Refugees and asylum seekers

Lead paragraph

Eligibility to apply

A person with refugee status* or an asylum seeker may apply and be accepted to study in education just as any other eligible citizen of Finland or any other country.

If the applicant is a refugee, has status comparable to a refugee** or is an asylum seeker, and he or she cannot thus verify his or her previous degree with relevant documentation, the higher education institution may invite the applicant to take an entrance exam.

The applicant must have a decision by the authorities concerning his or her status (decision on asylum or residence permit on the basis of protection). The applicant must submit a copy of the relevant decision together with a Verification of Educational Background form (available below) within a previously notified time limit to the admissions services of all the higher education institutions where he or she is applying by the given deadline. Check admission criteria for deadline. 

In order to declare his or her status, an asylum seeker who has not yet been granted a decision may verify his or her status by presenting an identity card with his or her photograph granted by Migri and a fee-based (€20) pending application by Migri that states that the applicant is permitted to legally reside in Finland during the time when his or her case is being processed, i.e. until a lawful decision has been made on the case.

* a person with refugee status i.e. asylum = Residence outside of one's country of origin or country of former habitual residence owing to a justified fear of being persecuted in the country concerned. The reason for persecution must be the person's origin, religion, nationality, membership in a certain social group, or political opinions. It is also assumed that because of the person's fear, he or she is unwilling to turn to the country concerned for protection.

** a person whose status is comparable to a refugee is a person provided with subsidiary protection = the person faces a risk of being subjected to the death penalty, execution, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in his or her home country or country of former habitual residence. A permit may also be issued if the person is unable to return to his or her home country or country of former habitual residence without being exposed to serious and individual threat as a result of an armed conflict in the country concerned.

Download the Verification of Educational Background form here:

More information
Admission Services
+358 400 230 409