A Schengen visa is an entry permit for a short, temporary stay for less than 90 days within 6 months. A Schengen visa issued by one Schengen country allows a person to travel within the whole Schengen area. Applying for a visa does not guarantee it will be issued. A visa issued by a Schengen country permits free movement within the Schengen area, unless otherwise stated on the visa sticker. Visa does not give you an automatic right to entry and the holders of visa are requested to present proof that they meet the requirements regarding the entry conditions 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. EU countries, Great Britain and Ireland have not signed the Schengen contract.
Visa Code (810/2009/EC) is applied in all Schengen countries when processing and deciding Schengen visas. 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 less than 90 days within 6 months. When staying in Finland longer period of time, a residence permit which is issued by Finnish Immigration Service is required (see Residence permits).
If you are a foreign national requiring a visa, you must have one when entering to the Schengen area. If you would normally need a visa but have a valid residence permit in one of Schengen countries, you do not need a visa to enter another Schengen country.
Please check if you need a visa to the Schengen area and which travel documents are accepted by Finland:
A Schengen visa is applied 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 from a Finnish mission.
If the visit includes more than one destination, a visa is applied from a country which 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 from a Schengen mission of a 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 form (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.
The Embassy of Sweden in Washington DC
if the applicant resides in Washington D.C., MD, VA.
The Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles
if the applicant resides in AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, NM, NV,MT, OR , UT, WA, WY.
(Please find contact information and customer service hours below)
The Consulate General of New York
if the applicant resides in AL, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MA, MI, MN, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX,VT, WV, WI.
(Please find contact information and customer service hours below)
Generally, the application needs to be submitted in person. In that case an appointment is required and may be done by calling or sending e-mail in advance. There may be exceptions regarding whether the application can be mailed to the mission. The mission may call an applicant for a interview to clarify the purpose of the trip. Please find contact information and customer service hours below:
Embassy, Washington D.C.
Tel: +1-202-298 5800
Customer service for passports and residence permits:
Mon-Fri 9.00 am-12.00 pm
by appointment only
Please note: As of October 1, 2011, the Finnish Embassy no longer issues visas. Visa applicants residing in Washington DC, 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 noon and Mon-Thu 1.30 pm-4.30 pm
Telephone inquiries: Mon-Fri 9.00 am-12.00 noon
Consulate General, Los Angeles
Tel: +1-310-203 9903
Customer service (passports & visas):
Mon-Fri 9.00am - 12.00pm
by appointment only
Telephone inquiries for passports and consular matters:
Mon-Fri 12.30 pm-1.30 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 for 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 takes usually 15 days and 10 days for the nationals coming 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 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.
Visa application can be downloaded, filled out electronically and printed from the link below. Applications are also available in 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 six (6) month period.
A double-entry visa
allows to enter the Schengen area twice for a maximum of 90 days within a six (6) month 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 90 days within a six (6) month period. The period of six months starts on the day of entry into Schengen area.
Airport transit visas
are needed by citizens of certain countries when they are transferring the flights between the international parts of the airports without entering the country in question.
Visa fee may vary monthly due to currency exchanges. Please check out the updated service fees. Service fee also includes 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 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 from the mission during the customer service hours in person or by providing a power of attorney. Visa decision can also be returned via mail if the applicant has paid FedEx fee (USD 10). 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 notified in written 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 of a rectificationan are attached on the a visa refusal). The rectification must be submitted in Finnish or Swedish within thirty (30) days from the date when 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 family members of EU citizens who have used their free movement, who are entitled to lodge complaints with Helsinki Administrative Court.