Visa Requirements

It is the sole responsibility of the attendee to take care of his/her visa issues. Attendees who require an entry visa must allow sufficient time for the application procedure. It is recommended that attendees start to apply for a visa as soon as possible, as the handling times of visa applications may vary due to the summer season. The visa issued will be a common Schengen visa, which is valid for travel in all Schengen Member States (unless otherwise indicated). Please note, however, that the main destination of your intended travel will determine the correct Member State consulate for handling your visa application. A Schengen visa may entitle its holder to enter the territory once, twice or multiple times. In the visa application, the applicant should specify the desired validity period of the requested visa and the number of trips he/she wishes to make. (Example: going to St. Petersburg from Finland and returning back to Finland constitutes a second entry.)

[Note: All attendees should seek advice from their local embassy or consulate, IFLA does not accept any legal responsibility for visa applications or consequences following from that.]

Do I need a visa?

Citizens of some non-EU countries are required to be in possession of a visa to enter the Schengen Area. You must also have a valid travel document, which is recognised by Finland as a valid. The visa will be affixed to this travel document. Please check the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland website, in order to determine whether or not you need a visa. The website also lists all the travel documents accepted by Finland country by country. Please note that your travel document validity has to extend at least three months after the intended date of departure from the Schengen Area. Furthermore, your travel document has to contain at least two blank pages as well as be issued within the previous ten years.

Where do I apply for a visa?

If the main destination of your visit in terms of length is Finland, then Finland will be able to handle your visa application. (Example: You fly directly to Finland from China. Finland should be identified as the main destination.)

If the visit includes more than one destination, the Member State whose territory you intend to stay the longest will be appropriate to handle your visa application. (Example: You fly from Algeria to Estonia for two days before coming to Finland for two weeks. Finland should be identified as the main destination.)

If no main destination in terms of length of stay can be determined, the Member State whose external border you intend to cross in order to enter the Schengen Area is appropriate to handle your visa application. (Example: You fly from Egypt to Estonia, where you intend to stay for three days. Then you drive to Latvia for a day and proceed to Lithuania for three days. After this you intend to stay a further four days in Finland. The Estonian embassy or consulate will handle your visa application as the first point of entry.)

If Finland is the appropriate country to handle your visa application, you should apply for a visa from the nearest Embassy of Finland or from the Embassy of another Member State in countries where Finland is being represented by another Schengen Member State in visa issues. Please see: Finnish embassies abroad.

If a Finnish Embassy is not present in your country, please refer to the list of representations.

In cases where Finland is not the appropriate country to handle your visa application, please contact the nearest consulate/embassy of the appropriate Member State to determine where you will submit your application.

Do I need to submit supporting documents?

You are strongly advised to submit documents indicating the purpose of your journey in connection with your visa application. These documents include, among other things, documents relating to accommodation; documents indicating that you possess sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to your home country; possible information proving your intention to leave the Schengen Area before the expiry of your visa as well as documents related to the event, such as the invitation and receipt of payment of the registration fee.

You will also be required to present an adequate and valid travel medical insurance to cover any expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment or death during your stay in the Schengen Area. The insurance coverage should be no less than EUR 30,000 (USD 50,000).

What if my visa application is refused?

You will either be issued a visa or you will be refused a visa. If your visa is refused, you have the right to appeal. Appeals shall be conducted against the Member State that has taken the final decision. In such cases, please contact our legal advisor, Mr. Mikko Hakkarainen ( at the Helsinki City Library.

If Congress registration fees have already been paid, then the registration fee minus a handling fee of 50 EUR will be refunded after the Congress-if the visa was applied for in time, and proof of this together with an official notice from the embassy confirming that a visa could not be granted, is forwarded to the Congress Secretariat.

Travelling in the Schengen Area

A Schengen visa generally entitles the holder to travel in the Schengen Member States* for a duration of no more than three months (90 days) in any six-month period (180 days) from the date of first entry in the territory of the Member States. Once you have been issued a visa, your right to travel in the Schengen Area will be determined by the type of your visa.

 If you are issued a multiple entry visa, you may leave and enter the territory of the Member States any number of times within the period of validity of your visa. Passport controls are effectively removed in the Schengen Area, but you may be asked to present your passport to verify that you are still within the 180-day limit and that you have not exceeded the combined stay of 90 days in the Schengen Area.

  • Example: you fly to Finland (entry 1) from Ukraine, take a train to St. Petersburg (outside Schengen) and continue by train to Estonia (entry 2). You are entitled to enter the Schengen Area multiple times.

If you are issued a single entry Schengen visa, you may not leave the Schengen Area and return with the same visa. You may, however, travel within the Schengen Area with the same single entry visa during the validity period of your visa bearing in mind the 90-day rule.

  • Example: you fly to Finland (entry 1) from Egypt and travel to Estonia and back to Finland. Both destinations are inside the Schengen Area.

If you are issued a visa with limited territorial validity (VLTV), you may only travel in the Member States indicated in the visa. A VLTV is issued for example when one (or more) Member State(s) does not recognise your travel document as a valid travel document in their country. The issuance of a VLTV is rather unusual, and you will most likely be informed of the nature of the visa by the issuing authority, i.e. Embassy or Consulate.

  • Example: your visa sticker reads FI, SE, NO—your visa is only valid for travel in Finland, Sweden and Norway. You cannot travel to Estonia.

Please be aware that border officials and other national authorities retain the right to refuse entry, if the holder of an otherwise valid visa does not fulfil the conditions of entry. An example of this may be where an alert has been issued in the Schengen Information System for the purposes of refusing entry for the individual after he/she has obtained a Schengen visa.

*Schengen Member States: 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.

Contact details for assistance with Schengen visa applications

Mr. Mikko Hakkarainen
Helsingin kaupunki - Helsingin kaupunginkirjasto
(Helsinki City Library)
Elielinaukio 2 G PL 4200
00099 Helsingin kaupunki
tel. +358 9 310 32071
fax. +358 9 310 85700

Visa to Russia

If you are planning to visit Russia, you may be required to be in possession of a Russian visa. A Schengen visa does not entitle the holder to enter the Russian Federation. A Russian visa may be applied from your local Russian consulate/embassy. You may also be entitled to apply for a Russian visa from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Helsinki, depending on your nationality. It is, however, strongly advised that attendees intending to visit Russia apply for a Russian visa from their country of residence.

For further information regarding applying for a Russian visa in Finland, please see:

Last update: 30 July 2012