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It can be confusing which country to choose for your studies abroad. You will need to learn a lot about each of the possible countries and the educational systems before making a decision.That’s why PingmeStudyAbroad, the leading Europe study visa consultants has set up a useful guide about the top study abroad destinations


Study in Finland

The Republic of Finland is a country located in Northern Europe, bordering three countries: Norway, Sweden and Russia. Finland was under Swedish rule from the 12th to the 19th century and became an autonomous grand duchy of Russia in 1809, from which it finally gained its independence in 1917.

Nowadays, Finland is a parliamentary republic, divided into 19 administrative regions. Finnish is the official language, spoken by around 90 per cent of the country’s population. Besides Finnish, Swedish also holds the status of an official language here and is spoken by roughly 5.3 percent of Finland’s inhabitants.

Watch this video by PingMe Study Abroad about Residence Permit in Finland

Despite its large area, the country’s population figures are quite low, registering only about 5.5 million inhabitants - a number comparable to Norway, for example. Population estimations project a very slight increase until the year 2020. Finland's capital and largest city, Helsinki, is estimated to be home to around 635,000 people. Despite the fact that Finland’s population has slowly grown over the last years, its fertility rate decreased in the last couple of years: In 2015, it amounted to 1.71 children per woman, compared to 1.87 children five years prior. However, life expectancy at birth in Finland showed a growth trend as well: In 2015, the state recorded the highest life expectancy in the last 10 years.

Finland is a good country to live in, and due to the country’s economic stability, Finland registered an estimated 2.76 per cent growth of GDP in 2017, after a slump in 2012. It also boasts a high employment rate and an extremely low inflation rate. The services sector accounts for roughly three-quarters of the country’s workforce, whereas the industry sector only accounts for around 22 per cent. Finland's most important trade partner for export and import is Germany.


World-Class Education

You can hardly open the news without hearing about Finland’s marvelous education system, but the country deserves its reputation. Finland repeatedly ranks in the top five for PISA scores, Finns borrow more library books than any other country in the world, and in the “latest Shanghai ranking, [the University of Helsinki was] #56.” The university is working its way to the top of the ranking and employs instructors who are also esteemed researchers, making it a smart choice for ambitious international students.


Finland University offers higher education in English

Altogether, Finnish higher education institutions offer over 400 English-taught programmes to choose from – meaning that all lectures, literature, and exams are provided in English. These full degree programmes offer an official Finnish higher education Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degree.

Job Opportunities for Students

Good news for career-minded students — most Finnish universities provide career services for international students. They’re available to lend a hand during your job search, whether you’re looking for a student job, or a full-time position for after you graduate. In Finland, it’s not uncommon to have a part-time job alongside your studies — according to Statistics Finland, 55 percent of university students reported having an employment contract while studying.If you’re interested in working part time during your term abroad, your student visa will allow you to work for up to 25 hours per week. Which leads us to our seventh and final reason why you should study abroad in Finland…

Pathways to Permanent Residency for Expats

For international students who fall in love with Finland and decide to stay post-graduation, you’ll be granted a 1-year post-study visa to cover your stay while you search for a job. Once you obtain full-time employment, you can go ahead and apply for a work- based residence permit. And work-based residence permits are a foot in the door towards permanent residency — after you’ve worked in Finland for four consecutive years, you’ll become eligible for a permanent residence permit.

A High Standard of Living 

Finland provides a high standard of living for students and families throughout the country. Not only are the Finnish education and healthcare systems top-notch, but the cost of living is manageable for most students, especially since there are plenty of student discounts for food and transportation nationwide.Work-life balance is also an important part of Finnish society. Work, study and vacation are prioritized equally, so employees and students are welcome to enjoy the fruits of their labor, kick back and relax with family and friends on their off-hours.

Good study environment with highly-qualified teachers

Universities should offer students a calm place to focus throughout their studies. Staff should be also helpful towards whatever issue students face during studies.International students seemed happy with the facilities and learning environments offered. Teachers get credit for having good English language skills and a high level of expertise. Group sizes pleased 94% of the students and the possibilities to study in a multinational group pleased 92%.

The rich diversity

If you love being outdoors, then Finland’s the place for you. You can take part in many exciting activities such as water skiing, kitesurfing on frozen lakes, check out the wolves and bears in the national park or hike in the forested hills of Lapland. During your breaks, you can head over to the country’s west coast and experience the aurora borealis, and try out the famous Finnish sauna! Or visit Suomenlinna Island, a former military sea fortress built on six islands and enjoy the stunning views of Helsinki’s coast.

Not a big outdoorsy fan? The country has a vibrant arts and music scene complete with glorious food.  Discover the history and culture in museums, cathedrals or just take a stroll down the street and feast your eyes on the iconic Scandinavian architecture evident in the buildings around you. There are also many festivals and sports events for you to go to.

Its prime location means that you can explore Eastern Europe and Scandinavia during your holidays. A visit to Norway or Sweden and even Russia is just a train ride away!

Finland is ranked #1 as the happiest country in the world

The latest UN report stated that Finland is now the happiest country in the world. The Nordic countries are in general always at the top, but Finland made a big climb this year from number 5 to number 1.

The Finnish Passport is one of the best

Finns can pride themselves on having the third-best passport in the world, just shortly behind Germany, Singapore, and Japan.

This means that they can visit most of the countries in the world without getting a visa.

Northern Lights, Midnight Sun & Polar Night

These spectacular events can all be experienced here. During the winter, you can see the Northern Lights, and also experience the Polar night in the Northern parts of the country. It’s the darkest months of the year and for several weeks the sun won’t rise.

The coldest temperature measured was -51.5 degrees Celsius

If you travel here during the winter months, make sure that you bring a warm jacket. While you probably won’t have to face the record low temperature, the average temperature in Helsinki during the winter months is still -5 degrees Celsius.

The coldest temperature measured in the country was back in 1999 in Kittilä where the temperature went all the way down to -51.5 degrees Celsius (−60.7 °F).

  1. In June and July, the sun doesn’t drop below the horizon.
  2. Finland has one of the least corrupt governments in the world. It’s been ranked among the 5 least corrupt countries in the world since 2010
  3. 7. The Finns love coffee more than anyone else

You can keep your Italian espressos; forget your Australian flat whites – when it comes to java, the Finns do it best – and the most. The average Finn consumes 12 kg of the brown stuff every year.

There are two types of higher education institutions in Finland: universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS).  University of Applied Sciences are also known as polytechnics in Finland. Doctoral programs are offered by the universities only.

There are 13 Finnish universities and they are owned by the state; their focus lies in scientific research and they offer students a more theoretical education. USA’s on the other hand, are governed by local municipalities and private entities and are centered around developing practical skills and engaging in industry development projects.

As is the case with many European countries, the Finnish higher education system uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to measure the amount of higher education credits.

Polytechnics(UAS): Polytechnics provide instruction for expert functioning in the following areas: national resources, technology and communication, business and administration, tourism, catering and institutional management, health care, and social services among others.

Universities: Universities offer bachelor’s, master’s, licentiate, and doctorates. Students generally complete a bachelor’s degree in three years and a master’s degree in five years. The purpose of universities is to promote independent research and scientific and artistic education, to provide instruction of the highest level based on research, and to raise the young to serve the fatherland and humankind.

Here is a list of universities in Finland:

Abo Akademi University, HSme Polytechnic, Helsinki Business Polytechnic, Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology, Lahti Polytechnic, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Oulu Institute of Technology, Satakunta Polytechnic, Sibelius Academy, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration (Finland), Tampere Institute of Technology, Tampere University of Technology, University of Art and Design Helsinki, University of Helsinki, University of Joensuu, University of JyvSskylS, University of Kuopio, University of Oulu, University of Tampere, University of Turku, and University of Vaasa.


Courses, Semesters, & Diplomas: One hundred twenty credits are required for a bachelor’s degree, while 160-180 credits are required for a master’s degree. It takes an additional 6.5 years to complete a master’s degree, with 4 additional years required for a doctorate. The academic year consists of two terms: the fall term running from August 1 to December 31 and the spring term running from January 1 to July 31. Christmas vacation lasts 20 days, 10 before and 10 after Christmas.


Degrees are awarded in natural sciences, humanities, industrial arts, sports sciences, theology, social sciences, business administration, psychology education, agriculture and forestry, health care, musicology, theatre, and dance. A bachelor’s thesis is required. No lower degrees in medicine, engineering, or defense are offered. There is both a lower and upper degree in law.


Professional Education: Professional education is offered in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine. The universities of Helsinki, Kuopio, Oulu, Tampere, and Turku have medical faculties. Basic medical education takes at least six years and leads to the degree of licentiate in medicine. In these fields, one first earns a practice degree or licentiate (between 200 and 250 credits) and then may continue to a doctorate that involves more course-work and the writing of a dissertation. Eighteen percent of physicians in Finland have taken the degree of doctor of medicine.

Postgraduate Training: After completing a bachelor’s degree, students may pursue a master’s degree, then a licentiate, and then a doctorate. All of the 10 multidisciplinary universities offer advanced degrees.

  • Information Technology Engineering
  • Business
  • Finance
  • Health Care
  • Education

When applying for bachelor’s programmes, you usually need to hold such school-leaving certificates that make you eligible to apply for higher education in your home country. You’ll need your upper secondary school certificates, even if you have completed some higher education studies after that.

For master’s level admissions, you need to have completed a university-level bachelor’s degree, or equivalent.

The eligibility requirements may vary from one degree programme to another, so remember to check the details with the university you are interested in. For example, if you are an eligible applicant, you may additionally be required to complete an entrance exam or an interview.

If English is not your first language, you may need to demonstrate your English proficiency level. IELTS and TOEFL are the most commonly accepted options, but many institutions also offer others. Check the English proficiency test requirements and any possible exemption rules with the university you are applying to. General IELTS requirement is an overall score of 6.0.

*The full extent of the required documents also depends on the university and/or the degree you are applying for. Thus, please check each university page individually to get more specific information about the required documents. All documents submitted must be in English, Finnish or Swedish and notarized.

The following documents must be also attached to your application:

  1. Scanned copy of your secondary school certificate (for bachelor’s studies) or bachelor’s diploma (master’s studies)
  2. Transcript of Records, with grading scale in English if the scale is not indicated in the transcript.
  3. Scanned copy of your passport or national ID

The followings documents might be also required, depending on the degree program you apply to:

  • Language certificate (IELTS, TOEFL, etc)
  • SAT
  • English medium letter
  • Motivation letter

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees at universities in Finland only apply to international students, i.e. students that come from a country outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland. The tuition fees apply to full-time students in Bachelor or Master programmes; but Doctorate programmes (PhDs) are usually tuition-free. There are also some exceptions for those that are already in Finland under certain conditions; if you already have a permanent or a fixed-term residence permit, or an EU Blue Card, you are likely exempt from fees. Also, anyone choosing to study in Finnish or Swedish, as opposed to a degree taught in English, is exempt from tuition charges.Each university in Finland offers a range of scholarships for international students. These are largely based on academic merits, and there is often a certain quota for each degree programme. Some scholarships grant a complete fee waiver, others may reward you with a percentage deduction on the tuition charges, e.g. 50%.Each university sets their own fees, which can be different from program to program, but annual tuition fees  are set somewhere between €5,000 and €18,000 , not including general living expenses.Fortunately, student housing is very accessible and staying at a university dormitory or student residence hall is an option in many institutions in Finland, so make sure to contact your university about their housing opportunities.

Cost of Living

Monthly living expenses for students (including food, accommodation, travel, insurance, etc.) are on average around €700 – €1,000, depending on where you’ll be living and your personal habits, and are typically higher in larger cities than in smaller ones.

Fortunately, your student residence permit will allow you to work for up to 25 hours per week. Most Finnish universities provide career services for international students —they’re available to lend a hand during your job search, whether you’re looking for a student job or a full-time position for after you graduate.

  1. Fill in your residence permit application via Enter Finland. You can fill Residence permit application for studies either by offline or by Online

General attachments

  • Valid passport (you must present it when you submit the residence permit application)
  • Passport photo complying with the photo guidelines issued by the police or a photograph retrieval code you received from a photo shop, OLEL_PK
  • Colour copies of the passport page containing personal data and of all passport pages that contain notes
  • Document showing that you are legally staying in the country where you submit the application

Application-specific attachments

  • Certificate of acceptance/attendance from your educational institution in Finland
  • Clarification of income
  • Health insurance
  • Documentation of paid tuition fee or documentation of scholarship
  • Earlier degree certificates (not required of degree students and exchange students)
  • Potential certificates of employment (not required of degree students and exchange students)


  • SCHEDULE BIOMETRIC APPOINTMENT via VFS website/Call the VFS helpline: 022-67866026 / Send an email to:
  2. TRACK YOUR APPLICATION STATUS through your personal user account.
  3.  VISA DECISION: The decision will be mailed to you in a letter together with your residence permit card. Note, it still takes 2-3 weeks to receive an RP-card to the Embassy.

Some decisions will be sent by post with advice of delivery. If you get a positive decision, you will get a residence permit card.

If you have either studied and completed a degree in Finland or completed your research in Finland, you can apply for the following permits:


  • When you have found a job, you can apply for a new residence permit for work on the basis of a degree completed in Finland or on the basis of research completed in Finland.
  • If you are not yet employed, you can apply for a residence permit to look for work or to start a business.


Residence permit application for extended permit to look for work or to start a business

Apply for a residence permit with this application if you need an extended permit to look for work or to start a business and you do not yet have a job. You need to have a valid residence permit for studies or for scientific research.

  • If you have a residence permit for studies, you must have finished your studies and graduated.
  • If you have a residence permit for scientific research, you must have finished your research work or you must have completed a doctoral degree in Finland after finishing your research work.
  • Expected processing time
    4–8 months
  • Paper application fee
    260 €

You can get a residence permit to look for work or to start a business only once and for a maximum of one year.

You cannot be granted a residence permit to look for work if you have received a decision on deportation from Finland.

Income requirement

You have secure means of support

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the necessary funds for living in Finland. You must have at least EUR 560 at your disposal every month to be able to pay for your accommodation, food and other needs. In other words, you must have EUR 6,720 to be able to study in Finland for a year. The income requirement for this permit is the same as it is for a residence permit for studies.

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