Finland is a very popular tourist destination. It’s surrounded by 73% of forestry and it has nearly 200,000 lakes, which make for some fantastic sights. Plus the view of the northern lights there is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
However, not everyone can simply pack up and visit Finland. Some people need to apply for a Finland tourist visa (also known as a Schengen visa). For those who have never applied for a visa, the phrasing and application process may seem intimidating, but once you get the gist of it you should have no troubles.
Do I Need a Tourist Visa for Finland?
Here is a list of visitors who don’t need a tourist visa to visit Finland:
- Tourists from the Schengen Area or the EEA/EU.
- Tourists from the US., New Zealand, Australia, Monaco, San Marino, Republic of Andorra, and Japan.
- Tourists from the Nordic countries.
Any visitor from another country or a country that doesn’t have a visa agreement with Finland will need a visa for Finland.
Finland Tourist Visa Requirement
When you apply for a Finland Tourist Visa you need to put together a list of required documents:
- Valid passport. It’s important that you hold a valid passport when you apply for a Finland tourist visa. Your passport should be valid even three months after you return from your visit and it should have been issued during the last decade.
- Finland Tourist Visa Application Form. You have to fill in the visa application form so that you can attach it to your documents. Please make sure that you fill it in with the correct and updated information.
- Identity Picture. A recent identity picture is also required. You should make sure that you are following the Schengen visa photo rules when you take your picture.
- Travel Insurance. In order to qualify for a Schengen visa, you need to provide travel insurance. The insurance needs to be up to the amount of €30,000 and cover any kind of medical emergencies during your travel.
- Travel Itinerary. Some embassies may ask for a detailed travel itinerary where you write your departure and return dates, your flight number, and your visit plans. They usually ask for this to make sure that you won’t be overstaying after your visa is expired. You don’t have to actually purchase a ticket for this; you can simply reserve the flight tickets.
- Proof of accommodation in Finland. You need to provide evidence that you have secured accommodation for the duration of your stay in Finland. You can either attach proof of hotel bookings or rental agreements.
- Copies of Previous Schengen Visas. If you were issued any type of Schengen visa before you apply for a Finland tourist visa then you need to attach the copies of that visa to your application.
- Copies of Previous Passports.
- Copy of Passport Bio Page. Finland now requires that all applicants attach a copy of their passport’s bio page to the application, so make sure you add that as well.
- Financial Means. You must also provide evidence that you can finance your visit to Finland.
- Invitation Letter. If you were invited by a family member or friend then you must also attach an invitation letter to your application. This letter should contain all the details of your inviter and their residence status.
- Employment Status Document. Depending on your current status you may be asked to provide:
- Work contract.
- Pension statement (if retired).
- Student records (if a student).
- Cover Letter. You also need to write a cover letter where you state the reason why you want to visit Finland, where you plan to go, and when you will return.
- Civil Status Documents. You may also be asked to provide copies of your birth certificate, marriage license, divorce papers, or adoption papers. It all depends on your personal situation and the embassy.
- Residence Certificate. You need to provide a document proving that you are living legally in your current country of residence.
Keep in mind that when it comes to requirements the embassies can ask for any other documents depending on various reasons. You may also be asked to legalize some documents, please make sure you check in with a local Finnish mission.
How to Apply for a Finland Tourist Visa?
This is what you need to do when you want to apply for a Finland tourist visa:
- Fill in your visa application form.
- Assemble all your documents.
- Find a local Finnish mission.
- Make an appointment.
- Prepare for an interview.
Step 1. Fill in your visa application form
The visa application form is an essential document that is always required when you apply for a Schengen visa. So, make sure you fill this in first with all the correct information. Your request will most likely be rejected if the form is filled incorrectly.
Step 2. Assemble all your documents
Once you fill in your form you can continue with the rest of the documents (see above). Please check beforehand if any of your documents need to be legalized, you can ask your local embassy and they will let you know.
All your documents need to be either in English, Finnish or Swedish; if they are not you have to translate them through a verified translator.
Step 3. Find a local Finnish mission
Embassies or local official Finnish missions in your country of residence are in charge of reviewing visa applications. So, make sure you find the nearest authoritative office. There may be some cases where Finland is represented by another Schengen country, in this case, the application process time will take much longer than usual.
Step 4. Make an appointment
When you are ready to apply at the embassy you need to schedule an appointment for your hand-in. Most of the time the appointments are made via email but you can also make an appointment in person.
Step 5. Prepare for an interview
The embassy will probably ask you to sit in for an interview after you’ve submitted your application. You will be asked questions related to your reason for visiting and similar details around your trip.
When Should I Apply for a Finland Tourist Visa?
You should apply at least two weeks before your departure date. You can apply earlier than this, however, this is the latest you should apply since the processing time usually takes about 15 days.
Please keep in mind that if Finland in your country is represented by another Schengen state then the processing time takes longer, so apply earlier in this case.
see also: Finland Work Visa
What Are the Finland Tourist Visa Fees?
These are the tourist visa fees for Finland:
- For an adult: €80
- For children between the ages 6 and 11: €40
- For children under the age of 6: free
- For holders of diplomatic passports: free
For residents of countries that have a visa facilitation agreement with Finland the fee is €35 (see the list below).
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Cape Verde
- Russian Federation
Don’t forget: your visa fee is non-refundable even if you don’t get a visa.
How Long Can I Stay in Finland With a Tourist Visa?
A Finland tourist visa is valid for three months within a six-month period. This means that you can spend 90 days within a 180 days period in Finland. Please don’t pass your limit otherwise you risk being banned from the Schengen area altogether. You can always check with the visa calculator.
Can I Visit Other Countries With a Finland Tourist Visa?
Yes, you can. A Schengen visa is valid for all the countries in the Schengen Area and the EEA/EU so you can visit any country within this zone. But, keep in mind that all the days you spend visiting other countries are counted as per your 90/180-day rule.
What if I Need to Stay Longer in Finland?
If you need to stay longer than 90 days in Finland you can apply for a visa extension. Since a visa is rarely extended you must have a really strong reason.
In cases of unexpected personal business, such as a sudden wedding or funeral, or if you are facing a force majeure, such as a natural disaster or a difficult political situation in your country, or you have an unexpected illness your visa can be extended.
A visa extension is issued by the Police authority in Finland.
If you plan to stay longer than the validity of a tourist visa you can apply for a national visa. A national visa usually allows the holder to stay for 3 months up to 6, and afterward, you can even apply for a residence permit.