Every foreign person staying in Finland for more than three months needs to have either a residence permit or register his/her stay at the Finnish Immigration Services. Please note that without a valid registration / residence permit, the person won’t be allowed to enter Finland again if s/he has left the country and s/he might have problems with authorities also in Finland. For up-to-date information on residence permits, please visit the Finnish Immigration Services' website.
Citizens of the Nordic countries
only need to register their residence in Finland at the Digital and population data services agency.
EU/ European Economic Area (EEA) citizens
only need to register their right to reside in Finland at the Finnish Immigration Services if their continuous stay in Finland exceeds 90 days. The 90 day period starts all over again in case you visit for example Sweden or your home country in between your studies in Finland.
Citizens of all other countries
must obtain a residence permit from the Finnish Embassy or Consulate in their home country before arrival in Finland. We strongly advise you to contact the Embassy as soon as possible after being accepted to the University of Vaasa, because it will take about 1–3 months to get the permit depending on the country you are coming from. If you live abroad, the application should be addressed to the Finnish diplomatic mission in your country of residence.
Extension of the residence permit
A residence permit granted to a student is a temporary permit (bearing the letter B). It is granted for one year or for the duration of your studies, provided that your studies do not exceed the length of two years. If your studies do exceed two years, you will need to apply for an extension to your residence permit before it expires. In order to have your residence permit extended, you must still be enrolled in the same educational institute and present a proof of having studied full-time and having completed the courses required by the educational institute concerned. The extension of residence permit is granted by the Finnish Immigration Services.
Usually students coming to the University of Vaasa do not need a visa.
Visa is needed only for a shorter visit (maximum three months), for example if a student coming from a non-EU country had to participate in an entrance exam in Finland prior to being accepted at the educational institution. The University of Vaasa does not arrange entrance examinations for the international Master’s degree programmes or doctoral studies, thus the students do not need to apply for a visa. Exchange students do not need a visa either, but non-EU nationals need a residence permit.
Registration of a foreigner to the Population Information System
Foreigners are required to register themselves to the Finnish Population Information System. The registration is done at the local office of the Digital and population data services agency. Registered information includes name, date of birth, gender, nationality, mother tongue and address in Finland.
Finnish Identity Number
A personal identity code is used to identify persons in Finland. Everyone who is registered in the Population Information System receives a personal identity code. The code is used for example in the information systems of the authorities and it is needed to be able to operate in the Finnish society. Finnish identity number can be granted to non-EU/EEA citizens together with the residence permit, if they apply for the identity number on the residence permit application form. If you have not applied for the identity number on your residence permit application from or if you are not required to apply for a residence permit (for example if you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country), you can apply for the ID number in Finland.
A Finnish municipality of residence is registered for a foreigner who has moved to Finland for longer than a year. Your municipality of residence and your address in Finland will also be registered in the Population Information System. If you are in Finland for a shorter period, for example for an exchange semester, you will not get a municipality of residence, but your address will be entered in the Population Information System as temporary.
How does the registration happen?
University of Vaasa's international tutors will take you to obtain the Finnish identity number in the beginning of your stay in Vaasa, and you will receive necessary documents from the University during orientation days.
For more information about registration, home municipality and Finnish ID number, please visit Digital and population data services agency website.
Working besides studies
International students holding residence permits for studies (bearing the letter B), may work without a work permit for 25 hours a week on average, and without limits at the times when no instruction is offered at your educational institution, that is during summer and Christmas holidays. These time limits do not concern citizens of the Nordic and EU/EEA countries.