Please note that this Guide is not updated anymore from January 2018 onwards. You can find updated information from new INTO-pages for all new International Students. Those webpages cover the same topics as this Guide used to.
Congratulations! Soon you will arrive at Aalto University and start your studies and life here. This Welcome Guide for International Students is meant for new international students of Aalto University, both exchange and degree students. This Guide is meant to provide you the most essential information before and upon arrival in Finland. Please take a moment and read through this Guide, we are sure it is useful for you when preparing to start your life here.
When you start planning moving to Finland you should pay attention to entry and residence regulations. When arriving in Finland, citizens of Nordic countries and European Union countries, as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein and San Marino need an official identity card or passport (passport recommended, it may be required e.g. if opening a bank account in Finland or when travelling outside Finland).
All other foreigners coming from outside EU/EEA countries (European Economic Area) need a valid passport.
All non-EU citizens should check at a local Finnish embassy or consulate whether also a visa or a residence permit for Finland is required. If the residence permit is required, an application for it must be submitted and processed before departure for Finland in the country of your permanent residence. It is your own responsibility to acquire all the necessary documents. You are advised to start the application process immediately after you have received the admission letter from Aalto University.
EU-citizens and citizens of Liechtenstein and Switzerland do not need a residence permit but upon arrival in Finland you must register your right to reside in Finland if your stay lasts for longer than three months. This registration of residence is done at the Finnish Immigration Service (MIGRI) service point in Helsinki. However, citizens of Nordic countries are registered at Maistraatti (local register office) if they stay in Finland longer than 6 months. See more information in the chapter After arrival.
If the studies last for less than three months, only a visa is needed. The visa is granted for a maximum of three months and cannot be extended in Finland. The visa has to be applied for before departure to Finland in the country where you permanently reside. Finland has an agreement abolishing this requirement with about 80 countries. Please check at your local Finnish consulate/embassy whether your country is among them.
Citizens coming from a country outside the EU/EEA and who intend to stay in Finland for longer than three months have to obtain a residence permit through the Finnish embassy or consulate in their home country BEFORE arrival in Finland. Finnish Immigration Service - MIGRI - will provide application forms and further information on application process. An application is done via e-service of MIGRI. E-service is called EnterFinland.fi.
You can also follow the process electronically. However, remember that a personal visit to the Finnish Embassy is also required for identification and fingerprinting. Your application will not be processed before you’ve visited a Finnish embassy.
All Finnish embassies and consulates are listed at www.formin.fi. If there is no Finnish embassy or consulate in your country, contact a Finnish mission in another country to confirm your visit.
The university does not provide any health insurance for foreign students. You can find an insurance policy that fits Finland’s requirements by checking e.g. SIP Marsh (www.sipinsurance.eu).
Note! MIGRI processes all residence permit applications based on studying as urgent. If your application is approved, you will get a biometric residence permit card. The card will be delivered to the Finnish embassy. It’s not possible to expedite the delivery of the card or collect the card from Finland. You must wait for the residence permit card before arrival in Finland.
Note! When applying for your first residence permit, you can also ask to be registered in the Finnish Population Information System. This way you can receive a Finnish personal ID-code at the same time as you are issued with the permit, id-code makes your life in Finland easier.
Note! If you stay in Finland on permanent basis (over 1 year) you need to ask for home municipality registered for you after arrival in Finland. This requires a personal visit at Maistraatti office. Please read more information from this chapter: After arrival: Maistraatti.