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Study Law in Finland 2024

Study in Finland

Earning a Law Degree in Finland

Finland allows anyone to practice law but only individuals obtaining licensing by the Finnish Bar Association can legally use the title of "asianajaja" (literally meaning "lawyer", "advocate" or "attorney"). Lawyers who are considered "asianajaja" have completed a three-year Bachelor of Laws program ("oikeusnotaari") and a two-year Master of Laws ("oikeustieteen maisteri"). In addition, lawyers must also experience a four year apprenticeship with a law firm or private lawyer and pass the bar exam.

The highest law degree students can obtain in Finland is the "Oikeustieteen tohtori", or Doctor of Laws. Students need to earn 60 credits and complete a doctoral dissertation called a "monograph" that is typically around 250 pages. This monograph must also be verbally defended in front of a panel of designated law professors. Law degrees can only be obtained from one of three universities: the University of Lapland, the University of Turku and the University of Helsinki.

Finnish lawyers are allowed to practice independently, in limited companies or in partnerships. In addition, practicing lawyers must spend 18 hours or more in a continuing education course each year to maintain their licensing.

Tuition and Living Expenses

Students wishing to study in a Finnish law program will be happy to know that education is free and financing of living expenses is largely provided by government-based student benefits offered through the Ministry of Education. The World Economic Forum recently ranked Finland's higher education system as the best in the world due to its emphasis on research, science and practical course degrees.

Monthly living expenses in Finland (this includes food, accommodation and travel) is approximately 750 Euros ($1000 USD). Students needing medical insurance are advised to join a student union and obtain a student card from the union which often provides discounts for school-related expenditures.

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Basic monthly living cost

  • Rent in a shared flat

  • Share of utilities

  • Internet subscription

  • Local transportation


Sample lifestyle cost

  • Fast food combo

  • Cinema ticket

  • Pint of local beer


About Finland

Located in Northern Europe where it is bordered by Norway, Sweden, Estonia and Russia, the Nordic country of Finland consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in reference to quality of life, economic opportunities and education. Finland boasted a per capita income of nearly $50,000, one of the highest in the world. Sparsely populated due to its cold climate and rugged terrain, Finland is the eighth largest European country in terms of land measurements, with most of its five million residents living in the southern part of the country, specifically Helsinki, Lahti and Tampere.

Fast Facts about Finland

- The average temperature during winter in south Finland stays below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celsius), with snow remaining on the ground from November to April. However, Finnish summers can get terribly hot. Temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) in mid July are not unusual.

- Farmers in northern Finland focus on animal husbandry, while southern farmers emphasize cereal farming

- In 2002, Finland's currency (the markka) was replaced with the Euro.

- Finland has two official languages: Swedish and Finnish. 90 percent of Finland's population speaks Finnish. English is spoken by 60 percent of Finns while 20 percent speak German.

Government and Legal System of Finland

A parliamentary democracy governed by a prime minister, head of state and a constitution implemented in 2000, Finland allows its citizens to vote in all country elections as well as European elections. Supreme legislative authority is exercised by Finland's unicameral Parliament comprised of 200 individuals who are given the power to change the constitution, override vetoes by the Prime Minsiter and dismiss the cabinet.

Finland's judicial system is based on civil law and divided between administrative courts and criminal/civil courts. Finnish law is based primarily on Swedish law but is also heavily influenced by Roman law. Appellate (regional) courts and local courts decide cases brought to judges in various jurisdictions throughout Finland. A High Court of Impeachment also exists that deals solely with crimes committed by high-ranking holders of government offices.

Punishment for breaking laws in Finland involves probation, fines and community service. Manslaughter, drug trafficking and other serious crimes generally warrant nine years in prison. Finland does give life sentences for premeditated murder but generally awards the prisoner probation after 10 to 15 years. Finland abolished the death penalty in 1971.

Visa Requirements

  1. Short Stay Visa - for a maximum of 90 days’ visits. You may need a visa for example if you are invited to take an entrance exam in Finland, or if you take part in a course or exchange that lasts less than 90 days.
  2. Residence Permit for Studies - a long-term temporary residence permit that is usually granted for one year at a time. If you come to Finland for a student exchange period exceeding three months, or if you have been admitted to a full degree program, you need to apply for this one.

What type of Visa do you need?

Visa name

Short Stay Visa; Residence Permit for Studies

Price and currency

EUR 330

The fees for Finland Residence Permit for Studies for application on paper are currently at EUR 330; and EUR 300 for an electronic application.

Who can apply for the visa?

If you are a Nordic or EU/EEA citizen, you do not need a visa or a residence permit to Finland. However, you are required to register your residence with Migri if your stay in Finland exceeds 90 days (6 months for Nordic citizens). Additionally, if your stay in Finland lasts for more than a year, you should register in the Finnish population system.

If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, you will usually need a visa or a student residence permit. Which one you should apply for, depends on the length of your stay in Finland.

Where can you make the application?

Online / Finnish embassy or consulate

You can start your student residence permit application online at, but in the process, it is also necessary for you to personally visit a Finnish embassy or consulate. A Finnish student residence permit application cannot be processed until the applicant visits the embassy, regardless of whether the application has been submitted electronically or at the embassy itself.


How to make the application?

In order to apply for Finland Student Visa or Residence Permit you must fulfill the following conditions:

  • You must provide the official letter of acceptance issued by your hosting Finnish university.
  • Your passport must have a validity that exceeds the duration of the visa or residence permit you are applying for by at least 3 months.
  • Your passport must have been issued within the previous 10 years.
  • You must have a copy of your completed and signed application form.
  • You must provide proof of your financial ability so as to support yourself financially during your entire period of study in Finland and for your return transportation. At present, a student must have a minimum of EUR 560 per month for staying in Finland. This means the student must have a minimum of EUR 6720 per year for his or her expenses in Finland.
  • You must provide a recent statement of your financial situation from your bank that shows you have at least EUR 6720 in your bank account. Note that students undertaking degree courses in Finland must have funds for one year at a time. Exchange students must have funds for the entire duration of their stay in Finland. In case you do not have the above-mentioned amount in your account, you must provide written evidence of having received a stipend or scholarship or have been selected for benefits to be provided by your educational institute. Note that the bank statements of an applicant’s parents or a shared or joint account will not be accepted for Finland student visa or residence permit.
  • You must provide proof of having obtained valid health and medical insurance that covers the entire duration of your stay in Finland.
  • You must be in good physical and mental health and free from any kind of contagious disease.
  • You must not have a criminal record.
  • You must not have been refused entry into Finland previously.
  • You intend to leave Finland at the end of your authorized stay.

When should you apply?

The processing times of a Finnish student visa vary, you can check them here:

A student residence permit is usually granted for one year at a time. After your first year in Finland (in good time before your previous permit expires) you should apply for an extension of your student residence permit from Migri. You can use the Enter Finland e-service also for this purpose. It’s also worth noting that when you apply for an extended permit when your initial permit is about to expire, you must be in Finland when submitting your application.

Processing time

Work opportunities

If you work alongside your studies, your working hours are limited. You may only work for an average of 25 hours per week during the academic term. The number of working hours is not restricted on a weekly level. This means that you can adjust your weekly working hours during the academic term, as long as you work for 25 hours a week on average.

You can work without restrictions at the times when your educational institution offers no instruction, that is, during summer and Christmas holidays.

You can also complete your thesis in a company or take part in practical training. In these contexts, the working hours are not limited.

Hours per week


Why do you need this type of visa?

Your visa application may be rejected if you are not able to show proof of the required funds, or if you provide incorrect or incomplete documents.