A Schengen visa is an entry permit for a short, temporary stay for less than 90 days within a 180-day period. A Schengen visa issued by one of the Schengen countries allows a person to travel within the whole Schengen area. Applying for a visa does not guarantee issuance. A visa issued by a Schengen country permits free movement within the Schengen area, unless otherwise stated on the visa sticker. A visa does not provide an automatic right to entry and thus visa holders are requested to present proof that they meet the entry requirements at the external border.
Schengen member states are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Great Britain, Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania have not signed the Schengen contract.
Visa Code (810/2009/EC) is applied in all Schengen countries when processing Schengen visas. The visa code is a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council.
US citizens do not need to obtain a visa if they stay in Finland for less than 90 days within a 180-day period but their passport shall be valid for a minimum of three months after the journey. When staying in Finland for a longer period of time, a residence permit which is issued by the Finnish Immigration Service is required (see Residence permits).
If you are a foreign national requiring a visa, you must have one when entering the Schengen area. If you would normally need a visa but have a valid residence permit in one of the Schengen countries, you do not need a visa to enter another Schengen country.
Please check if you need a visa to enter the Schengen area and which travel documents are accepted by Finland:
Schengen countries began to collect fingerprints from visa customers at all missions in North America on the15th May 2014. The first biometric Schengen visa has to be applied for in person from an embassy, a consulate general or a consulate of the main destination in a country where an applicant lives or legally resides. If the main destination is Finland, a visa must be applied for from a Finnish mission. An appointment is required and may be set by calling or sending an e-mail in advance.
If the visit includes more than one destination, a visa is applied for from the country that is the main destination of the journey (length of the stay or the purpose). If no main destination can be determined, a visa is applied for the country of the first entry.
In certain cases Finland may be represented by another Schengen country, from which a Schengen visa to Finland must be applied for (in the Washington DC area Finland is represented by Sweden, see below).
You can apply for the visa from the Consulate General of Finland in New York or Los Angeles or from the Embassy of Sweden in Washington DC depending on your jurisdiction. Honorary consulates do not process visas.
Embassy, Washington D.C.
Tel: +1-202-298 5800
Customer service by appointment only Mon-Fri 9.00 am -12.00 pm
Telephone inquiries: Mon-Fri 9.00 am -12.00 pm and 1 pm - 4.15pm
Please note: Finnish Embassy no longer issues visas. Visa applicants residing in Washington D.C., Virginia or Maryland should contact the Embassy of Sweden, which represents Finland in visa matters.
Consulate General, New York
Tel. +1-212-750 4400
Customer service by appoinment only: Mon-Fri 9.00 am -12.00 pm, both Mon and Thu 1.30 pm - 4.30 pm
Telephone inquiries: Mon-Fri 9.00 am -12.00 pm
Consulate General, Los Angeles
Tel: +1-310-203 9903
Customer service by appointment only Mon-Thu 9.00 am-12.00 pm
Telephone inquiries Mon-Thu 12.30 pm -1.30 pm, Fri 10.00 am - 12.00 pm
All passports, except diplomatic and service/official passports, shall be stamped by the diplomatic mission showing the date and place of submitting the visa application. However, this stamp has no legal implications.
It is advisable to apply for a visa well in advance of the planned date of travel. The application can be submitted a maximum of 3 months ahead of the trip. The processing time for a visa is usually 15 days, 10 days for the nationals from the visa facilitation agreement countries. In some cases the processing time may take up to 60 days. The applications are processed in the order of arrival. Expedited requests cannot be taken into consideration, for example, in the case of flight tickets bought in advance.
The required supporting documents are imposed in the Visa Code and agreed upon in the local Schengen cooperation and might vary in different countries. Incomplete documents may have a negative effect on the decision. Supporting documents are not returned. Applicants may be required to submit additional documents and applicant may be called for a separate interview.
The visa application can be downloaded, filled out electronically and printed from the link below. Applications are also available at the missions.
- emergency medical expenses
- emergency hospital treatment
- repatriation for medical reasons or death
Applicants applying for a multiple entry visa must acquire insurance for the duration of the first trip and sign the section on the last page of the application form: “Applicable in case a multiple entry visa is applied for. I am aware of the need to have an adequate travel medical insurance for my first stay and subsequent visits to the territory of Member States”.
A single-entry visa
is issued for one journey during which you can stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
A double-entry visa
allows entry to the Schengen area twice for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
is granted for several visits to the Schengen area. The total duration of the stay is the number of days stated on the visa, however being a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
Airport transit visas
are needed by citizens of certain countries when they are transferring flights between the international parts of the airports without entering the country in question.
The visa fee may vary monthly due to currency exchanges. Please check out the updated service fees. Service fees also include exceptions (children and applicant from visa facilitation agreement countries and free visas. Payment in US dollars in cash (exact change), money order or certified check made out to e.g. Consulate General of Finland (Los Angeles, New York) depending on the place. In case of refusal, the visa fee is not returned. If the visa decision (issued or refused) is preferred to be returned with a commercial courier (FedEx), a postal fee of USD 10 is collected. It is paid along with the visa fee.
The applicant will be informed via e-mail when the visa decision (visa or refusal) has been made. Decision can be collected in person from the mission during the customer service hours or by providing a power of attorney. The visa decision can also be returned via mail if the applicant has paid the FedEx fee (USD 10). The Applicant’s own return envelope cannot be accepted.
In case the conditions for granting a visa are not fulfilled, the visa will be refused. The grounds for a refused visa are informed in writing according to the Visa Code and are based on certain grounds mentioned in the Visa Code. Additional explanations are not given.
A visa applicant may request a rectification from the decision making authority (instructions for a rectification are attached on the visa refusal). The rectification must be submitted in Finnish or Swedish within thirty (30) days from the date the decision was informed to the applicant. Google translations cannot be accepted. An applicant cannot submit a complaint against the visa decision to the administrative court. An exception is a family member of an EU citizen who has used their free movement and is entitled to lodge complaints with the Helsinki Administrative Court.