Information for a Foreign National Requiring a Visa
Nationals who are required to hold a visa must always be in possession of one when entering the Schengen area. Issuance of visas is provided for in the Schengen countries by the Visa Code (810/2009/EC), which is a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council. It is applied in all Schengen countries.
Link to the Visa Code
- Check-up if you need a visa in the Schengen area and travel documents accepted by Finland
- Where do I apply for a Schengen Visa?
- The processing charge
- Who issues a visa and how long does it take to process a visa?
- Refusal, annulment and revocation of a visa
- Entry to Finland
- Extending the validity of a visa when in Finland
- Types of visas
- Visa requirement in the Schengen area by country and travel documents accepted by Finland (by country)
The Schengen member states have jointly agreed about the rules concerning the movement of third-country nationals in their territories and decided which countries' citizens are required to present a visa.
If you are a foreign national requiring a visa, you must always have one when entering the Schengen area. If you would ordinarily need a visa but have a residence permit valid in one of Schengen countries, you do not need a visa to enter another Schengen country if the intended duration of your stay is less than three months.
A Schengen visa is applied for from the embassy or consulate of the destination country.
If the country from where you are applying for a visa does not have a Finnish embassy or consulate, you must apply for it from a Finnish mission in the nearest country to your own.
For example, if the country of destination is Finland, you must apply for a visa from a Finnish mission. In certain cases Finland may be represented by another Schengen country, from which a Finnish visa may be applied.
The processing charge must be paid in cash when you leave your application, except in the case of bank transfers at Finland's missions abroad. More information from the Finnish missions abroad.
A visa is issued by a diplomat or consul representative of a Schengen country. It is advisable to apply for a visa well in advance of the planned date of travel. A minimum of 14 days should be reserved for processing.
If the visa application for Finland is delivered in your country to a representation of a mission of another Schengen country, the process will usually take much longer. Applications should be delivered well in advance so that there will be proper time to process them.
In case the conditions for granting a visa are not fulfilled, the visa is refused. The refusal to issue an entry visa is notified to the applicant in writing.
A visa may be refused on certain grounds mentioned in the Visa Code, such as:
- the applicant does not have an approved, valid travel document;
- the applicant is unable to provide proof of the reason and preconditions of the stay;
- the applicant does not provide proof of sufficient means of subsistence;
- the applicant is not entitled to return to the country of origin or to continue to a third country;
- there are reasonable doubt as to the applicant’s intention to leave the territory of the Member State before the expiry of the visa applied for.
The applicant may have an entry ban to Finland or to some other Schengen country or be considered to be a threat to public policy, internal security of international relations of a Member State.
An issued visa is annulled if it becomes evident that the conditions for issuing it were not met at the time when it was issued. A visa is revoked, if it becomes evident that the conditions for issuing it are no longer met.
As from 5 April 2011, a visa applicant or a visa holder has the right to appeal against a refused, annulled or revoked visa by lodging an appeal to the authority that has issued the negative decision. The appeal must be addressed to the authority that has made the decision, for example a mission, by lodging an appeal against a decision.
A person whose visa application has been refused, annulled or revoked, receives the decision together with a separate appeal instruction. The appeal must be lodged within thirty (30) days from the date when the decision was informed to the applicant. The appeal must be made in writing and either in Finnish or Swedish.
Like before, applicants cannot lodge a complaint against the visa decision to the administrative court. An exception to this rule is still family members of EU citizens who have used the right of free movement, who always lodge their complaints with the Helsinki Administrative Court. Unlike other visa applicants, they cannot lodge an appeal against a decision.
Although a visa may be granted, the conditions of entry to Finland are re-evaluated on arriving in the country. If you require a visa you may also be expected to show, in addition to your visa, a valid travel document, insurance document for the duration of your stay and other documents related to your visa application. You must prove that you have sufficient funds (EUR 30 per day) for your stay and for your return journey or further travel. If you have a valid return ticket the amount of funds you are required to have with you will be less. You must not be under prohibition from entry to the country.
Other obstacles to entry would be if you were to constitute a threat to public order and security, public health, or Finland's relations with other countries. You can be refused entry if there is good reason to suspect that you intend to earn money dishonestly or to sell sexual services. These are the same conditions that apply concerning the approval or denial of a visa.
Local police authorities in Finland can extend the residence time defined in a visa, if the visa holder proves that leaving Finland and the Schengen area is not possible due to a force majeure or humanitarian reasons. Examples of such reasons include last-minute cancellation of the flight or the visa holder’s acute illness. In these cases the extension is free of charge.
Extending the visa’s period of validity may be possible also for serious personal reasons, such as a severe acute illness of an immediate family member who has a permanent residence in Finland. In this case, a 30-euro fee is charged for the extension of the visa.
Decisions on extending the validity of a visa are made by the Police.
A visa is an entry permit for a short, temporary stay of less than three months. Using this entry permit as a foreign national requiring a visa you are allowed to enter and stay in the Schengen area once certain other preconditions have been met.
Despite possessing a visa these requirements for entry into the country are checked at the border. If the entry requirements are not fulfilled, the passport inspector of the Border Guard Service may refuse you entry.
What kinds of visas are there?
A single-entry visa
is issued for one journey during which you can stay in the Schengen area for 90 days within a six (6) month period.
A double-entry visa
allows a person to enter the Schengen area twice for 90 days within a six (6) month period.
is granted for several visits to the Schengen area. The total duration of the stay is the number of days stated on the visa, at most 90 days within a six (6) month period. The period of six months starts on the day of entry into Schengen area. The visa is valid for a maximum of five (5) years.
Airport transit visas
are needed by citizens of the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Sri Lanka. If you require an airport transit visa, you are permitted to use the international part of the airport during intermediate landing or during a change between two journeys, and without entering the country in question.
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Content administrator Passport and Visa Unit