Overview of Finland
The northern European country of Finland has a population of 5.5 million and is bordered by Sweden, Norway, and Russia, the Baltic Sea and the gulf of Bothnia. Finns (people from Finland) speak Finish and Sami, an indigenous northern language.
A sparsely populated Nordic country, 72 percent of Finland is covered by forest with a lightly peopled rugged north. Helsinki, Finland’s capital city to the south, is situated on a peninsula, and offers a chic, urban atmosphere, with a serious design district amidst unique geography. The city features traditional and trendy restaurants, museums and music venues, and crisp and whimsical architecture. A ferry ride away is the 18th-century fortress, Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of eight islands and six museums. The city of Turku, in Finland’s southwest, offers cobblestone streets, a medieval fortified castle, and river vistas. The majestic Archipelago National Park is nearby. Finland’s big draw for nature lovers is the spectacle of its northern lights, perhaps best seen from Lapland, a region of pristine landscapes and wildlife, including reindeer. Sauna culture flourishes throughout Finland, providing a respite from chilly winters. Cinnamon buns, reindeer meat, salty licorice, and rye breads are among the culinary fare served in throughout the country. Residents and visitors to Finland are often taken with its high standard of living, environmentalism, and cleanliness.
Finland signed the Schengen Agreement in 1996, becoming part of the Schengen area in 2001.
- Schengen visa eligibility for Finland includes third country nationals from the following states, who are excluded from visa-free to Finland/the Schengen area, and are therefore eligible to apply for a Schengen visa to Finland:
14. BURKINA FASO
19. CAPE VERDE
71. NORTH KOREA
20. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
74. PAPUA NEW GUINEA
25. COTE D’IVOIRE
27. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
79. SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
80. SAUDI ARABIA
29. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
82. SIERRA LEONE
32. EQUATORIAL GUINEA
84. SOUTH AFRICA
85. SOUTH SUDAN
86. SRI LANKA
- Third party nationals from the following entities/territories are also required to apply for a Schengen visa: KOSOVO and the PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY.
- In addition to Finnish and English, most standard application forms for Finland are available in French, Spanish, and Russian. However, if your application contains supplemental materials written in one of those 3 languages, they will likely need to be accompanied by an official translation into either Finish, Swedish, or English.
- All documents required for your Finish Schengen visa must be filled in using capital letters. Applications for all Schengen visas to Finland will contain the following Basic Required Documents:
- Valid passport
- Passport sized photos
- Application form
- Fingerprints (biometric data)
- Travel medical insurance
- Visa Fee
- Materials related to your trip:
- Reason for visit
- Where you will stay (accommodation)
- How you will fund your trip (finances)
- Proof that you will leave Finland before your visa becomes invalid/expires. This is often in the form of a paid roundtrip plane ticket (proof of return).
Note: For more information on what to include in your application, including a detailed description of required materials, please see: Basic Required Documents. Please note that you may have to submit additional Finnish Schengen visa supporting documents related to your specific purpose for travelling.
- The standard Finnish Schengen visa fee for an adult is 80 Euros. Certain types of applicants (most students, children under 6) are exempt from all visa fees. Your visa fee must be paid in cash (or in certain cases bank transfers). Contact your specific consulate for information on how to pay for your visa. To get a Schengen visa for Finland, you will likely have to submit a service payment with your visa application-this is a separate cost from the visa fee. Please note that these fees are non-refundable in the case of visa rejection.
How to Apply: Steps
- Step 1: Determine your Purpose for travelling to Finland, which will determine the Type of visa you should apply for.
- Step 2: Determine how many Entries to Finland/the Schengen area you need.
- Step 3: Gather your Required Documents.
- Step 4: Schedule a Finland Schengen visa appointment (if applicable).
- Depending on the location of the Finish Consulate/visa center you are applying through, you may have to schedule an appointment in order to submit your application. Alternatively, you may be able to drop off your application without prior arrangement, so long as you do so during normal operating hours. Contact your Finish Consulate/Embassy directly to find out if you need to schedule an appointment in order to submit your application.
- Step 5: Fill out your application.
- Applications for Finnish Schengen Visas can be found online here. Once completed, print out and sign your application. You will submit this paper copy to whichever Finnish Consulate/visa processing center you are applying through.
- Step 6: Pay the application fee.
- Step 7: Submit your application.
- Different Finnish consulates/processing centers have different procedures for submitting applications. In almost all cases, applications must be submitted in person to the consulate/center you are applying through.
- When you submit your application, you will likely also be asked to submit biometric data (fingerprints). Children younger than 12 years are likely exempt from having their fingerprints collected. However, live facial photo capturing will be required irrespective of the age.
- Please note, after submitting your application, you may be asked to return at a later date for a personal interview to provide further information/materials related to your trip.
When to Apply
- Submit your application at least 15 days prior to the day you intend to travel, and no earlier than 6 months before you leave.
Where to Apply
- Applications for Schengen visas to Finland should be submitted at either a Finnish Consulate or a visa application center that has a relationship with Finland.
- Ideally, you will lodge your application in the consulate that is physically closest to you, or a visa center recommended by the consulate. Please note that you must legally live or reside in the country where you are applying from.
- Click here to find the Finnish Consulate/Embassy where you live.
- If there is no Finnish consular presence, applications may be lodged via the consulate of a Schengen state representing Finnish consular interests.
- You must submit your application in person to the consulate or visa center where you have chosen to apply.
- The Finnish Schengen visa processing time is generally 15 days, although it can take up to 45 days in certain cases.
If your visa was approved:
- Collect your visa and make sure the information it contains is valid and complete.
If your visa was denied:
- If you receive a Schengen visa rejection for Finland, you have the right to an appeal within 30 days of receiving your refusal.
- Your letter of rejection will explain the detailed steps of the appeal process, but the basic information is as follows:
- All appeals must be in writing, in either Finnish or Swedish.
- Your request for an appeal should take the form of a request for an administrative review from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- In order for your appeal to be processed, you must pay an appeal fee of 170 EUR which is non-refundable regardless of the outcome of the appeal (positive or negative).
- If your appeal is rejected by the Finnish MFA, you have 30 days after receiving word of its rejection to lodge a final appeal, this time with Helsinki Administrative Court.
- The appeal must be brought to a Finnish consulate alongside a payment fee of 260 EUR. This ruling is final and cannot be appealed.
Finally, once you obtain your Schengen Visa for Finland, please note the following:
- Your visa may be revoked if you do not notify the Finnish Consulate/visa application center of any changes to your trip itinerary that occur after you have submitted your application.
- Being approved for a Finnish visa does not guarantee you entry to either Finland or the general Schengen area – you can still be refused entry to both places upon arrival.
- Alternatively, you may have to show additional documents regarding your finances or accommodation in order to enter Finland/the Schengen area.