Living in Finland




Coming to study in Finland

Exchange students

You can come to Finland as an exchange student. Your studies in Finland will usually last from six months to a year. You can become an exchange student through various programmes. For example, Erasmus, Nordplus, FIRST and Fulbright offer exchange positions. You can also seek an exchange position independently.

If you would like to study as an exchange student in Finland, contact the international affairs department of your school or your student office.

Checklist for new students

When coming to Finland for studies, ensure that you have all of the following:

  • Residence permit
  • Insurance
  • Money
  • Student position
  • Housing

Applying for a degree programme

On the Infopankki page Applying for education and training, you can find information on how to apply for studies leading to a degree in a Finnish upper secondary school, vocational school or higher education.

Read more on studying at a university of applied sciences on the Infopankki page University of Applied Sciences. Find out more about stydying at a university on the Infopankki page Universities.

linkkiCity of Helsinki:
Welcome GuideEnglish

linkkiStudy in Finland:
Information for foreign studentsEnglish

Student’s residence permit

If you are a citizen of a Nordic country, EU member state, EEA member state or Switzerland and you come to study in Finland, you do not need a residence permit.

If you are a citizen of another country, you will need a residence permit for studies.

If your studies in Finland continue for less than three months, you do not need a residence permit. However, you may require a visa.

If you are studying abroad and you want to come to Finland for practical training, you will need to apply for a residence permit on the basis of the training.

Read more on the Infopankki page Moving to Finland.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Information about a student's residence permitFinnish | Swedish | English

Student’s residence-permit extension

The residence permit for students is always fixed-term. You will be granted a permit for the duration of your studies. However, if your studies last longer than a year, you will normally be granted a residence permit for one year at a time.

You will be granted a permit extension if the grounds for the previous permit are still valid. In addition, you must remain registered at the education institute, study full-time, and complete a sufficient amount of studies. If you have not completed enough studies, it is possible that you will not receive a permit extension.

You can find more information on applying for a permit extension on the Infopankki page Residence permit extension.

At the end of the studies

If you have completed your degree in Finland, you can receive a temporary residence permit for job application. This permit can only be granted as a permit extension to a student residence permit. You must apply for the permit before your student’s residence permit expires. You can receive a residence permit for seeking a job for up to a year.

If you find a job, you can begin working right away. However, you must apply for a new residence permit on the grounds of employment before the expiry of the residence permit you were granted for job- seeking.

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Extending your residence permitFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Residence permit for job applicationFinnish | Swedish | English

Studying in Finland

Studying for a degree in Finland is normally free of charge to the student. Only some master’s programmes are subject to a charge. You also need to pay for language courses, for example.

If you are not a citizen of a EU member state or EEA member state, or a family member of a citizen of these countries, and you come to study in Finland in August 2017 or later, you must pay a tuition for your studies. The tuition applies to higher education degrees in English both at the Bachelor’s and Master’s level.

In Finland, you can study in Finnish, Swedish and, in some cases, in English. Institutes of higher education include courses in English in some of their study programmes. However, the majority of education is provided in Finnish or Swedish.

Finland has many active student associations. They also organise activities for foreign students. In student associations, you can meet new people.

If you would like to find a job in Finland, study the Finnish or Swedish language. Even though English is sufficient in many day-to-day situations, most employers require proficiency in Finnish or Swedish. More information is available on the Infopankki page Finnish and Swedish language.

It is also important to familiarise yourself with Finnish people and working life during your studies. This will help you to make friends and find employment. Practical training (työharjoittelu), hobbies and organisations, for example, are a good way to get to know Finnish society.
Information on tuition fees 2017English

Financing your studies

Foreign students are normally not eligible for student financial aid. Therefore, you must have a plan as to how you intend to finance your studies in Finland. In order to receive a student residence permit, you must indicate that you can afford to spend 560 euros a month or 6,720 euros a year. In practice, living in Finland may cost more than that.

You can also finance your studies with a scholarship. Different organisations, foundations and institutes, among others, grant scholarships. Apply for a scholarship well in advance before you start your studies. You can ask your school, for example, where to apply for a scholarship.

If the reason for your stay in Finland is something other than studies, you may be entitled to receive Finnish student financial aid. Read more on the Infopankki page Financing your studies.

Financial aid for foreign studentsFinnish | Swedish | English


If you are a student, you can apply for rental housing that is particularly intended for students. The rent of student housing is usually cheaper than other rental housing. Student housing are leased by student housing foundations, student unions, student associations and some other foundations. Some institutes also have their own student halls. Ask from your own institute where you can apply for student housing.

You can apply for student housing as soon as you have received a study place. In the larger cities it may take several weeks or months before you receive student housing.

You can find more information on applying for housing and other housing-related issues in the Infopankki section Housing.

linkkiSuomen opiskelija-asunnot:
Student housingFinnish | English


If you are a citizen of an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or Nordic country, you have the right to work without limitations during your studentship without needing a permit. Working may give you the right to Finnish social security.

If you are a citizen of another country, your residence permit for studies provides you with the right to work with certain limitations, if the work:

  • consists of practical training included in the studies, or a final project
  • is part-time work, no more than an average of 25 hours per week during the term
  • is full-time work during the time when there is no teaching at your educational establishment, usually during summer and Christmas holidays.

You can find information on finding a job in Finland on the Infopankki page Where to find work?

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Student's right to workFinnish | Swedish | English


If you come from another Nordic country to study in Finland, you are entitled to health care here. You will receive care under the same terms and pay the same amount for the services as Finns do. Bring along an official identity card when using health services.

If you come to study in Finland from an EU member state, EEA member state or Switzerland, you are entitled to essential health care, for which you need a European Health Insurance Card. You must obtain a European Health Insurance Card from your country of residence before coming to Finland.

If you come to study in Finland from some other country, you will usually need a comprehensive health insurance policy before you can get a residence permit for Finland. If your studies in Finland take less than two years, the insurance must cover health care expenses up to at least €100,000. If the estimated duration of your studies is no less than two years, you will usually be granted a municipality of residence in Finland and will thus be covered by municipal health services. However, you must also have an insurance policy that covers health care expenses up to €30,000.

The insurance policy must be effective when you arrive in Finland. Keep your insurance policy active for the entire duration of your stay in Finland. If you do not have insurance, you will have to pay doctor’s fees and hospital expenses yourself, should you fall ill. The expenses can amount to several thousands of euros.

The website of the Finnish Immigration Service provides additional information about residence permits for studies and health insurance, which you will need for the permit.

In Finland, students in higher education are covered by the student health care system. Ask for more information at your educational establishment. To find out more about student health care, go to the websites of FSHS (YTHS) and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriö).

You can find information on health services available in Finland in the Infopankki section Health.

Finnish Student Health ServiceFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiMinistry of Social Affairs and Health:
Student health careFinnish | Swedish

Social security

If you are moving to Finland temporarily, you are not entitled to Finnish social security. For example, students are considered to reside in Finland temporarily when their only reason for being in the country is studying. Working may give you a partial right to Finnish social security. Read more on the Infopankki page Finnish social security.

Social security of a person moving to FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English

Foreign degrees in Finland

If you have completed a foreign degree, you might benefit from having the degree compared to a Finnish degree, having your professional qualification recognised, acquiring a right to practice your profession or completing a competence-based qualification.

The Infopankki page Foreign degrees in Finland contains information on how you can get your degree or studies recognised in Finland.

linkkiFinnish National Board of Education:
Recognition of a degreeFinnish | Swedish | English