Internship Legislation and Student Visa in Finland

Guide to Seamlessly Maneuvering Internships and Student Visas in Finland

Finland, nestled in Northern Europe, is renowned not only for its captivating natural beauty and rich cultural heritage but also as a focal point for students and budding professionals. The country boasts a harmonious blend of Nordic traditions, making it a melting pot of European customs and influences. As a nation that values education and innovation, Finland attracts global businesses and top-tier educational institutions, providing students with access to an expansive global network and opportunities to collaborate with leading organizations.

For those contemplating study programs, training, or internships in Finland, it’s crucial to understand that internships cannot be undertaken without a residence permit. This permit is always for a fixed term and can be granted for up to 18 months. Moreover, unpaid internships do not qualify for a residence permit, emphasizing the importance of monetary compensation for interns. The recent legislation, introduced on April 15, further simplifies the process for international students, aiming to enhance their entry and stay in the country. Piktalent continues to be a reliable platform, offering a plethora of business internships in Finland, ensuring aspirants are well-equipped to embark on their professional journey in a progressive industry.

EU citizens

Internships in Finland offer a unique blend of professional growth and cultural immersion. For EU citizens aspiring to intern in Finland, being well-versed with the updated 2023 internship legislation is essential. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the key aspects of internship legislation in Finland for EU citizens.

1. Visa Requirements:
  • EU and Nordic Citizens: Citizens from EU Member States, Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden), Liechtenstein, or Switzerland don’t require a residence permit to stay in Finland. However, if you plan to stay for more than three months, you must apply for EU registration. Source

2. Residence & Registration:
  • EU Registration: If you’re staying in Finland for longer than three months, you need to register your right of residence. This registration ensures your legal stay in the country. Even if you’ve registered your details in the Population Information System at a Local Register Office, you still need to apply for this registration at the Finnish Immigration Service.
  • Duration of Stay: If your stay is less than three months, you don’t need to register your residence. The three-month calculation restarts every time you re-enter Finland after travelling abroad.
3. Duration and Conditions
  • EU citizens can apply for a residence permit for an internship in Finland for up to 18 months.
  • Eligibility criteria include being between 18 and 30 years of age and either studying the Finnish or Swedish language at a university outside Finland or having the internship align with your field of study or degree.
  • Applying within two years of completing a higher education degree is advantageous.
4. Internship Contract for Interns
  • All internships must be in an employment relationship and cannot replace a regular job.
5. Remuneration and Unpaid Internships
  • The internship salary must meet the KELA criterion, set at 1331 €/month in 2023.
  • Internships should have clear educational and learning objectives that support the trainee’s development.
6. Health Insurance & Tax Implications:
  • Healthcare: Ensure you possess a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for easy access to Finnish medical services.
  • Taxation:  Details regarding social security contributions for interns, especially the distinction between curricular or extra-curricular internships, require further exploration.
7. Extensions & New Procedures:

Always check for any new procedures or requirements if your stay extends or your work situation changes. EU citizens have a lot of flexibility, but staying updated ensures a hassle-free experience.

8. Vital Steps for a Seamless Stay:
  • Registration: Register your right of residence if you are staying for more than three months.
  • Health Insurance: Ensure you have valid health insurance that covers you in Finland.
  • Local Integration: Engage in local community events and learn the Finnish or Swedish language. It helps in integrating faster and understanding the local culture.
  • Stay Updated: Regularly check official Finnish immigration websites or consult with local authorities for any updates in regulations.
9. Ensuring a Seamless and Enjoyable Stay

Finland is known for its high quality of life, excellent public services, and beautiful landscapes. To make the most of your stay:

  • Ensure eligibility based on the conditions set for internships.
  • Secure an internship contract that complies with Finnish regulations.
  • Understand the remuneration structure, especially for unpaid internships.
  • After arriving in Finland, ensure compliance with entry requirements.
  • Apply for a personal identity number if necessary.
  • Stay informed about any social security contributions or obligations.
  • Familiarize yourself with the remuneration laws for internships.
  • Follow the essential steps mentioned above for a smooth internship experience.
Finland offers a plethora of opportunities for EU citizens. With minimal bureaucratic hurdles and a welcoming environment, it’s a destination worth considering for work and life.

Non-EU citizens

Finland offers a structured process for non-EU citizens wishing to undertake internships within its borders. Here’s a comprehensive guide based on the latest updates:

1. Visa and Residence Permit Requirements
  • Non-EU citizens desiring to intern in Finland need to apply for a specific residence permit for internships. This application should be submitted:

    • Within two years of completing a higher education degree.
    • While currently enrolled in a course leading to a higher education degree, provided the internship aligns with the field of study.
2. Duration and Applicability of the Residence Permit
  • The residence permit for internships can be granted for up to 18 months. It’s tailored for those:

    • Coming to Finland for an internship or an unpaid traineeship via programs like Erasmus+.
    • Participating in internships that are part of state agreements or non-governmental organization exchange programs.
3. Specific Conditions for Internship Applicants
  • To qualify for the internship residence permit, one must meet one of the following criteria:

    • Apply within two years of completing a higher education degree.
    • Be currently enrolled in a course leading to a higher education degree, with the internship matching the study field.
    • Be aged between 18 and 30, studying Finnish or Swedish at a university outside Finland.
    • Be aged between 18 and 30, studying at a university outside Finland, with the internship aligning with their studies or degree.
4. Key Requirements for Internships in Finland
  • The internship must always be within an employment relationship.
  • It cannot replace a regular job.
  • Secure means of support is essential
5. Unpaid Training Programs
  • For those participating in unpaid training programs, the program should have:
    • Established and maintained activity.
    • Educational and learning objectives support the trainee’s development.
  • Non-EU graduates can seek an extended residence permit for up to two years, aiding their job hunt.
6. Vital Steps for a Seamless Stay
  • Fulfil general entry requirements: valid passport, no entry prohibition, and no threat to public order, health, security, or Finland’s international relations.
  • Await your residence permit in the same country or locality of application submission.
7. Key Recommendations for a Rewarding Experience
  • Ensure the internship is in an employment relationship and doesn’t substitute a job.
  • Secure financial means.
  • For unpaid programs, the program should have a consistent, established activity with clear educational and learning objectives.
By adhering to these guidelines and staying updated with Finland’s regulations, non-EU citizens can ensure a productive and enriching internship experience in Finland.

Finnish Working Visas

Job regulations for foreigners
Don't let the visa process stress you out

Book a 30-minute call Premium VISA service

Piktalent Services for Finland

We can provide a range of services to make the internship experience unforgettable.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, citizens from EU Member States, Nordic countries, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland don’t need a residence permit for stays in Finland under three months.

EU citizens staying longer than three months must register their right of residence with the Finnish Immigration Service to ensure their legal stay.

EU citizens should carry a European Health Insurance Card for healthcare and obtain a Finnish personal identity code and tax card if working in Finland.


Always check for new procedures or requirements to ensure a hassle-free experience when circumstances change.

Register your residence, have valid health insurance, engage with the local community, and stay updated on immigration regulations for a seamless and enjoyable stay.

Non-EU citizens who have completed a higher education degree within two years or are currently in a relevant course can apply for this permit.

The permit is valid for up to 18 months and is suitable for internships or unpaid traineeships.

Yes, state agreements, NGO exchange programs, and intra-corporate transfers have specific permits.

No, interns must wait for the permit before starting their training and can only perform work related to the internship.

Meet entry requirements, apply from the same location, and await your permit in the same country.

Ensure the internship is an employment relationship, have financial support, and for unpaid programs, clear educational objectives are essential.

Internships should not replace regular jobs and must always be in an employment relationship.

If you are interested in finding a job or internship in Finland

Be sure to check out our board of vacancies.

Available vacancies in Finland

Board of vacancies