Once you have received a study offer from a school, the next thing on your mind will be to obtain a visa which will enable you travel to your new school. Visa requirements vary from country to country. In today’s post, I’m going to explain how to obtain a visa or study permit to study in Germany and Finland. But before I do that, let me briefly explain the difference between visa and study permit. A visa is an endorsement made by an authorized representative of one country upon a passport issued by another, permitting the passport holder entry into or transit through the country making the endorsement. Whereas a study permit is the official document granted by the Government of that country that gives you permission to study in the country. It also gives you the right to remain in the country for the duration of the permit. However, as a student, you will need both the visa and study permit. The visa allows you travel to the country you intend to study, while the study permit allows you study in the country for a period of time. Let’s now look at how a student can apply for these important documents to study in Germany and Finland.
A student will need a visa if he/she wishes to study in Germany. However, this does not apply to EU nationals or citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Once you’ve received an offer of study from a German institution, the next thing is to start processing your visa. The following documents will be needed at the German embassy when you want to apply for a visa:
Proof of financial resources
You will need to provide a proof that you have the resources to take care of yourself while studying in Germany. Income or assets of around 8,000 euro are usually required per year (approx. 659 euro per month). Inquire at the German embassy in your country about how you should provide proof that you have sufficient financial resources. The following types of financial proof are recognized at the embassy:
- Security on a blocked account
- Proof of parents’ income and assets
- Bank guarantee
- Someone whose place of residence is in Germany agrees to assume the costs for you
- Scholarship from a recognized scholarship foundation
Apart from the proof for financial resources, you will also need other documents to apply for your visa in Germany and they include; proof of previous study, proof of health insurance, proof of German language skills or plans to take a language course in Germany, for a visa for study purposes: letter of acceptance from your university (or confirmation that you are expecting to receive a letter of acceptance soon), for a student applicant visa: a higher education entrance qualification that is recognized in German.
Students who apply to schools in Finland are usually invited to take part in an entrance examination. However if you are invited to Finland to take part in an entrance examination, and/or if you are eventually accepted as a degree student, you’ll need to acquire the necessary entry documents to Finland. When applying for a student residence permit, you usually need to visit the local Finnish embassy in person. If your home country does not have a Finnish embassy, you usually need to travel to a Finnish embassy in some neighboring country. Therefore it is very important that you check the visa/student residence permit application procedures well in advance! At the Finnish embassy, you will need the following documents for your visa:
Proof of financial resources
International students (non-EU/EEA students) need to show that they have at least 560€ per month (6720€ per year) at their disposal. This is the absolute minimum required by the immigration authorities, but it is highly recommended that you reserve at least 700-900 euros per month.
Other documents you will also need for your visa include; proof of previous study, letter of acceptance from your university, higher education entrance qualification that is recognized in Finland etc.
How to apply
Kindly locate any of these countries embassy, go there with the above mentioned documents and you will be guided on what to do. Note that it can take several weeks or even months to process a visa application. So prepare you application well in advance!