Residence Permit (Visas)

Most Fulbright grantees and their accompanying family members need a residence permit for their stay in Finland. Grantees are personally responsible for obtaining a passport and the residence permit required.

Dual Citizens

The U.S. State Department’s position is that dual U.S. citizens taking part in the Fulbright Program travel on their U.S. passports, even if it entails some extra time and expense. However, dual Finnish-U.S. citizens cannot apply for residence permits to come to Finland on Fulbright but need to travel with their Finnish passports.
 


Fees Related to Residence Permits

Kindly note the Fulbright grant does not provide for expenses related to any passport or residence permit fees (visit to the consulate/embassy etc.). Such expenses must be borne by the grantee without recourse to claim for reimbursement (more information: section 631, Policies of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and section 16 of your Terms and conditions of award document).

The residence permit is issued in a form of a separate residence permit card.


Visa or residence permit?

In Finland the term visa refers to a permit issued for a short term (max. three months) stay in Finland. Visa is usually issued for business and tourism purposes and required from other than visa exempt citizens.

Residence permit in turn, refers usually to a permit issued for other than business and tourism purposes and for a stay of longer than three months in Finland.

 

If your stay exceeds 90 days, you must receive a residence permit before entering Finland.

Residence permits to Finland are applied through the Finnish Embassy in Washington D.C., the Consulate General in Los Angeles or New York. The jurisdiction is determined by the state in which you are a resident. Please see at the Finnish Washington D.C. Embassy website which Finnish mission in the U.S. you should contact.

Ask whether you could visit another consulate than the one appointed to your jurisdiction.

If your stay is less than 90 days

According to the Finnish immigration regulations, you do not need a residence permit if you come to Finland to work as a researcher and you come to the country on the basis of an invitation or a contract, for no longer than 90 days. This regulation concerns Fulbright scholars, specialists and teachers. According to the grantee feedback, the residence permit may however at times come in handy when handling practicalities in Finland.

In retrospect, I should have applied for a visa [residence permit], even though my stay was less than 90 days because the visa [residence permit] is necessary for receiving a Finnish ID number. Having the ID number is extremely helpful for: opening a bank account with full services, registering for child care, and receiving discounts on bus passes, among other things.  

-  U.S. Scholar 2015-2016 -

It is possible to apply for the residence permit also for stays under 90 days, but please note that there are practical considerations, including the cost of the permit and cost of the travel to one of the three Finnish Embassy/Consulates in the U.S. If your stay in Finland is less than 90 days and you are considering obtaining a residence permit, please contact Fulbright Finland before starting the application process.
 

Application Process

We strongly recommend that you begin the application process well in advance- at least 2 months prior- to your planned arrival in Finland, to give yourself enough time to get your paperwork and documentation in order. You should be aware that the Embassy/Consulate cannot begin the residence permit process until it has received all the required paperwork from you. Additionally, the decision on your application will not be made at the Embassy or Consulate in the U.S. Your application documents will be forwarded to the Finnish Immigration Service in Helsinki, Finland, where the decision on your permit will be made. The Immigration Service, in turn, forwards the decision back to the Embassy/Consulate, which will issue the residence permit card. Applying as early as possible is strongly recommended.

All residence permit applications must contain the applicant’s fingerprints. This means that each person applying for a residence permit must visit in person either the Finnish Embassy or a Finnish Consulate General in USA. This is an EU-wide regulation where EU is following the lead of USA which for some time has collected fingerprints from all visa applicants. Please also check the pages of the Embassy prior to applying for the residence permit, since there might be changes after the writing of this Guide.

According to the Finnish Immigration service, you can apply for a residence permit beyond the dates of your Fulbright grant provided that you have the insurance coverage and financial means for that additional time. You have also an opportunity to stay in Finland (and the passport-free Schengen area comprised of twenty-six European countries) without a valid residence permit for 90 days as a tourist before or after your Fulbright period. You may, for example, arrive in Finland 30 days before the beginning of your residence permit, and stay for 60 days after it has ended. Many Fulbrighters have arrived early or stayed after their grant period to enjoy the beautiful Finnish summer, or to travel in Finland and around Europe. Please remember that your ASPE insurance is valid only during your official grant term dates.

If you would like to stay on in Finland for other purpose than tourism, please contact the Fulbright Center for more information.

Below you will find more information regarding specifically scholars, specialists and students.

Fulbright Scholars and Professionals (including Fulbright Teachers)

All participants of the Fulbright scholar program (lecturers, lecturer/researchers, researchers, mid-career professional development grantees, Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching program grantees) whose stay in Finland exceeds 90 days must apply for and receive a residence permit before entering Finland. Dependents accompanying the grantee for more than 90 days must also have a valid residence permit.

Documents needed for the scholar residence permit application:

1. Completed application form for a residence permit

First, please fill in the online residence permit application form through the Finnish Immigration Service’s pages. Please read the instructions for the residence permit application for scholars carefully. In the online application system, you are looking for the “Residence permit application for scientific research” (OLE_TUT).

To fill out the application, you will first need to create a user account at:
https://enterfinland.fi/eServices/info/researcher

Please note that each family member will need to have a separate user account. (The Finnish Embassy/Consulate will  connect all the family members together).

If your family is joining you to Finland, separate forms need to be filled out for each dependent. A spouse also needs to fill out form OLE_PH1 and children the form OLE_PH4. All these applications are located on the same page on the Migri website. In addition, the grantee must also fill the application PK1_plus for his/her spouse.

The residence permit application can be submitted both through an online form and as printed copies of required forms. Please note that the processing fee for the online application is smaller and the process generally quicker.

Please make sure you fill out all sections of the form. The application will not be processed with inadequate information.

Please take note of the following additional instructions for Fulbright grantees:

Population register and the personal identity code

It is recommended that you request a Finnish personal identity code to be issued for you and your family members with your residence permit.

Grounds for applying for the residence permit

In section C 5, “Additional information for the application”, please write that you are a Fulbright Scholar/Teacher grantee (except PhD students write that you are a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grantee) and specify that you are applying for the residence permit to lecture and/or conduct research on a Fulbright grant.

For a spouse, in his/her OLE_PH1, in section C 5, the same information should be added, i.e. that you are a spouse of a Fulbright Scholar grantee. The same information should be added at the

OLE_PH4 for each child.

Type and duration of residence permit (section A, point 1.4)

Unless you apply for the residence permit for a longer period, the consulate will use the grant dates in the “Grant Authorization” document as the dates of your residence permit.

Please remember, that you need to have a valid insurance policy for the entire stay. The ASPE only covers the dates marked in your “Grant Authorization” document and it is only valid in Fulbright-related travel during your grant period.

If you apply for the residence permit for a longer period than the length of your Fulbright grant, you need to show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay. Supporting documents may include a statement from your home university on a sabbatical pay, evidence of personal savings, letter from your host university indicating that housing is available to you for the additional time as well, etc. You should also indicate the reason why you wish to stay in Finland beyond the grant period. Use the space in the section B, point 3.1 (section C, point 5 may also be used for this purpose). For instance, traveling and getting to know other parts of Finland should be a valid reason, since one purpose of the Fulbright program is to increase your knowledge of Finland and its regions and culture.

Address in Finland (section A, point 1.3).

If you do not yet have the address, you can fill out the address of your host institution.

2. Two passport sized photos The photos must follow the passport photo guidelines issued by the police. Incorrect pictures cannot be accepted.
3. Valid passport Make sure the U.S. passport is valid for the entire period you will stay in Finland. The Fulbright grant does not cover expenses related to passport fees.
4. Original letters from FULBRIGHT

This means both of the following: 

  • Award letter sent by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB) in Washington, D.C. 
  • Grant Authorization issued by the Fulbright Center (for teachers by the IIE) and signed by you.

Please take the originals to the Finnish Embassy/Consulate. The Embassy or Consulate will take the necessary copies and return the originals to you.

Please note, that the “Grant Authorization” document also gives the required information detailing your allowance, the duration of your stay and the details of your duties.

Additional proof of funds may be requested, for example, if you are extending your stay in Finland beyond the grant dates. Please provide proof of all financial support available to you for your period in Finland (personal savings, sabbatical pay, etc).

5. If your family is joining you to Finland, a separate OLE_PH1 and/or OLE_PH4 form needs to be filled out for each dependent

A spouse also needs to fill out form OLE_PH1 and child a form OLE_PH4. If your spouse is applying to join you in Finland, a legalized copy of your marriage certificate should be attached to the application. If your children are applying with you, please attach legalized copies of their birth certificates and legalized signatures by both custodians.

Also, the grantee must fill the form PK1_plus for each child.

According to the Finnish Immigration Service, original versions of your marriage certificate or the children's birth certificates are not required in the residence permit application process. Thus, you can attach a copy of the certificates to your family members’ residence permit application and show the original documents when visiting the Finnish Embassy/Consulate. Please hold on to the original documents and take them with you when traveling to Finland. You will be asked to show them at the local Register Office when in Finland.

6. Processing fee

A processing fee is charged for the residence permit application. The fee will be collected at the Embassy/Consulate. Personal checks are NOT accepted.

Please provide for the Finnish Embassy/Consulate a prepaid return envelope for the Residence Permit card to be mailed to you. (Please add payment for registered mail or for overnight delivery by FedEx. You may also provide a prepaid, self-addressed envelope.)

Your Fulbright grant does not provide for expenses related to the residence permit fees.

7. Visit to the Embassy/Consulate

You need to visit a Finnish Embassy/Consulate to verify your identity, and to present the original copies of any supplements needed for the application. You will also be fingerprinted for a biometric residence permit card at the embassy/consulate.

Take also your passport and passport photo with you to the Embassy. Make sure that your passport is valid for your entire stay in Finland or longer.

Please note, that the Embassy/Consulate may request additional documents, if needed.

Fulbright Specialists

Fulbright Specialists generally spend 14-42 days in Finland. For visits shorter than 90 days no visa or residence permit is required. A Specialist may extend his/her stay in Finland beyond the Specialist program dates for professional or personal reasons, such as continued cooperation with the department or tourist travel. The Specialist is required to notify Fulbright Finland of any such plans. In such cases, if the stay in Finland or other Schengen countries exceeds 90 days, please refer to instructions for Fulbright scholars (above). The CIES Specialist grant will not cover any extensions to the program. The Specialist and/or the Finnish host department are/is responsible for any additional costs.

New Century Scholar Grantees

The NCS grant includes an international research visit component. If the NCS scholar’s stay in Finland and other Schengen countries does not exceed 90 days, no visa or residence permit is required. If the stay exceeds 90 days, please refer to instructions for Fulbright scholars (above).

Fulbright Students

All participants in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program whose stay in Finland exceeds 90 days must apply for and receive a residence permit before entering Finland. Dependents accompanying the grantee for more than 90 days must also have a valid residence permit.

If your Fulbright acceptance is conditional upon receiveing a letter of admission from a Finnish university, the Finnish Immigration Service advices not to submit the residence permit until you have received the university admission letter.

Make sure that you fill in the correct residence permit application

Please take a note of the regulations provided to us below by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) concerning residence permits for Fulbright U.S. Student grantees.

A) Fill in the application for residence permit for studies if you come to Finland to complete a full Master's degree. Also, if you are registered as a Master's student in a U.S. university or elsewhere and you come to Finland to complete part of your Master's degree studies/reseach to Finland, you need to fill in the application for residence permit for studies. Please see the instructions below.

B) Fill in the application for the residence permit for scholars if you come to Finland to complete a full Doctoral degree or you come to Finland to conduct your Doctoral research for one year. Also, other than doctoral students whose main focus in Finland is to conduct research and possible to take few courses and who are not registered in a university in the U.S. or elsewhere while in Finland need to apply for the residence permit for scholars. Please see above the instructions for filling in the scholar residence permit application.

Documents needed for the student residence permit application:

1. Completed application form for a residence permit
form OLE_OPI

Fill in the online residence permit application form through the Finnish Immigration Service’s pages. Please read the instructions for the residence permit application for students carefully. In the online application system, other than PhD students need to look for the “Residence permit application for study” (OLE_OPI).

If your family is joining you to Finland, separate forms need to be filled out for each dependent. A spouse also needs to fill out form OLE_PH1 and children the form OLE_PH4. All these applications are located on the same page on the Migri website. In addition, the grantee must also fill the application PK1_plus for his/her spouse.

The residence permit application can be submitted both through an online form and as printed copies of required forms. However, please note that the processing fee for the online application is smaller and the process generally quicker.

To fill out the online residence permit application, you will first need to create a user account at:
https://enterfinland.fi/eServices/info/studypermit

Please note that each family member will need to have a separate user account. (The Finnish Embassy/Consulate will  connect all the family members together).

Please make sure you fill out all sections of the residence permit form. The application will not be processed with inadequate information. 

Please take note of the following additional instructions for Fulbright grantees:

Population register and the personal identity code

It is recommended that you request a Finnish personal identity code to be issued for you and your family members with your residence permit.

Information on the studies

Please mark on the residence permit application that you are a Fulbright grantee.

For a spouse, in his/her OLE_PH1, please in section A, point 1.1, choose “marriage, co-habitation or registered relationship between two people of the same gender.” The same information should be added at the OLE_PH4 for each child.

Type and duration of residence permit

Unless you apply for the residence permit for a longer period, the consulate will usually use the grant dates in the “Grant Authorization” document as the dates of your residence permit.

Please remember, that you need to have a valid insurance policy for your entire stay in Finland. The ASPE only covers the dates marked in your “Grant Authorization” document and it is only valid in Fulbright-related travel during your grant period.

If you apply for the residence permit for a longer period than your Fulbright grant, you need to show you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay. Supporting documents may include evidence of personal savings etc. You should also indicate the reason why you wish to stay in Finland beyond the grant period. For instance, traveling and getting to know other parts of Finland should be a valid reason, since one purpose of the Fulbright program is to increase your knowledge of Finland and its regions and culture.

Address in Finland

If you do not yet have an address, please include information on your housing plans (such as details on your application submitted to student housing). In such a case, you should also include the address of your host institution.

2. Two passport sized photos The photos must follow the passport photo guidelines issued by the police. Incorrect pictures cannot be accepted.
3. Valid passport Make sure the U.S. passport is valid for the entire period you will stay in Finland. The Fulbright grant does not cover expenses related to passport fees.
4. Acceptance letter from your host University Please include the invitation/acceptance letter from your host university.
5. Original letters from FULBRIGHT

This means all of the following:

  • Awards letter sent by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB) in Washington, D.C.,
  • the Grant Authorization issued by the Fulbright Center and signed by you,

Please note, the “Grant Authorization” also states your grant amount, so you do not need a separate statement regarding your income for your grant period. It also serves as a written proof of your scholarship and ASPE coverage.

Additional proof of funds may be requested, for example, if you are extending your stay in Finland beyond the grant dates or your study program in Finland includes tuition costs, and thus your Fulbright award may not be sufficient.

6. Written proof of your housing arrangements in Finland Please provide proof of your housing arrangements.
7. The Finnish Immigration service also needs proof of comprehensive health insurance coverage Provide the Finnish Embassy/Consulate General your Fulbright Grant Authorization and Terms and Conditions documents, which includes information on your ASPE coverage. Please also provide information of any additional insurance policy you may have.
8. Processing fee

A processing fee is charged for the residence permit application. The fee will be collected at the Embassy/Consulate. Personal checks are NOT accepted.

Please provide for the Finnish Embassy/Consulate a prepaid return envelope for the Residence Permit card to be mailed to you.

Your Fulbright grant does not provide for expenses related to the residence permit fees.

9. If your family is joining you to Finland, a separate form needs to be filled out for each dependent.

A spouse also needs to fill out form OLE_PH1 and child a form OLE_PH4. If your spouse is applying to join you in Finland, a legalized copy of your marriage certificate should be attached to the application. If your children are applying with you, please attach legalized copies of their birth certificates and legalized signatures by both custodians.

Also, the grantee must fill the form PK1_plus for each child.

According to the Finnish Immigration Service, original versions of your marriage certificate or the children's birth certificates are not required in the residence permit application process. Thus, you can attach a copy of the certificates to your family members’ residence permit application and show the original documents when visiting the Finnish Embassy/Consulate. Please hold on to the original documents and take them with you when traveling to Finland. You will be asked to show them at the local Register Office when in Finland.

11. Visit to the Embassy/Consulate You need to visit a Finnish Embassy/Consulate to verify your identity, and to present the original copies of any supplements needed for the application. You will also be fingerprinted for a biometric residence permit card at the embassy/consulate.

Take also your passport and passport photo with you to the embassy. Make sure that your passport is valid for your entire stay in Finland or longer.

Please note, the Embassy/Consulate may request additional documents, if needed.

Further Information on Residence Permits: The Finnish Immigration Service