student visa
A guide to obtaining a student visa for Finland. Source: Julius Jansson/Unsplash

Stealing the top spot in the World Happiness Report 2019, Finland has proved itself to be an incredibly joyful country for the third year in a row.

Ranking 156 countries by the happiness of their citizens, according to their personal evaluations, Finland proves itself to be a leading candidate for international education seekers.

“Over the seven years of World Happiness Reports, there has been a steady increase in the level and sophistication of reader interest. At first, readers mainly wanted to see how countries ranked. Now we see ever-increasing interest in using the happiness lens to help understand what makes for happier homes, schools, workplaces and communities, and to use these findings to help make lives better everywhere,” says Co-editor John Helliwell.

And with the capital city of Helsinki taking first place in the Cities for the Best Work-Life Balance 2019 ranking by Kisi, Finland is one of the finest places to live, study and enjoy.

student visa

With scenic spots and delectable Finnish dishes, it’s no shock that many international students are hoping to secure a student visa for Finland. Source: Anders Wideskott/Unsplash

Securing a student visa for Finland

If you’re considering applying for a course at a Finnish university, it’s advised that you first find out about the student visa process for international students.

As states: “For studies in Finland that take longer than three months (90 days), a non-EU/EEA citizen must apply for a student residence permit before arrival. Citizens of the EU/EEA countries are not required to acquire a residence permit, however, they need to register their residence in Finland.”

So, once you have received a study placement at a Finnish educational institution, you may need to apply for a student residence permit or a short-term visa.

For EU citizens

“If you are a citizen of an EU Member State, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you do not need a residence permit for Finland. If you stay for longer than three months, you need to register your right of residence,” the Finnish Immigration Service (FIS) notes.

Providing a step-by-step process, FIS recommends that you visit the European Union application page to check you have all the necessary documents for your upcoming study venture.

For citizens outside the EU

In most cases, soon-to-be students must apply for a residence permit for when they plan on moving to Finland.

“Finnish missions (embassies or consulates) make independent decisions on issuing visas. If you are a citizen of a visa-free country, you may study for a maximum of 90 days without a visa or a residence permit.

“You must submit a mobility notification to Finland, if you have a residence permit for studies in another EU country and if you are covered by a Union or multilateral programme that comprises mobility measures or by an agreement between two or more higher education institutions,” adds the FIS.

You can find the residence permit application form for studies here.

You can also take care of almost all permit matters with the Finnish Immigration Service using their e-service, Enter Finland.

Allowing you to track the progress of your application in your personal user account, the service will notify you with any changes to your approval status.

And if you’re confused about which application form you should use, check out the handy Application Finder or watch this video for further instruction.

Remember, you can apply for a residence permit for studying when you have received a study place in a Finnish education institution, and your studies must lead to a degree or a vocational qualification (occupation).

Answering popular student FAQs on their website, the FIS also provides valuable feedback for a range of queries.

So, once you’ve mastered the student visa application, it might be time to master a few Finnish phrases before heading off to university!

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