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Excerpted from the Finland Career Guide


Finland is a member of the Schengen Convention whose purpose is to eliminate controls at common borders and promote free movement of people within the Schengen area. The countries covered under the Schengen Agreement include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The Schengen Convention facilitates the free movement of persons in the territory of the EU. Therefore, border checks, for example, have been abolished at internal borders of the EU area. All the old EU member states, apart from Great Britain and Ireland, have acceded to the Schengen Convention. Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are not member states of the EU, but they have made an associate agreement, on the basis of which it is possible to travel to these countries under the same conditions as when traveling to other EU countries.

Visa Types

Residence Permits

Foreign nationals need to have a residence permit to stay in Finland for 90 days or longer.

The Finnish Immigration Service grants the residence permits for workers and students. The embassy or consulate will gather and check the documents before forwarding them for further processing to the immigration service.

Student Residence Permits (Long-term Student Visas)

To study in Finland for more than three months, foreign nationals must apply for and obtain a residence permit through a Finnish diplomatic mission before leaving for Finland. The permit is applied for in the country where the student resides legally. In practice, this means the home country of the applicant.

Student (Short-term) Visas

Foreign nationals must apply for a residence permit if they plan to study in Finland for longer than three months. Those who require an entry visa are requested to apply for one from the diplomatic mission that represents Finland in their home country.

Schengen (Short-term) Visas

Schengen Visas can be issued when the purpose of the visit is leisure or business. Upon the issuance of the visa, the visa holder is allowed to enter all member countries and travel freely throughout the Schengen area. A Schengen Visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a six-month (180 days) period from the entry date into the Schengen area. The time limit relates to the combined residence in the entire Schengen area, not just in one state. Each Schengen state has decided which travel documents citizens of different third countries have to present upon entering the country.

Work Permits

Citizens of the vast majority of EU/EEA member states do not need any special permit in order to undertake paid employment in Finland, although citizens of newer members of the EU (generally states that joined in 2004 onwards) must register with an employment office. If the duration of employment is longer than three months, EEU/EEA citizens need only register their right to reside in Finland at their local police station. This does not mean they require a special residence or work permit. The right to reside in Finland is valid until further notice. After four years of continuous residence in Finland, the employee is entitled to apply for permanent right of residence.


Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland


This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Finland Guide.

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