Finland: Number of Int’l Students Applying for Visas Threefolded This Year, Compared to 2020

The Finnish Immigration Service has revealed that the number of study-related permit applications has been three times higher than the previous year.

A threefold increase was reported in applications for residence permits from international students throughout this year, the Finnish Immigration Service revealed.

According to a press release issued by the organisation, since January, 4,233 students from countries outside the EU have applied for a study-related residence permit, 2,477 more than in the corresponding period of the last year, when 1,756 applications were submitted.  Most students apply for the residence permit during the summer months, after they secure a study place in Finnish education institutions, reports.

Furthermore, even for this year, the highest number of applications came from Russia – a total of 899 – and 504 from China.

It is important to point out that due to the COVID-19 ongoing pandemic, the number of applicants has dropped drastically in the last two years.

“All over the world, the coronavirus situation still affects the possibilities of our customers to travel or visit Finnish missions. As Finnish missions are reopening their operations, their queues are longer than normally,” the Section’s Chief, Anu Tarén, noted.

Moreover, the organisation admits that the majority of applications are approved, about 93 per cent of them, accounting for 3,870 study residence permits being issued during the first eight months of this year. However, the organisation reveals that the rest of the applicants received a negative response mostly due to financial-related issues.

“Most student applicants have received a positive decision. The reason for negative decisions is usually the student having difficulties related to financial resources,” Tarén said.

Students who come from non-EU countries to study and, for that matter, live in Finland must have sufficient funds to afford medical and other expenses, as they are not eligible for financial aid in the country.

Nonetheless, the Immigration Service intends to cut the time needed for processing every application to a maximum of one month until 2023. The average processing time for the first residence permit for studies throughout this year was 12 days, meaning that half of the applications’ decisions were issued in 12 days or less.

Welcoming international students in the country is also convenient for Finland, as the government previously proposed introducing a long-term nation D visa in a bid to promote labour migration. Specialists of respective fields, growth or start-up entrepreneurs and their family members would be eligible to apply for this new visa.

“The proposal is important because, for its part, it will facilitate labour migration. After necessary assessments, it will also create a foundation for extending the national D visa to cover researchers and students,” Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto said.


The proposal came after the government’s budget session held a year ago, through which the preconditions for the fast track procedures were concluded and it had to be examined. The fast-track service includes specialists, growth entrepreneurs and their family members. The Finnish government had noted that such a fast track would be ready in June 2022.

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