Are you searching for information on how to immigrate to Finland as a student? Search no more because I have good news for you. I want to show you fully-funded scholarship opportunities for you.
Finland is a popular study destination for international students looking for a high-quality education and a rewarding career after graduation.
With a continuously decreasing unemployment rate resulting from the support businesses and startups receive from the Finnish government and the increasing influx of foreign companies, Finland has proven determined to ensure everyone within its territories is economically balanced.
Like other Nordic countries, Finland’s investment in education is massive. It provides research funding and scholarships to gifted non-EU/EEA students, making it attractive to international students.
This article discusses how you can immigrate to Finland as a student on a full or partial scholarship and possibly attain permanent residency after graduation.
Why Study in Finland?
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Finland is a convenient and favorable environment for international students due to its low crime rate, friendly multicultural environment, and work-study opportunities. International students in Finland are allowed to work for a maximum of 30 hours a week, which is generous compared to the 20 hours obtainable in the US and Canada. Its world-famous startup scene, green transition, and many international companies make this even more fascinating, as students have numerous part-time work opportunities.
Besides being known as the safest country to study, Finland has consistently ranked among the top 10 most-educated countries in the world. It boasts some of the world’s best universities and universities of applied sciences, such as the University of Helsinki, Arcada University of Applied Sciences, the University of Turku, and more. Finland’s categorization of higher institutions into universities and universities of applied sciences, with the latter being more practical-oriented, makes it an ideal place for students who know exactly what they want from their school of study.
Another reason Finland is a wonderful place for international students is that it makes it easy for students to stay back after graduation. Once you’ve graduated, you can apply for a two-year post-study residence permit to stay in Finland. And if you have a four-year continuous residence permit, you can apply for permanent residence in the land of happiness.
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What Do You Need to Study in Finland?
Only EU/EEA nationals can enter Finland without a visa, both for studies and other purposes. However, for an international student from a non-EU/EEA region, you need a short-term visa if your study in Finland is less than three months or a residence permit if you’re staying beyond three months.
Therefore, if you’re an international student, you need to meet the following requirements to be granted access to Finland’s territories:
Have a Study Place
The major requirement to be allowed to enter Finland for study is to have a study place. You must have been accepted to study for a degree or vocational qualification at a Finnish educational institution before you can start applying for a student visa or residence permit.
Proof You Can Support Yourself in Finland
You must prove you have enough money to support yourself while staying in Finland before you can successfully immigrate as a student. This includes having money for your accommodation, food, and other needs.
For this, the Finnish government requires you to have a minimum of 6,720 euros in your bank account at the time of application. If your studies in Finland will last less than a year, you must have at least 560 euros monthly to sort out your needs.
Also, if you’ll pay your tuition fee at a later stage, the money must already be in your bank account at the time you’re applying for a student visa or residence permit in Finland.
However, if your educational institution has pledged to support your living in Finland through a scholarship or living grant, you don’t need the above-required funds to apply. You must only attach proof of the school’s proposed support in your application.
If your study in Finland exceeds three months, you need valid private health insurance to cover the costs of your medical and pharmaceutical expenses. You must attach the insurance certificate to your application to be considered for a Finland residence permit.
Again, if your university will handle this, you should have proof when submitting your application.
Before starting your application for a residence permit, you must have these important documents ready:
- A valid passport or other travel documents are accepted by Finland. This is essential, as the validity of your passport equally affects the validity of your residence permit.
- A passport photo complying with the photo guidelines issued by the Finnish police.
- A certificate of acceptance from a Finnish higher education institution
- Proof that you’re a legal resident of the country you’re submitting your application from.
- Documentation of paid tuition fee or documentation of scholarship
- Official translations of all your documents if they’re not in English, Finnish, or Swedish.
- Certificate of Insurance
- Proof of payment for the processing fee. This is 450 euros for paper applications and 350 euros for online applications.
- A legalized birth certificate if you’re under 18 years of age
- Your parents or guardians consent to your moving to Finland
Now that you know the basic things you need to study in Finland, let’s look at how you can apply for immigration.
Steps on How to Immigrate to Finland as a Student on a Full or Partial Scholarship
Finland’s immigration process is simple and straightforward. You can start and complete the application online or visit the Finnish Embassy to make an offline application. Here’s a step-by-step process you’d find helpful during your application:
1. Research Suitable Scholarships
If you’re looking to immigrate to Finland on a full or partial scholarship, the first step is to research the scholarship opportunities available in the country.
The Finnish government offers master’s and doctorate scholarships to international students through the Ministry of Education and Culture. Most scholarships cover first-year tuition plus a relocation grant of at least 5,000 euros.
The participating educational institutions also supplement the support from the government by covering the second-year tuition and more. You can also access other scholarships not linked to the Finnish government, as many schools and their alumni bodies provide such opportunities to reward gifted students.
2. Choose a Program and University
Once you find a scholarship program that meets your needs, proceed to research the institutions in Finland and the programs they offer.
Finland is home to many world-class universities and universities of applied sciences. Ensure that you choose a school and program that aligns with your academic and career goals. Also, ensure the university you choose is recognized, duly registered with the Finnish government, and offers your desired scholarship opportunities.
3. Apply for Admission and Scholarship
After you’ve chosen a suitable university program and scholarship, the next step is to apply to the institution for admission and simultaneously apply for the scholarships. Each university has its own application procedure, requirements, and deadlines. You must ensure you meet most of the requirements and that your application is detailed enough to convince them to offer you admission and a scholarship.
If the scholarship program you’re applying for is offered by a different body than the school, you must also ensure you submit your application while applying for admission to your chosen university.
Apply for a Visa or Residence Permit
If you receive admission and a scholarship, apply for a short-term visa or residence permit, depending on how long your course will last. As stated earlier, you don’t need a residence permit for less than three months, as a short-term visa will do. You’ll only need a residence permit when your course exceeds three months.
You can make your applications online using the official Finnish Immigration Service or visit the Finnish embassy or representative office in your country to make an offline, paper application.
Wait for their Decision
After you’ve submitted your application, there’s nothing more to do but wait for the decision of the Finnish immigration service. The application processing period is usually between 2 and 3 months for online applications and between 3 and 4 months for offline applications.
If your application is approved, you can prepare to travel to Finland before your academic program begins.
Top Finland Universities You Should Consider
Finland is home to some of the world’s best universities and universities of applied sciences. Here are some of the top schools you should consider for studies in Finland:
- Aalto University
- Oulu University of Applied Sciences
- University of Helsinki
- University of Oulu
- University of Vaasa
- Arcada University of Applied Sciences
- Tampere University
- Diaconia University of Applied Sciences
- University of Turku
- Hanken School of Economics
Top Scholarships in Finland for International Students
Here are some of the top scholarships available to international students in Finland:
- 1. The University of Helsinki scholarships: Offers 50% to 100% scholarships on tuition ranging from 13,000 to 18,000 euros.
- 2. University of Oulu International Scholarships: Offers 50% to 100% scholarships on tuition fees.
- 3. University of Turku Scholarships: Offers 30% to 100% tuition fee discount on bachelor’s and master’s degree programs
- 4. UNU-WIDER Visiting Ph.D. Fellowship for International Researchers: Offers full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend of 2,000 euros.
- 5. LUT University Early Bird Scholarship for International Students: Offers a 6,000 euro discount on tuition fees for bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs.
- 6. University of Jyvaskyla Scholarships at the Faculty of Mathematics and Science: Offers a full tuition waiver and a relocation grant of 5,000 euros.
You can access many other Finnish scholarships for international students here.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Immigration to Finland as a Student on Full or Partial Scholarships
Does Finland give full scholarships to International students?
Yes, Finland offers both full and partial scholarships to international students. You can access these scholarships through the participating educational institutions. If you want to immigrate to Finland as a student, you must be on the lookout for scholarship offers.
There are full and partial scholarships for Bachelor’s, Master’s, and doctoral programs. Some schools also offer living stipends alongside scholarships to help international students settle properly for their studies.
How long can I stay in Finland after my studies?
Two years. After graduation, you can apply for a two-year post-study permit to stay in Finland for work or business. This offer is available to you within five years after graduation.
How much can I earn when I work part-time in Finland?
You can earn between 8 and 12 euros per hour for 30 hours a week while studying in Finland. However, during the weekends or holidays, you might choose to work more in any field, provided your average work hours don’t exceed 30 hours per week at the end of the year. That means your residence permit as a student can only afford you 120 hours a month or 1,560 hours a year.
If your work is within your course of study, such as internships and diploma work, the work time restriction doesn’t apply.
How much money do I need when applying for a student residence permit in Finland?
You must have a minimum of 6,720 euros in your bank account when applying for a student residence permit in Finland. However, if your course is less than one year, you must ensure you have 560 euros in your account for every month you stay in Finland.
Is there a minimum GPA requirement when applying for a Finland student visa?
The GPA requirement isn’t a direct requirement of the Finnish immigration service. It depends mainly on the requirements of the Finnish university you’re applying to.
The minimum GPA requirement for most Finnish universities is a 3.0 GPA. However, some schools accept as low as a 2.5 GPA.
My country doesn’t have a Finland Embassy; what should I do?
If your country doesn’t have a Finland Embassy, you can apply online or visit a nearby country with one.
Can I take a family member along when I want to immigrate to Finland on a student visa?
Yes, your spouse and children can immigrate to Finland with you on your student visa. They’d have to apply separately for their residence permit based on family ties. The Finnish government will most likely process your applications together, issuing you a student residence permit and a continuous residence permit for your family members.
Does the Finland student visa allow students to go to other European countries?
Yes! The Finland student visa allows holders to visit other European countries while staying in Finland. Also, most Finland universities have run exchange programs with other top-class European universities. This enables you to visit these countries without officially applying for their visas.
How can I get a permanent residency in Finland after studying?
If you live in Finland on a continuous residence permit for four years, you’ll be eligible to apply for Finnish permanent residence. The period of your studies in Finland also counts towards this time. For example, suppose you studied in Finland for two years and got a two-year post-study residence permit after. In that case, you’d be eligible to apply for Finnish permanent residence at the end of the two-year post-study residence permit.
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To immigrate to Finland as a student on a full or partial scholarship is a lifetime opportunity. You can’t afford to take it for granted. Besides giving you access to a high-quality education, it also presents an opportunity for a rewarding career. By extension, you might get permanent residence in the country later on.
Hopefully, this article has given you the information you need for successful immigration to Finland on a full or partial scholarship.