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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Schengen visa - Embassy of Finland, Beijing - Consulates General of Finland, Shanghai : Visa and residence permit : Schengen visa

EMBASSY OF FINLAND, Beijing
CONSULATE GENERAL OF FINLAND, Shanghai

  • Embassy of Finland, Beijing
    Tel. +86-10-8519 8300, sanomat.pek@formin.fi
  • Consulate General of Finland, Shanghai
    Tel. +86 21 5292 9900, sanomat.sng@formin.fi
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Schengen visa


What is Schengen visa and Schengen area?

A Schengen visa is an entry permit for a short, temporary stay of less than 90 days within any 180-day period. A Schengen visa issued by one of the Schengen countries permits free movement within the whole Schengen area, but it must be applied from the country of the main destination of the journey. Each visa decision is based on individual comprehensive consideration – information presented in the application form, supporting documents and interview of the applicant. Applicant has no subjective right to be issued a visa, thus applying for a visa does not automatically guarantee that the visa is issued. A Schengen visa does not provide an automatic right to entry to the Schengen area as the fulfilment of entry requirements is checked at the external border.

Schengen countries 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. Out of EU countries, the following have not signed the Schengen agreement: Great Britain, Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania.

All Schengen countries process visa applications according to Visa Code (810/2009/EC), which is a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council.

Who needs a visa to Finland?

Chinese citizens are required to obtain a visa to Finland and the Schengen area if they plan to stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. For a longer stay, a residence permit is required. Residence permits are issued by the Finnish Immigration Service. If you are a foreign national of a country whose citizens require a visa, but you hold a valid residence permit to 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:

What types of visas are there?

  • A single-entry visa
    allows one entry to the Schengen area. The whole stay must fall between the dates of validity, which is stated on the visa sticker, and the length of stay cannot exceed the maximum number of days marked on the visa sticker (this can be up to 90 days within a 180-day period).
  • A double-entry visa
    allows two entries to the Schengen area. The total duration of the two stays combined cannot exceed the maximum length of stay stated on the visa sticker (which can be a maximum 90 days within a 180-day period), and both stays have to fall within the dates of validity, as stated on the sticker.
  • Multiple-entry visa
    allows several entries to the Schengen area. The total duration of the stay is the number of the days during the certain period stated at the visa sticker, however maximum 90 days within a 180-day period.

Where can I submit the application?

The first biometric Schengen visa application shall be lodged in person either in a Visa Application Center (VAC), or in a mission of the Schengen member state of main destination where the applicant legally resides.

If the main destination of the journey is Finland, the visa must be applied for in a Finnish Visa Application Center or mission. If the visit includes more than one destination, the visa must be applied for from the country that is the main destination of the journey (according to the length or purpose of the stay). If no main destination can be determined, a visa is applied for from the country of the first entry. If the visa is issued by a country other than the main destination, the entry might be denied and visa revoked either before the flight or at the Schengen border.

Fingerprints are valid for 5 years, during which no personal submission of visa application is required (excluding minors, who must always submit their application in person). However, the mission reserve the right to request the applicant for a personal interview.

Finland has 15 Visa Application Centers in China.

The 12 Visa Application Centers (VACs) under the jurisdiction of the Embassy of Finland in Beijing are:
Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongquing, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Jinan, Kunming, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Xi'an.

The 3 Visa Application Centers (VACs) under the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Shanghai are:
Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing

The Finnish missions in China can receive applications directly, for example, from the family members of Finnish and EU citizens. An appointment is required.

In Mongolia, Schengen visas to Finland must be applied for at the Embassy of Germany as Germany represents Finland in Mongolia.

For how long does the visa processing take?

Visa application shall be lodged well in advance of the planned trip, however no more than 3 months before the intended departure.

According to Visa Code the processing time is 15 days, and 10 days for the nationals of Visa Facilitation Agreement countries. The missions do their best to process visa applications as fast as possible, especially the cases of Finnish and EU citizens´ family members and businessmen. In some individual cases the processing time may be extended up to 60 days.

The applications are processed in the order of arrival. Requests to expedite the processing e.g. because of flight tickets bought in advance cannot be taken into consideration. It is never recommended to purchase flight tickets before receiving a visa decision.

How much does a visa application cost?

The visa fee may vary monthly due to fluctuation in currency exchange rates. Please check out the updated service fees. In case of refusal, the visa fee is not returned.

What supporting documents do I need?

The required supporting documents are imposed in the Visa Code and agreed upon in local Schengen cooperation. The list of documents may vary in different countries. Incomplete applications may affect the decision negatively. Supporting documents are not returned. Applicants may be required to submit additional documents and/or to be called for an interview if considered necessary.

The visa application form can be downloaded, filled out electronically and printed from the link below. Application forms are also available at the missions and Visa Application Centers.

Visa application form:

Tourist trip; documents in this order

  • Visa application, dated and signed in two places: the field 37 and at the end of the application form.

  • Photo; in colour and max. 6 months old, with a light background and a neutral facial expression. The photo must not be photoshopped or otherwise manipulated.

  • Passport (travel document accepted by all Schengen countries) + copies of the ID page and all pages containing any markings. Passport requirements:

    • Valid for a minimum of 3 months after the planned journey

    • Issued within the previous 10 years

    • Contains at least 2 blank pages

  • Travel insurance. Applicants applying for a multiple entry visa must purchase insurance for the duration of the first journey and commit to acquiring one for all future journeys. The insurance must include:

    • Name in pinyin

    • Validity for the entire duration of the journey

    • Validity area: Schengen / Worldwide

    • Minimum  coverage of 30 000 euros, not deductible, covering:
                                 - Medical expenses
                                 - Hospitalization
                                 - Repatriation for medical reasons and death

  • Travel plan including also the destinations outside of Schengen area (including third country visa if required)

  • Airline reservation/itinerary (roundtrip) including possible third countries. Please note that it is not recommended to purchase the tickets before receiving a visa decision.

  • Hotel reservation for all Schengen countries must be presented accordingly. The reservation shall include:

    • Name of the hotel, contact information (address and telephone) and reservation number

  • Proof of employment or studies, or retirement, or unemployment

    • Employment: official letter on the company logo paper containing: contact information (address, email, telephone number); stamp; date; name, position and signature of the countersigning officer. The letter must state the name and position of the applicant, salary, years of employment and the approval of absence

    • Studies: official letter on the school logo paper containing: contact information (address, email, telephone number); stamp; date; name, position and signature of the countersigning officer . The letter must state the name of the applicant, years of studies and the approval of absence.

    • Retirement: Proof of pension or other regular income

    • Unemployment: Unemployment certificate and proof of income, if any

      • Married: employment certificate of the spouse, document of the income of the spouse and legalized marriage certificate

      • Single/widow/divorced: proof of income

  • Bank statement (previous 3 months) or other proof of sufficient means of subsistence.

From an entrepreneur: documents regarding the business activity and taxation

  • Hukou

  • Minors (under 18) must present:

    • Proof of family relations or guardianship:

      • Passport copies of custodian(s)

      • Legalized birth certificate

      • Legalized decision of custody if the parents are divorced

    • If travelling alone or with one guardian only

      • Legalized approval for the journey by the non-travelling guardian

    • Student card

    • Letter from school

    • Official letter on the school logo paper containing: contact information (address, email, telephone number); stamp; date; name, position and signature of the countersigning officer . The letter must state the name of the applicant, years of studies and the approval of absence.

For the legalizations, the legalization of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in China is sufficient and legalization at the Finnish mission is not required. If the custodians do not reside in China, the documents must be legalized according to the laws of the custodians’ home country.

Private visit; documents in this order

  • Visa application, dated and signed in two places: the field 37 and at the end of the application form.

  • Photo; in colour and max. 6 months old, with a light background and a neutral facial expression. The photo must not be photoshopped or otherwise manipulated.

  • Passport (travel document accepted by all Schengen countries) + copies of the ID page and all pages containing any markings. Passport requirements:

    • Valid for a minimum  of 3 months after the planned journey

    • Issued within the previous 10 years

    • Contains at least 2 blank pages

  • Travel insurance. Applicants applying for a multiple entry visa must purchase insurance for the duration of the first journey and commit to acquiring one for all future journeys. The insurance must include:

    • Name in pinyin

    • Validity for the entire duration of the journey

    • Validity area: Schengen / Worldwide

    • Minimum  coverage of 30 000 euros, not deductible, covering:
                                 - Medical expenses
                                 - Hospitalization
                                 - Repatriation for medical reasons and death

  • Invitation letter (max 6 months old). If another Schengen country is visited, an invitation or hotel reservation shall be presented accordingly.

    • Invitation must include: name and contact information of the inviter (address, email, telephone number) , purpose and duration of the visit, signature and date.

    • If the inviter covers the costs of the journey: bank statement ( previous 3 months) or other proof of sufficient funds

    • If the inviter is a family member, a legalized document of kinship is required. For the legalizations, the legalization of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in China is sufficient and legalization at the Finnish mission is not required.

  • Spouse: legalized marriage certificate

  • Child/parent: legalized birth certificate/custody decision

  • Other family member: legalized notarial certificate

  • Proof of employment or studies or retirement or unemployment

    • Employment: official letter on the company logo paper containing: contact information (address, email, telephone number); stamp; date; name, position and signature of the countersigning officer. The letter must state the name and position of the applicant, salary, years of employment and approval of absence

    • Studies: official letter on the school logo paper containing: contact information (address, email, telephone number); stamp; date; name, position and signature of the countersigning officer . The letter must state the name of the applicant, years of studies and approval of absence.

    • Retirement: Proof of pension or other regular income

    • Unemployment: Unemployment certificate and proof of income, if any

      • Married: employment certificate of the spouse, document of the income of the spouse and legalized marriage certificate

      • Single/widow/divorced: proof of income

  • Business license

  • Bank statement (previous 3 months) or other proof of sufficient means of subsistence.

From an entrepreneur: documents regarding the business activity and taxation

  • Hukou

  • Minors (under 18) must present:

    • Proof of family relations or guardianship:

      • Passport copies of custodian(s)

      • Legalized birth certificate

      • Legalized decision of custody if the parents are divorced

    • If travelling alone or with one guardian only

      • Legalized approval for the journey by the non-travelling guardian

    • Student card

    • Letter from school

      • Official letter on the school logo paper containing: contact information (address, email, telephone number); stamp; date; name, position and signature of the countersigning officer . The letter must state the name of the applicant, years of studies and the approval of absence.

For the legalizations, the legalization of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in China is sufficient and legalization at the Finnish mission is not required. If the custodians do not reside in China, the documents must be legalized according to the laws of the custodians’ home country.

Business trip; documents in this order

  • Visa application, dated and signed in two places: the field 37 and at the end of the application form.

  • Photo; in colour and max. 6 months old, with a light background and a neutral facial expression. The photo must not be photoshopped or otherwise manipulated.

  • Passport (travel document accepted by all Schengen countries) + copies of the ID page and all pages containing any markings. Passport requirements:

    • Valid for a minimum  of 3 months after the planned journey

    • Issued within the previous 10 years

    • Contains at least 2 blank pages

  • Travel insurance. Applicants applying for a multiple entry visa must purchase insurance for the duration of the first journey and commit to acquiring one for all future journeys. The insurance must include:

    • Name in pinyin

    • Validity for the entire duration of the journey

    • Validity area: Schengen / Worldwide

    • Minimum  coverage of 30 000 euros, not deductible, covering:
                                 - Medical expenses
                                 - Hospitalization
                                 - Repatriation for medical reasons and death

  • Invitation letter from the Finnish business partner:

    • Official letter on the company logo paper including: contact information  (address, email, telephone number); stamp; date; name, position and signature of the inviter.

    • Brief explanation of the nature of the business relationship and the purpose, duration and programme of the visit

  • Employment certificate

    • Employment: official letter on the company logo paper containing: contact information (address, email, telephone number); stamp; date; name, position and signature of the countersigning officer. The letter must state the name and position of the applicant, purpose of the visit, salary, years of employment and approval of absence

  • Business license

  • Bank statement (previous 3 months) or other proof of sufficient means of subsistence.

From an entrepreneur: documents regarding the business activity and taxation. If the employer covers the costs of the trip, proof of solvency of the employer must be presented.

Culture and sports trip; documents in this order

  • Visa application, dated and signed in two places: the field 37 and at the end of the application form.

  • Photo; in colour and max. 6 months old, with a light background and a neutral facial expression. The photo must not be photoshopped or otherwise manipulated.

  • Passport (travel document accepted by all Schengen countries) + copies of the ID page and all pages containing any markings. Passport requirements:

    • Valid for a minimum  of 3 months after the planned journey

    • Issued within the previous 10 years

    • Contains at least 2 blank pages

  • Travel insurance. Applicants applying for a multiple entry visa must purchase insurance for the duration of the first journey and commit to acquiring one for all future journeys. The insurance must include:

    • Name in pinyin

    • Validity for the entire duration of the journey

    • Validity area: Schengen / Worldwide

    • Minimum  coverage of 30 000 euros, not deductible, covering:
                                 - Medical expenses
                                 - Hospitalization
                                 - Repatriation for medical reasons and death

  • Invitation letter from the Finnish cultural or sports partner:

    • Official letter on the organization's logo paper including: contact information  (address, email, telephone number); stamp; date; name, position and signature of the inviter.

    • Brief explanation of the nature of culture or sports partnership and the purpose, duration and programme of the visit

  • Reference letter from the Chinese cultural or sports organization

    • Official letter on the company logo paper including: contact information  (address, email, telephone number); stamp; date; name, position and signature of the inviter.

    • The letter must state the name and position of the applicant, information of the journey. From professionals: salary and years of involvement in the activities

    • Organization which covers the costs of the trip

  • Minors (under 18) must present:

    • Proof of family relations or guardianship:

      • Passport copies of custodian(s)

      • Legalized birth certificate

      • Legalized decision of custody if the parents are divorced

    • If travelling alone or with one guardian only

      • Legalized approval for the journey by the non-travelling guardian

    • Student card

    • Letter from school

    • Official letter on the school logo paper containing: contact information (address, email, telephone number); stamp; date; name, position and signature of the countersigning officer . The letter must state the name of the applicant, years of studies and the approval of absence.

For the legalizations, the legalization of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in China is sufficient and legalization at the Finnish mission is not required. If the custodians do not reside in China, the documents must be legalized according to the laws of the custodians’ home country.

Family member of an EU, ETA and Swiss citizen, who exercises their right of free movement according to Directive 2004/38/EY

If all the below mentioned conditions (1-3) are not fulfilled, the visa application will be processed as a tourist or private visit application.

  1. Union citizen exercises the right of free movement = Union citizen who move to or reside in a Member State other than that of which they are a national

  2. The EU/ETA/Swiss citizen's journey and the family member's journey are related to each other (= the visa applicant travels together with the EU/ETA/Swiss citizen or follows the citizen later)

  3. The applicant is a family member of the EU, ETA or Swiss citizen

  • Spouse

  • Partner (registered relationship)

  • Child (under 21 years of age) of a Union citizen or a spouse/partner

  • Direct relative in the ascending line dependent on a Union citizen or a spouse/partner

If all of the above-mentioned conditions (1-3) are fulfilled, only the following documents are required:

  • Visa application, dated and signed in two places: field 37 and at the end of the application form.

  • Photo; in colour and max 6 months old, light background and neutral facial expression. The photo must not be photoshopped or otherwise manipulated.

  • Passport (travel document accepted by all Schengen countries) + copies of the ID page and all pages containing markings. Passport requirements:

    • Valid for a minimum  of 3 months after the planned journey

    • Issued within the previous 10 years

    • Contains at least 2 blank pages

  • Documentation of items 1-3:
       - Proof of the EU/ETA/Swiss citizen's nationality (e.g. copy of passport)
       - Proof of being a family member (e.g. marriage or birth certificate)
       - Proof of common journey (e.g. flight reservations or hotel reservation)

  • Travel insurance is not required

  • Visa fee is not collected.

Family member of a Finnish citizen

Family member of a Finnish citizen may be applicable for the Directive of Free Movement 2008/38/EY if the Finnish citizen resides in an EU country other than Finland. For example, if a Finnish citizen travels China-Finland-China (= s/he travels to Finland, which is the country of his/her citizenship), a family member of the Finnish citizen is not applicable for the Directive of Free Movement. In such case Schengen visa shall be applied for according to the normal procedure, in the Private Visit category. The visa of family member of a Finnish citizen is free of charge, and the mission aims to process the application as fast as possible.

Definition of a family member of a Finnish citizen:

  • Spouse (registered in Finnish Population Information System)

  • Partner (registered relationship in Finnish Population Information System)

  • Cohabiting partner (living together for a minimum of 2 years or having a child under joint custody)

  • Child (under 18 years of age) of a Union citizen or a spouse/partner

How are the passport and visa decision returned to the applicant?

The passport and visa decision will be returned to the same Visa Application Center where the visa was applied from, unless the applicant has paid for EMS courier service to e.g. their home or work address. The application process can be monitored from the VFS web tracking system.

If the application has been submitted directly at the mission, the visa decision must be collected from the mission either in person or by another person holding a Power of Attorney.

If the visa was refused, can I complain about the decision?

If the conditions for granting a visa according to Schengen Visa Code are not fulfilled, the visa will be refused. The applicant is informed about the reasons of refusal in writing, using the Standard Form of the Schengen countries. The missions and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are under no obligation to give more detailed explanations regarding the visa decision to the applicant, therefore additional explanations cannot be given. Only the applicant himself is considered to be a party regarding his visa issue. The applicant may authorize another person to represent himself with Power of Attorney to get same information than applicant himself.

An applicant whose visa has been refused may request a rectification from the decision making mission in Finnish or Swedish language within thirty (30) days of notice of the decision on the visa application. Instructions for rectification request are given together with the visa refusal. Google translations cannot be accepted. An appeal against the visa decision may be lodged at the Helsinki Administrative Court on the basis of the decision made by the mission on the rectification request. The court fee for an appeal at administrative court is 250 euros.

An applicant, who is applicable for the directive 2004/38/EC of the right of free movement, is entitled to lodge an appeal directly at the Helsinki Administrative Court (instructions for appeal are given together with the visa refusal).

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Updated 10/3/2017


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