Banking – a necessary support of your livelihood in Finland
For your best experience of moving to and living in Finland, you need to have feasible banking services that allow you to take care of all the finance matters related to your studies at HAMK. In Finland, the most common method of payment is a debit or credit card. Foreign debit and credit cards can be used in Finland, but it is best to check with your card provider before arriving in Finland. Remember to visit your local bank to set up the international banking services before you come to Finland.
Payment cards in Finland are chip and pin cards. If your debit or credit card is not a chip and pin card, we would strongly advise you to check with your bank if a chip and pin card is available for you.
Invoices including rent and utilities are usually paid by direct debit or by a monthly bank transfer directly to the service provider´s bank account.
You can open a bank account in Finland, which we recommend you to do so if your studies in Finland last longer than a year. In order to open a bank account, you need your passport and your Finnish ID card. For degree students, you can only open a Finnish bank account after you arrive in Finland and after you have got your ID card. See how to apply for a ID card here. This is closely related to your immigration process, you can find out more from here.
For exchange students, it is not necessary for you to open a Finnish bank account, unless you find it useful for your own situation. It is important that you set up the internet banking by visiting your local bank in person before you come to Finland.
If you have questions or need advice on banking matters in Finland, you can contact the Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau (FINE). The service is free of charge.
Initial costs for your immigration to Finland
Whether you are applying for a residence permit for studies or registering your right of residence in Finland, there are some initial costs to be considered. A careful preparation of financial resources will help speed up your application or registration process fast.
Proof of incomes
If you need to have a residence permit to study in Finland, you must provide proof of having at least €560 per month to support your livelihood in Finland. In order to have a residence permit for the whole duration of your studies (3,5-4years), you will need €6,720 in total in your own bank account.
Finnish Immigration Services MIGRI: Income requirement for students
HAMK: Immigration Information
If you need to pay for the tuition fees for your degree studies at HAMK, you need to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds for your tuition fees in your application for the residence permit.
HAMK: Tuition fees and scholarship programme
StudyInfo Finland: Am I required to pay tuition fees?
Application fee for residence permit / right of residence
The application for a residence permit is subject to fees. If you apply through MIGRI online services, the cost is €350 for the first permit. If you choose to apply through paper, the cost is €450 for the first permit.
For registration of right of residence (citizens of EU/EEA countries), the application fee is €54 for both online application and paper application.
Finnish Immigration Services:
Residence permit application for studies
Registration of right of residence
HAMK: Immigration Information
In order to get a residence permit or register your right of residence, you must take private insurance that can cover your medical expenses. HAMK also requires all foreign students to have extensive insurance coverage for their studies. The insurance must be valid when you arrive in Finland. The insurance fee depends on the insurance you take out. If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), you then do not need to take out other insurance.
Finnish Immigration Services: Insurance requirements for international students in Finland
HAMK: Immigration Information
Cost of living in Finland
The expected monthly living costs varies, and it depends on your personal lifestyle. On average, students spend €850 – €1000 per month on their living in Finland.
Example of a monthly budget:
- Daily hot meal at school: €3,20/meal, all together approximately €70/month
- Groceries: €430/month (depending on your lifestyle)
- Rent: around €400 (own room in a shared student apartment with 1-2 students. Rents varies between campuses. Read more about accommodation possibilities here)
Student benefits in Finland
As a student in Finland, you are entitled to many students benefits. For example, you can purchase discounted student tickets for local transportation; you can get tasty hot meals in the campus with students-friendly price; you are entitled to Finnish Student Health Service FSHS after you pay a small amount of health care fee to Kela (Finnish Social and Health Care Services). Read the following for more information.
Student card is a sign that you are a member of a student union. An official student card allows you access to various student benefits not only on campus but also all over Finland. You can get student discounts for everyday hot meals on campus. You can also activate your accessibility to many services on campus, such as library self-services, entering campus buildings and sports halls. With the student card, you can get student tickets for public transportation, such as Finnish Train Services VR, Nationwide Bus Services Matkahuolto, and local public transport.
You can obtain your student card from HAMK Student Union HAMKO by becoming a member of the Student Union. Joining the student union is about 20 – 30 EUR per semester. You can also choose the join the union for longer period. The longer you are a member of the Student Union, the cheaper the membership fee will be.
Alternatively, you can also download a free digital student card app Frank. This student card is also valid for discounted student meals, public transportation tickets and many other discount possibilities. But please note that this card does not give your access to HAMK´s premises outside office hours, whereas HAMKO´s student card can.
HAMK Student Union:
Become a member of HAMKO
Frank app: the free digital student card
Each HAMK campus offers tasty hot meals on a student-friendly price. You need to show a student card or Kela meal subside card when you purchase the meal. You can either obtain the Kela meal subside card from the Student Services office (this card is free of charge); or you can get the student card from HAMK Student Union HAMKO.
HAMK Student Services:
Contact information by campus
HAMKO: student card
Finnish student health care services
Students in Finnish universities of applied sciences are entitled to Finnish Student Health Service FSHS when they pay a health care fee to Kela (Finnish Social and Health Care Services). The health care fee is compulsory only for degree students.
You do not have to pay the healthcare fee if you have social security coverage from another EU/EEA country, from Switzerland or from Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Check here for more information if you have social security coverage from another EU/EEA country (including also Switzerland, Great Britain, and Northern Ireland).
For the autumn semester, the due date is 30 September provided that you have registered as attending by then. If you register as attending for the autumn semester on or after 1 October, the due date is 31 December.
For the spring semester, the due date is 31 January provided that you have registered as attending by then. If you register as attending for the spring semester on or after 1 February, the due date is 31 July.
Kela will not send you an invoice for the fee, so you must make sure to pay it on your own initiative. You can pay the healthcare fee via Kela’s e-service OmaKela (available in Finnish and Swedish only) or make a bank transfer using the banking information provided on the Kela’s official page. The amount of healthcare fee for students in higher education is adjusted annually. In 2022, the fee is 30 – 40 EUR per semester. You must pay the student healthcare fee for each semester.
Finnish Social and Health Care Services Kela: How to pay the student healthcare fee in higher education in Finland (payment of the healthcare fee and the due dates for payment)
Service providers front page:
Finnish Social and Health Care Services Kela
Finnish Student Health Service FSHS
Travelling to Finland and to HAMK campuses
You will come to Finland and HAMK campuses via different means of transportation, so be prepared for fees needed for all the transportation, including flight tickets (or ferry tickets), bus tickets, petrol fees (if you plan to drive to Finland), train tickets (note that train is not a viable option at the moment due to Ukraine war). Plan your trip to Finland and to HAMK campuses by checking out our Campuses and Maps section. In Finland, you can purchase student tickets for public transportation, which are usually half price. When you first come to Finland, show the acceptance letter from HAMK when your student status is checked. Or you can also download a free digital student card app Frank. This student card is also valid for discounted student meals, public transportation tickets and many other discount possibilities. But please note that this card does not give your access to HAMK´s premises outside office hours, whereas HAMKO´s student card can.
HAMK Student Union: HAMKO
Frank App: the free digital student card
Deposit for your apartment
For some student accommodation and for almost all the private rental accommodation options, a deposit is required for confirming the housing offer given to you beforehand. The deposit is usually about a one-month rental payment for your apartment.
In case you need to pay a deposit and the first monthly rent before you have a Finnish bank account, you must confirm with your local bank about international banking services, particularly about possibilities of online banking. You may do the transferring by visiting one of your local banks and ask the clerks to make the transfer for you once you get the deposit and/or rent invoices. If you do that, remember to keep the transfer confirmation receipts, and send the receipts to your accommodation provider.
HAMK: Accommodation by campus
Rent for your apartment
Note that in Finland, private rental apartments are usually more expensive than student apartments. Housing companies that offer student apartments are either owned by the universities, or they have agreement contracts with the universities. If you are offered a student apartment, we recommend you take it. In addition to higher monthly rental prices, private rental apartments usually do not include electricity, nor light bulbs or internet, which requires you to make separate contracts with different services providers. In that case, you will need to have a Finnish ID card so as to proceed, which means that it takes a longer time for you to have all the necessary services set up for your living in Finland.
Furnishing your apartment
If it is your first time to be living in Finland, it is very likely that you need to furnish your apartment. Only some apartments for exchange students are furnished. Other apartments, whether they are from student accommodation providers, city-owned public sectors, or private providers, are unfurnished. However, it is not difficult to buy furniture for your apartment. Besides getting new furniture, you can also shop for second-hand items almost anywhere. Finland is a country where people value and practice sustainable living. If you plan to get second-hand items, the price starts from €100.
You can find information on shopping opportunities on both HAMK´s accommodation and living and leisure time webpages.
This is Finland: Living everyday life sustainably in Finland
SIM card and internet
SIM card for mobile phone
You can get a Finnish phone number by purchasing a Finnish SIM card. There are many mobile phone SIM card providers in Finland, so it is good to compare the services and fees of different companies and choose the one that suits you the most. Some of the Finnish mobile phone operators that you can purchase services from are:
If you have a Finnish identity card and a bank account, you can take out a mobile phone subscription with one of the above-mentioned providers. A subscription allows you to pay your phone bills at the end of each month and no payment in advance is needed. To purchase a mobile phone subscription, you need to visit the service provider personally or make a phone call.
If you do not have a Finnish identity card, you can buy a pre-paid SIM card. With a pre-paid card, you need to top up your phone before you can start making phone calls or using the internet. You can get pre-paid SIM cards at R-kioski, some supermarkets or over the internet. The physical prepaid sim card costs about €5 to €10 and it usually comes with the same amount of credit in it. With a prepaid sim card, you can also purchase a service package, which costs around €20 – €30 per month.
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency TRAFICOM: Internet and telephone subscriptions
HAMK: Living and Leisure time (shopping opportunities included)
Internet connection is an inseparable part of our everyday life. When you are in Finland, there are many places where you can get public internet for free, for example libraries, on the bus and the train, and in some cafes. After you have activated your HAMK student ID, you can access the internet when you are at the campus. Almost all the student accommodation and some private rental apartments include a 10 Mb/s internet. If you need to purchase or upgrade internet connection services, you can contact the primary internet providers in Finland, which are also providers of telephone, mobile services, and TV services.
It pays to compare the services and fees of different internet providers. Offers may vary a lot among different providers, but also within the same one (e.g., seasonal discounts). There are other internet providers, which you can find by searching “internet providers in Finland” or “internetliittymä” on the internet.
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency TRAFICOM: Internet and telephone subscriptions
It is recommended to take out home insurance if you live in a rental apartment in Finland. For most private accommodation providers, it is compulsory. With most of HAMK´s student accommodation providers, it is not compulsory, but it is worth to have a home insurance. Home insurance coverage depends on the contract and may include, robbery of property, damage to furniture or others. The fees depend on the type and the coverage of the insurance. Also, different service provides offer the same type of insurance at different prices.
You can consider contacting one of the home insurance providers:
The insurance providers might provide information online in Finnish and in Swedish only, but you can contact them via phone or by visiting their local offices, as the personnel usually is able to provide you with services in English.
If you want to purchase other insurance in Finland, such as motor vehicle insurance, life, pet, or travel insurance, you can consult services from the above-mentioned insurance providers. Note that it is compulsory to purchase a motor vehicle insurance if you own a car in Finland.
If you have questions concerning purchasing insurance in Finland, you can contact the Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau (FINE). The service is free of charge.
Owning a car in Finland
It is good to know that car services in Finland are rather expensive. It is compulsory to have a car insurance. If you plan to buy a car in Finland, it is wise to get a used car instead of a new one.
NB: You need to have a valid driving license in order to drive in Finland. A driving license issued by European Union Member States is valid in Finland without limitations. If your driving license has been issued by a country outside the EU, please be sure to check if it is valid on Ajokortti-info website. If you want to exchange your driving license, be prepared to wait for six months for all the legal documents to be issued.
InfoFinland: Traffic in Finland
Financial support opportunities
Scholarship opportunity offered by HAMK
HAMK offer scholarship to international degree students who are liable to pay tuition fees. Read more at HAMK tuition fees and scholarship.
From 1.1.2020 onwards, HAMK grants scholarships based on Finnish language skills. Please note that only students who are liable for paying tuition fees are entitled to the scholarship offered by HAMK. The scholarship programme awards those students who gain at least the basic skills of Finnish language during their degree studies at HAMK. The aim of HAMK’s scholarship programme is to support the future employment of international degree students in Finland by encouraging students to gain good level of Finnish language during their studies.
Other solutions for funding your studies
- Some Kela financial aids opportunities for international students from Finnish Social and Healthcare Services Kela.
- Scholarship databased from the internet such as
- Study abroad scholarship from your own countries, international organizations, and foundations.
- Working in Finland as a student
International exchange and degree students are allowed to work in Finland, with certain restrictions. Students from outside the EU/ETA countries are allowed to work for a limited number of hours per week during term time. See Working in Finland for more information.
If you work in Finland, you must pay taxes. You need to apply for a tax card and/or a tax number from the Finnish Tax Office Vero before starting to work.
HAMK Talent Boost support international students´ integration and career development. If you are planning to work during your studies, you can get to know about Talent Boost Mentoring Services here. HAMK has also gathered important information to help you get started to work and develop your career in Finland. Read more at Work and Career in Finland.
Finnish Immigration Service MIGRI:
Working and internships during studies
Studying in Finland
HAMK Talent Boost
Work and Career in Finland
Business Finland: Work in Finland