A Finland visa is a short-term permit that allows its holder to enter and stay in Finland for a fixed amount of time.
Finland is situated in the Northern part of Europe, surrounded by Russia, Sweden, Norway, and the Baltic Sea. In 1996, it officially became a part of the Schengen Area alongside 25 other European countries.
The Schengen countries have abolished their borders, which means that their residents can travel visa-free across the area. However, residents from countries without a visa agreement will need a Schengen visa to visit Finland.
Do I Need a Visa for Finland?
You don’t need a visa to visit Finland if:
- You are a resident of one of the countries in the Schengen Area or the EEA/EU.
- You are a citizen from any country in the world that has a visa agreement with Finland.
Visiting Finland visa-free is not possible for some countries. Sometimes, the visa-entry requirement may depend on your reason for visiting, your profile, or the duration of your visit. It’s always best to check with your local embassy before you plan your visit.
Keep in mind that travellers who can enter Finland visa-free are allowed to stay without a visa for only 90 days within a 180 days period.
What Are the Requirements for a Finland Visa?
These are the requirements you need to meet when applying for a Finland visa:
- Passport/Travel Document. You must carry a valid passport that was issued within the last ten years. Moreover, your passport needs to be valid for 3 months after you return from Finland.
- Identity Picture. You also need to take a recent identity picture. Please follow the Schengen visa photo guidelines
- The Finland Visa Application Form. When you apply for your Schengen visa you need to download, print, and fill in this form, and then attach it to your documents.
- Schengen Travel Insurance. Schengen travel insurance is obligatory for any visitor within the Schengen Area. The insurance needs to cover expenses up to €30,000 for medical expenses and emergencies, such as accidents, sudden illnesses and even death.
- Invitation Letter. This document is required in cases where you’ve been invited as a visitor by either a friend or a family member. The invitation contains important information about your host and yourself such as your name, date of birth, address, relationship, and so on.
- Sufficient Financial Means. You need to provide evidence that you have enough sufficient funds to finance your trip. Finland requires €30 minimum per day.
- Evidence of a Place to Stay. Proof of accommodation sometimes may be required depending on the embassy. It’s important to provide hotel bookings, rental agreements, or Airbnb reservations.
- Travel Itinerary. You may also be asked to provide a detailed travel plan which includes departure date, flight number, return date, the duration of your stay, and similar information about your visit.
- Copies of Previous Schengen Visas. You will be asked to provide copies of previous visas if it pertains to you.
- Cover Letter. You need to write a letter stating your reasons for visiting and how long you plan to visit.
- Civil Status Documents. Documents, such as your birth certificate, marriage license, divorce license, adoption papers must be attached to your application.
- Evidence of Legal Stay. You also need to provide a document proving that you are a legal citizen in your current country of residence.
- For minors:
- Permission from a legal guardian to travel alone (if the minor is travelling unaccompanied).
- Permission from another legal guardian (if the child is travelling with only one parent/legal guardian).
- Birth certificate.
- Any other required documents, depending on the specific visa.
*Please keep in mind that the embassy holds the right to ask for any additional documents.
Types of Finland Visas
There are several types of Finland visas depending on your visit purpose.
- Finland Tourist Visa. This is a typical tourist visa that is issued to individuals who wish to visit and explore Finland as a tourist. It’s valid for three months within a period of six months.
- A Finland short stay visa can also be issued for other purposes, such as business or medical treatment.
- Long-term Visa to Finland. You will need to apply for a long-term visa if you are planning on staying for more than 90 days. The long-term visa types are:
- Finland Transit Visa. This is a type of visa that is only issued when you pass through Finland as a transit zone. This means that during your travel you will stop in Finland while waiting for your connecting flight to your final destination. Some travellers are not allowed to wait in the transit zone without a visa.
- Finland Seamen Visa. A seamen visa is a type of transit visa that is usually valid for 15 days and it’s issued to third-country nationals who need to travel through Finland’s trade port, either to join a new vessel or switch ships or to disembark in case of emergencies.
- Finland Seasonal Work Visa. Generally speaking, for work you need a long-term visa but for seasonal work, a 90 days permit is granted.
*Please note that no matter what the reason for visiting, a Schengen visa is a short-term visa, valid only for 90 days.
How to Apply for a Finland Visa?
You need to follow these steps when applying for a Schengen Visa:
- Find your local Finnish mission. Local embassies/consulates issue visas for third-country nationals. So, make sure you find your nearest official authority in order to apply for your visa.
- Fill in your visa application form. This form is vital for your application so make sure you get the form ready as soon as you can.
- Prepare your documents. Make sure all your required documents are ready for submission. This means you need to translate any document that is not in Finnish, Swedish or English, and legalize it with an apostille stamp if required.
- Make an appointment. You need to make an appointment with the embassy in order to hand over your application. Please remember that you need to submit the documents personally.
- Submit all your documents. Once you gather all the required documents you can lodge your application with the representative authority on the day of your appointment.
- Prepare for an interview. You probably will be asked to sit down for an interview at the embassy. The aim of the interview is to get a better view of your reason for wanting to visit Finland.
Can I apply for a visa online?
It depends on the embassy. Some embassies have already made electronic services available for online applications, while some require you to fill in the application in person. Please note that you still have to submit your documents in person no matter if you filled in the application online.
How many times can I apply for a Finland Schengen visa?
As long as you don’t have a valid visa then you can apply for a Finland Schengen visa as many times as you need to.
How Much Does a Finland Visa Cost?
Visa fees will depend mostly on your age and the type of visa:
- Schengen visa fees for adults: €80
- Schengen visa fees for children between ages 6-11: €40
- Schengen visa fees for children under the age of 6: free
- Schengen visa fees for a fast-tracked visa request: €70
The Finland visa fee for these countries is €35:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Cape Verde
- Russian Federation
You also don’t have to pay a visa fee in cases where you hold a diplomatic passport, or when minors are travelling for educational purposes.
In some cases, you have to pay an extra fee of €10 for any type of forms you must obtain in cases where Finland won’t recognize your travel documents. Sometimes the charges for a visa may differ from country to country.
You should be aware that your visa fee is non-refundable in cases of rejection. The fee may be refunded only in some specific cases, such as if you applied for the wrong type of visa.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Finland Visa?
It takes 15 days to process your application for a Finland visa. You can lodge your application at the embassy six months earlier if you wish, however, it’s always best to do so 15 days before you depart.
What Are the Reasons for Finnish Visa Application Denial?
A Finnish mission may reject your visa application for these reasons:
- Your travelling documents are expired or will expire for the duration of your stay.
- You did not state the reason for your visit to Finland.
- You lack the financial means to support yourself while in Finland.
- You are banned from returning to your country of origin.
- You are banned from entering the Schengen Area.
- The embassy suspects you will not return after your visa has expired.
What Can I Do in Case the Finnish Authorities Deny my Visa?
In case of rejection, you can appeal against the decision, you should find the instructions on how to appeal in your rejection letter.
You can file a request for review from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Your review request must be submitted 30 days after you receive a denied notice from the embassy, and it should be either in Finnish or Swedish. You also have to pay a fee in order to process your appeal. The fee is €170.
If you want to appeal against the decision of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs you can lodge another request for administrative review to the Helsinki Administrative Court. The fee for this request is €260.
You are free to apply for another visa even after you were rejected.
How Long Can I Stay With a Finland Visa?
A Schengen Finland visa is valid for only three months within a six-month period. During this time you can visit other Schengen countries as well, but the time you spend in other countries will also count as part of your three-month permit.
Anyone who stays past their legal allotted time will be subjected to either; fines, travel bans or even detainment. If you’re not sure please check with the Schengen visa calculator.
Can I live in Finland with a Schengen visa?
No, you can’t. In order to live in Finland, you need to apply for either a residence permit or citizenship.
Can I Extend a Finland Visa?
Yes, but the extension is granted only in specific cases. Your request for an extension will be accepted if you are dealing with a force majeure (earthquake, an unexpected illness, a political situation in your home country, etc.), or you have serious personal reasons related to family matters.
If you wish to extend your visa only because you want to stay longer, with no strong reason, you won’t get an extension.
Can I Use My Visa to Travel to Another Country Other Than Finland?
Yes, a Finland visa is valid for any country in the Schengen Area, just remember that the days you spend in other countries are counted in your 90 days limit.