There are some important issues to take care prior and after your arrival to the city where you will be studying -Oulu in our case- that need to be handled right away when you have been accepted officially to make an exchange or to complete a degree. It is well known that the official matters regarding the university and the housing are important but there are some even more important ones regarding the rights to enter and study in Finland and overall the European Union.
We will face different matters and requirements regarding where in the world we come from -since country specific regulations apply for all of us- and later we will be requested to provide information even after our arrival. I strongly recommend contacting the Embassy or Consulate of Finland in your home country or visit their official webpages that handles these matters as soon as possible since many of the consular services take it’s time depending on the number of applications at the moment you present yours.
Let’s first talk about of some of the things we need to do before the arrival to Finland but before start is important to notice that there are two different groups to identify with:
- EU Citizens, which are all the nationals that belong to the European Union member states or countries. All the EU citizens have right to move, work and relocate themselves across the EU states. Check more about it here: https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/countries/member-countries_en
- Non-EU Citizens, are all the nationals of the other countries in the world that do not belong to the European Union state members which require then to have permits and visas to enter any of the EU countries. Check here for more: http://www.migri.fi/studying_in_finland
Permits and Visas
All the non-EU Citizens requires to get a visa or residence permit prior their arrival to Finland and according to the length of the studies you will complete in the Finnish institution you have been accepted.
For an instance, if you will have a stay for up to 3 months or more accurately 90 days, you are only required to get a visa. This case is very common if you come during summer or just to make a short exchange but for more detailed information check here: http://www.formin.fi/public/default.aspx?nodeid=49459&contentlan=2&culture=en-US
In the case that your studies last one semester or more you may require to get a residence permit. It is important to mention that if you are a degree student you may need to get a residence permit each year since it is not possible to get a residence permit for longer periods of time when you are student. The first permit is obtained in your country of origin or in the designated Embassy or Consulate available in your country whereas the second permit extension, will be obtained in Finland in the city you are studying. Check more information about the first permit here: http://www.migri.fi/studying_in_finland and about the extension of your permit here: http://www.migri.fi/extended_permit
Other cases, as those of the students that come along with the family, have other specific requirements so please take in consideration all the information that is available in the migratory service pages mentioned above and, as usual, do all these processes with time.
After your arrival to Finland and with your permit in hand -figuratively speaking- and during the orientation day, all Non EU and EU international students, mainly the ones that are staying for a longer periods of time or as a degree students, are required to visit the local register office to obtain a Finnish ID number. This number will be required for several processes you will face during your stay in Finland including getting a bank account and health services but most importantly the university requires you to notify personally the Id number in the student center.
EU citizens please check more information here in the following pages:
So, please check with time and patience all the information needed before leaving your country and get the requirements for your permits or visas before you travel to Finland. Do not forget your passports and/or IDs -especially if you are an EU citizen- before you leave home!