discounts on the tuition fees. Otherwise, tuition fees and living costs together in Finland could be a perpetual issue during your studies.
- As of April 2022, you need to assure the immigration authorities that you can provide 6720 euros annually for yourself as living costs, on top of your tuition fees.
- Assurance to the living cost is best with the availability of the required amount in your own bank account.
- The Source of the income that has been transferred to your bank account has to be documented clearly. It means that the income documentation should go to the proper transaction level, with tax paid. Sometimes, the transitional transactions should also be clear – for example bank statements that show bank transfers, etc. This is however not always practical because the bank transactions could be much older than 6 months.
- It is wise to email the embassy/service point for the detailed documentation requirements. They might have some suggestions – specific to the country where they have been operating.
- Don’t be sluggish in uploading documents. You need to book an appointment (mostly via e-mail) for the biometrics as soon as you feel confident with all the uploads. The long waiting period from the date you ask for an appointment to the date you actually get it could make you drain out your entire energy.
- Many students might need to face an interview the day they provide biometrics data.
- Remember that the processing time for paper applications is 2 – 3 months and that for electronic applications is 1 – 2 months (as of September 2021).
- If you feel that you need to submit additional documents, you can do it even after biometrics are taken. If needed, you will be asked for more documentation even after the interview. More documents in electronic applications are again uploaded through enterfinland.fi.
Required Documents while Applying for a Residence Permit for Studies in Finland
- Proof of payment of application fees
- Valid Passport – passport must ideally be valid throughout the period of residence permit.
- Means of Support – ideally your bank account (mostly 6 months statement) with a minimum balance of 6720 euros.
- Passport photo complying with the photo guidelines issued by the police in Finland
- Color copies of all the used pages (the identification page should be the foremost) of the passport
- Document showing that you are legally staying in the country where you submit the application – For example, if Bangladeshi students are applying through the embassy in India, they also need a visa for India.
- Letter of Acceptance
- Proof of paid fees (mostly payment of fees of the first semester) – Many international students from developing countries pay the tuition fees through the banks in their home country. Some other students ask their relatives/friends living abroad to pay the fees. If you have scholarships, you can provide the documentation.
- Clarification of income – The proper source of the support money transacted to your bank account. This can be of various forms. Regarding the documentation, ask the embassy through which you will apply. It is not a wise decision to ask somebody who does not have any credibility guarantee after saying anything to you.
- Earlier degree transcripts and certificates
- Health Insurance – We recommend you to use our partner SwissCare. The process of buying health insurance is hassle-free. All you need to do is fill up the form and make the payment online. Many students from Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and other developing countries have been verifying about SwissCare through their relatives abroad. Almost everybody who visits us has been buying health insurance from SwissCare when it comes to having proper health insurance in the country of study destination. Swisscare is also used to buy travel and medical insurance for Schengen Visa. Remember, it is a perfect place to buy health insurance for the period you will be studying in Finland.
- If you are a minor, your birth certificate and parental consent form as mentioned in migri.fi.
- If any of your documents are not in Finnish, Swedish, or English, you need to translate and legalize the translation as per the requirements mentioned in migri.fi. However, the institutions in many countries have now begun to issue certificates in English.
Means of Support / Financial Documents while Applying for Residence Permit to Study in Finland
Many students have been asking the same question- What financial documents can I ‘make’ when I apply for Residence Permit to study in Finland? Well, by their words, the approaches of asking the question, and taking the documentation process are apparently wrong.
For example- the usage of the word ‘making’ sounds wierd, and more mechanical. You should have documents already with you. Or, you should work together with authorities like banks, local governments, land revenue offices, company registrar offices, workplaces, inland revenue department offices, and so on, for collecting documents that may support the evidence that you or your sponsor(s) have enough source of income or bank balance to support your tuition fees and living costs.
Your sponsors are expected to be your closest family member. You can support yourself. You might have won the scholarship. These are the 3 main approaches to financial documentation.
Based on my circle’s experience, I am going to tell you our key takeaways. Given that you do not have a scholarship, if your sponsors or yourself can not have enough bank balance (that covers at least one year of living costs and tuition fees) closer to your Residence Permit application date, it may not be of use to applying for RP as a student in Finland. Even if you have that amount of money, that amount should have come as the proper income of your sponsor or yourself. Documentations have to be presented that prove the legitimate income and tax clearance against the same. Income can be from salaried work, business, house-rent, land-lease, selling the property, pension, agriculture, and/or animal husbandry.
Please read this document for a general idea of arranging documents for proving your and/or sponsor’s financial side. Since we got this document in 2021, we suggest you try getting the updated list of recommended documents from the embassy or service center. You may want to simply email them for getting such list of documents.
Students from the EU / EEA
This article focused primarily on the concerns of students outside the EU. Students from the Nordic countries just need to register themselves at the local population register – done! Students from the EU countries need to apply for the right of residence if they have a study purpose, can afford and are staying for more than 90 days in Finland.
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