Status of Non-Immigrant Visa Services
To protect the public health, most non-immigrant travel to the United States from Finland remains suspended by Presidential Proclamation 10143 (Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa).
Additionally, COVID-19 mitigation efforts have resulted in a significant backlog in the demand for consular services. In line with the U.S. Department of State’s prioritization of services, the provision of services to U.S. citizens in Finland is the top priority of our consular section. With respect to visa services, the processing of immigrant and fiancée visas, particularly for immediate relatives and other family-sponsored applicants, is our highest priority.
Processing Times for Mail-in Renewals
Our current estimated processing time for mail-in renewals is 6-8 weeks. Please do not contact us to check up on your case until after 6-8 weeks have passed or you may further delay processing time. Applicants are also responsible for the type of postage or tracking service they choose to use for their return envelopes, which may affect delivery time.
Summer & Fall 2021 Appointment Availability
Capacity is extremely limited for non-immigrant visa interview appointments. We do not anticipate being able to offer any additional interviews before October 2021 at the earliest, including for students and others with pending expedited appointment requests.
Exemptions from Presidential Proclamation 10143
Travelers in some visa categories, and others with certain U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relatives, may be exempt from Presidential Proclamation 10143.
Those exempt include: lawful permanent residents of the United States, spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, parents or legal guardians of unmarried U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents under the age of 21, and siblings of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents provided both are unmarried and under the age of 21, among other categories.
You can review the text of PP10143 under “scope” to determine whether you are exempt. The embassy cannot determine your exemption status for you. If you are exempt and require a visa, submit an emergency appointment request through your profile at www.ustraveldocs.com and include supporting evidence for your exemption with your request. Please note that capacity is extremely limited for emergency non-immigrant visa interview appointments.
National Interest Exceptions to Presidential Proclamation 10143
Those traveling for certain purposes may qualify for a National Interest Exception to Presidential Proclamation 10143. Please review exception criteria and contact us if you believe you qualify.
We aim to reply to all National Interest Exception requests within 30-60 days, but we cannot guarantee a response time. If you require a new or renewed visa, please note that capacity is extremely limited for non-immigrant visa interview appointments.
If you are a non-immigrant visa holder, an ESTA traveler, or a non-immigrant visa applicant who believes you meet one of the limited exceptions under the Presidential Proclamations, please send a request by email to HelsinkiNIV@state.gov. Requests should include a scan of your passport bio page as well as a scan of one of the following: visa appointment confirmation, valid visa, or ESTA approval. (Visa applicants should follow the instructions at https://www.ustraveldocs.com/fi/ to request an emergency appointment.)
Our current estimated response time to National Interest Exception requests is 30 days. Please refrain from status checks before 30 days have passed, as this may further delay response times for all applicants.
Students & Exchange Visitors
Limited availability for visa interview appointments may delay the adjudication and issuance of visas beyond the start of this academic year.
Some F, M, and academic J visa applicants may be eligible for interview waiver until December 31, 2021. Including:
- First-time F, M, or academic J (student, professor, research scholar, short-term scholar, specialist) applicants who are a national of a Visa Waiver Program, like Finland; and
- Applicants who were previously issued any type of visa and are now applying for an F, M, or academic J (student, professor, research scholar, short-term scholar, specialist) visa
Please note: This announcement only affects those who have not been previously refused a visa and who possess no other ineligibilities. Embassy Finland is still only processing applications for Finnish citizens and permanent residents. The current guidance does not apply to Au Pair applicants.
If your visa requires additional fee payments or if you need to submit fingerprints with your application, the processing time for your visa issuance will increase. The decision to allow an interview waiver will be made on a case-by-case basis. If the Embassy finds you do not qualify and still require an interview, you will be informed by email and your application documents will be returned to you. Interview appointments remain extremely limited.
If you are eligible for interview waiver, please follow the directions at https://www.ustraveldocs.com/fi/fi-niv-visarenew.asp to mail your application to Embassy Helsinki with all necessary supporting documentation with your application. Failure to include supporting documentation will increase processing time. Supporting documents include:
- Your passport
- The DS-160 application confirmation page
- One photograph: Two inches square (51mm x 51mm) color photograph, less than 6 months old, against a white background, full frontal view
- Application fee receipt number
- Interview waiver confirmation page (if available)
- Information on your research or study plans in the United States, including the name and e-mail address of your advising professor and/or the head of your department in the United States or course list if applicable.
- Evidence of financial support for your study or exchange program. Evidence may include: tuition payment receipts, evidence of scholarship or grant funding, bank statements showing sufficient funds for your intended length of stay, statements from your school, college, or university stating fees have been received by the institution, etc.
- DS-2019 or I-20 form
- Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee receipt
After the Embassy receives your documents you will be contacted by email if you still require a fee payment or fingerprint submission.
The Embassy will not accept applications dropped off in person. You must mail your application with a prepaid return envelope in order for your application to be considered complete. This announcement is the most current guidance for F, M, or academic J (student, professor, research scholar, short-term scholar, specialist) applicants. Please allow time for all platforms to reflect this update.
Visa Application Fee
We will extend the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2022 to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee. Please continue to monitor this site for information about when we will resume routine visa operations.
If you Reside Outside Finland
The U.S. Embassy in Helsinki is not currently accepting visa applications from individuals who do not normally reside in Finland. Please contact the Embassy or Consulate in the country in which you reside to schedule a visa appointment.
The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.
See our Directory of Visa Categories on usvisas.state.gov to determine which visa category might be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States.
Travel to the United States on a temporary basis, including tourism, temporary employment, study and exchange.
For foreign citizens who want to live permanently in the United States.
What is a Visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.
Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.
(Note: U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.).
To contact a customer service representative, please visit the GSS Contact Us page for full information or use contact information below:
- General visa inquiries: email@example.com
- Case-specific inquiries: HelsinkiNIV@state.gov
- In Finland: +358 942 451 555 (11am-3pm, Mon-Fri)
- In the U.S.: +1 703-520-2571
Customer Service Statement
The Department of State manages the visa process strictly but fairly in order to best protect the United States. We are committed to the essential openness for which the United States has always been known. Travel to the United States is welcomed and encouraged.
We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:
- We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa.
- We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique.
- We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous.
- We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions.
- We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations.
- We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on every Embassy and Consulate website.
- We will provide information on non-immigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted on http://travel.state.gov.
- We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.
Furthermore, if you are a:
- Student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.
- Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler, we will expedite processing for those dealing with life threatening emergencies.
- Business traveler, we will establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate business travel and expedite cases of particular concern to American business.
At the same time, we expect you, the visa applicant, to:
- Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible.
- Complete your application fully and accurately.
- Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans.
- Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe your intentions.