Living in Finland


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Finnish social security

This page contains information about the residence-based social security provided by Kela. The page indicates the situations in which you are considered to be covered by social security that is based on residence.

The InfoFinland page Unemployment benefit contains more information about who is entitled to unemployment security. More information about the Finnish pension system can be found on the InfoFinland page Pension.

Kela manages social security services and benefits, such as the national pension, child benefit, basic unemployment security, sickness and parenthood allowance, income support and rehabilitation. Kela also provides health care benefits paid for private health care.

If you are covered by Finnish health insurance, you will receive a Kela card.

The grounds for Kela benefits are defined by law. When you apply for a Kela benefit, Kela checks whether you have a right to receive Kela benefits. It may be affected by permanent residence and working in Finland. When deciding on a benefit, Kela reviews the life situation of each applicant individually.

The situations in life and needs for benefit often vary greatly between applicants. Therefore, the amounts and grounds of the benefits also vary. Always clarify your own situation separately.

In Finland, public health services and social services are the responsibility of municipalities.

Read more on the InfoFinland page Health services in Finland.

You can find more information about the right to a municipality of residence on the InfoFinland page Municipality of residence in Finland.

Information on social securityFinnish | Swedish | English

Social security of a person moving to Finland(pdf, 560 kb)Finnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Estonian

Information on health insuranceFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiMinistry of Social Affairs and Health:
Information about Finnish social securityEnglish | Russian

Right to Kela benefits

As a general rule, if you live permanently in Finland, you can receive Kela benefits. The law defines what is meant by permanent residence.

Working in Finland may also give you a right to Kela benefits.

Do you have a right to benefits? This is affected by whether you are moving to Finland

  • from a country belonging to the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland;
  • from a country with which Finland has a social security agreement; or
  • from another country.

The EEA countries include the EU countries, along with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Your right to benefits is also affected by the capacity in which you are moving to Finland, for example:

  • employee or entrepreneur
  • student
  • family member
  • seconded employee.

Finland has made agreements regarding social security with a number of countries. They include the Nordic countries, USA, Canada and Quebec, Chile, Israel, India, China, South Korea and Australia. The agreements primarily apply to pensions. Some of them also concern health care. If you are coming from one of these countries, check with Kela whether or not these agreements affect your social security.

Municipality of Residence ActFinnish | Swedish

Information on social security agreements between different countriesFinnish | Swedish | English

Information on Finnish social security for citizens of EU countriesFinnish | Swedish | English

Moving to Finland permanently and living in Finland permanently

When you move to Finland, Kela always first assesses whether or not you are moving to live in the country permanently, as defined by the social security legislation.

If Kela considers your move to Finland as not permanent, you may still have a right to Kela benefits based on your work.

You may be considered to be moving to Finland permanently in the following cases, for example:

  • You are a returnee, i.e. you are returning to Finland from abroad.
  • You have a permanent employment contract, or similar agreement, regarding work you will be doing in Finland.
  • You are married to or in an otherwise close family relationship with a person who is already a permanent resident of Finland.

In addition, if you are obliged to obtain a residence permit, it is usually required that your permit is valid.

An overall assessment of the situation will be prepared. Based on this, it will be considered whether or not your residence is permanent.

If you are moving to Finland temporarily, you are not entitled to Kela benefits. Starting from 1 April 2019, a student from outside the EU and EEA area may have a right to some Kela benefits, such as health insurance benefits.

Once the ruling has been made that you are a permanent resident of Finland, you will be regarded as such for as long as:

  • you have your primary residence and home in the country, and you spend most of your time in Finland


  • you have some other reason for your permanent residence in Finland, such as a family tie or work.

However, if you begin work in another country or go abroad for more than six months, your right to Kela benefits may be terminated. More information about these situations is available from Kela.

There are also benefits that you cannot receive if you are not, or have not previously been, a permanent resident of Finland. For example, parents can only receive parenthood allowance if they have lived in Finland for at least 180 days directly before the child’s expected date of delivery. If you are coming from another EU country, however, you can in some cases utilise the insurance periods you have accumulated in the other EU country. Ask for more information at Kela’s international situations unit:

tel. 020 634 0200
at 9 am–4 pm

Social security of a person moving to FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English

Moving abroad and social securityFinnish | Swedish | English

Contact information for KelaFinnish | Swedish | English

Working gives you rights to at least partial Finnish social security

EU countries, EEA countries and Switzerland

If you move to Finland for work, you will usually get a right to Kela benefits for the duration of your employment contract even if you have a short contract.

If your wage amounts to at least €696.60 per month, you have a right to most Kela benefits. It does not matter how many hours you work per week or how long your employment contract is.

Employees and Finnish social securityFinnish | Swedish | English

Asylum seeker

Asylum seekers are not entitled to social security in Finland. This means that they cannot obtain social security benefits from Kela.

The reception centre pays asylum seekers a reception allowance. The allowance is paid until the asylum application has been processed. The reception allowance is a small amount of money intended for necessary expenses.

Asylum seekers who are granted a residence permit and who live permanently in Finland are entitled to social security in Finland. Persons who have been granted a residence permit can apply for coverage under the Finnish social security system from Kela.