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How to apply for financial aid for a period of foreign study

Apply for financial aid for studies abroad in our e-service OmaKela

Apply for benefits
  1. Apply for financial aid online. Log in to the e-service using your online bank credentials or a mobile ID. Please note that the e-service is available in Finnish and Swedish only.
  2. Scan or take a photo of the supporting documents and send them online. Please note that the e-service is available in Finnish and Swedish only.
  3. Visit our e-service to see if your application has been decided, how much you will get and when you will be paid. You can also see any possible reminders concerning, for instance, documents missing from your application. A written decision on your application will be sent to you by post.

Alternatively, you can complete and print out an application for financial aid for those pursuing a degree abroad (OT 3, PDF). Mail your application along with the supporting documents to Kela, PL 10, 00056 KELA. Supporting documents and certificates must be translated into Finnish, Swedish or English. We accept translations that you have done yourself.

If you are a EU citizen and you do not have Finnish online banking credentials, you can use eIDAS identification when contacting Kela. Read the instructions for how EU citizens can log in to and handle Kela-related matters in the e-service.

Certificate of enrolment and transcript of records

Once per academic year, you must send Kela a certificate of enrolment issued by your school. The certificate must show that you are a full-time student in a programme for which you receive financial aid. Send the first certificate when you have enrolled. After that, send a new certificate of enrolment when the previous one has expired and a new academic year or term begins.

Once per academic year, you must also send to Kela a transcript of records issued by your school showing the credits you earned in the previous academic year.

  1. When sending the documents, either scan or take a good-quality photo of them.
  2. Log in to our e-service OmaKela and select Viestit.
  3. Under Aihe (Subject), select Opiskelijan asiat (Student matters) and then Opintotuki (Student financial aid).
  4. Add the attachment and send the message.

Other supporting documents

If you are a first-year student, enclose with your application the following documents:

  • Certificate of admission to the educational institution. The certificate must indicate the degree you are studying for, the time to degree and that you are a full-time student.
  • Certificate showing the start and end dates of the academic year.
  • Certificate that the educational institution is supervised by public authorities.
  • If you are completing a degree in Sweden which consists of individual courses (fristående kurser), provide a personal study plan and a notice of admission from your school for courses of 30 credits (högskolepoäng/ETCS) or more. The study plan must show the degree being completed, the typical time to completion, the number of credits, and the courses of which it consists.
  • If you study in the United States, a copy of an I-20 form available from your school.
  • Certificate of attendance issued by the educational institution. You can send in the certificate later once you have registered as attending.
  • Certificate showing grants or scholarships as well as any financial assistance provided by the educational institution. The certificate must show the purpose of the grant, scholarship or financial assistance, the time for which it is awarded, its amount, its source, and the date of payment.
  • Details of income received from abroad.
  • If your parents' income affects your financial aid, enclose as needed a certificate proving a significant change in your parents' income and any income your parents have received from abroad.
  • If you are a foreign national, enclose an appendix to financial aid application filed by foreign resident (OT10, PDF).

If you are applying for financial for the summer months, provide details about your study plan in the notification of changes.

Remember to send the following documents every academic year:

  • document indicating the credits earned in the previous academic year
  • certificate of attendance

Application period

Apply for financial aid as soon as you have received notification that you have been admitted to school. The earliest that you can get financial aid is the beginning of the month of application.

Submit your application in time even if you do not yet have all the supporting documents required for it. You can send in additional documents later on.

Certificate of the amount of financial aid

If you need a certificate of the amount of financial aid for example to satisfy a resident permit requirement, you can request it from Kela. The certificate can be provided in Swedish, English, German or French. You can request the certificate before you have been given a decision on financial aid, but it does not guarantee that you will actually be granted financial aid.

Report changes

Remember to inform Kela of any changes in your circumstances so that the benefit can be paid correctly. You can report the changes via our e-service (in Finnish or in Swedish), by phone or by visiting any of our customer service points.

When you have completed a degree abroad

Inform Kela of a degree you have completed abroad on the from Notification of degree completed in a foreign educational institution OT 29e (pdf). It is important to report the degree so that you can accrue more earnings-related pension rights. If you have completed a higher education degree, you can also be granted student loan tax deduction or student loan compensation.

Remember also to inform Kela that you have moved back to Finland.

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Last modified 15/1/2024