Living in Finland

Cities

Suomeen muuttajan muistilista

Moving to Finland checklist

Before moving to Finland, read the InfoFinland contents. InfoFinland is a source of reliable information in your own language about moving to Finland, working life, housing, Finnish and Swedish studies, education, social security, health services, services for families, problem situations and leisure activities. The pages contain useful practical instructions, contact information and links to additional information. With the help of the Cities menu, you can access information regarding a municipality that interests you. All of the InfoFinland language versions are identical in content.

Moving to Finland checklist is intended to help you with the most important practical issues related to moving. Please note that the list does not necessarily include all of the things you must take care of when moving to Finland.

Before moving to Finland

Residence permit or registration of right of residence?

If you are coming to Finland for more than 90 days and you are an EU citizen, you must register your right of residence. If you are a citizen of some other country, you must apply for a residence permit in Finland. Depending on your citizenship, read more on the InfoFinland page EU citizens or Non-EU citizens.

Livelihood

When applying for a residence permit or registration of right of residence, you must be able to prove that your livelihood in Finland is ensured. If you come to Finland to work or to engage in entrepreneurship, you must prove that your work or business provides you with an adequate income. If you are moving to Finland to live with a family member, the person living in Finland is often also required to have sufficient resources to support him/herself and the family member moving to Finland.

Removal goods from the EU area

If you move to Finland from another EU member state, you do not usually have to pay duties or value-added tax for your removal goods, i.e. the personal property you bring with you. Nor do you have to declare your removal goods to customs (tulli).

Please note that the exemption from duty and tax of removal goods does not concern alcohol or tobacco. Separate restrictions apply to the import of these.

For more information, contact the Customs Information Service at +358 (0)295 5201 or go to the Finnish Custom’s website. The Customs Information Service provides assistance in Finnish, Swedish and English.

Removal goods from outside the EU

If you move to Finland from outside the EU, you do not usually have to pay duties or value-added tax for your removal goods, i.e. the personal property you bring with you. However, you do have to declare your removal goods to the customs authorities in Finland.

For example, the following are regarded as removal goods:

  • furniture and other domestic goods
  • pets
  • bicycles and motorcycles
  • cars and trailers intended for private use

Please note that the exemption from duty and tax of removal goods doesn’t concern alcohol or tobacco. Separate restrictions apply to the import of these.

linkkiCustoms:
Bringing removal goods to FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian

Bringing a car to Finland as removal goods

When bringing a car to Finland as removal goods, you must declare it to customs. If you bring your car to Finland, you must register it and pay a car tax (autovero) before you can use it in traffic.

It is possible to use the car temporarily before car tax has been paid. This requires that a commissioning notification (auton käyttöönottoilmoitus) for the car is made to the Tax Administration. Your car must also have a motor insurance policy (liikennevakuutus) valid in Finland. If you bring a car from outside the EEA area, you will also need a transfer permit before you can use it. Transfer permits are granted by inspection stations and certain customs offices. You are not allowed to use your car in Finland until you have made a commissioning notification and acquired a transfer permit.

If you have questions regarding car tax and commissioning notification, you can call the Tax Administration telephone service:

  • +358 (0)29 497 150 (Finnish)
  • +358 (0)29 497 151 (Swedish)
  • +358 (0)29 497 152 (English)

linkkiCustoms:
Vehicles as removal goodsFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian

Importing pets

If you want to bring a pet with you to Finland, you should find out beforehand about the rules for importing animals. Often certain vaccinations, for example, are required for animals. The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira provides more information about the rules applicable in Finland.

linkkiEvira:
Bringing an animal from another EU countryFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiEvira:
Bringing an animal from outside the EUFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian

Removal companies

Some companies offering removal services also tend to removals between countries. You can hire these companies to transport your goods from one country to another and even buy packing services and have them pack your goods. The cost of moving depends on where you are moving from and the volume of goods you are transferring. There can be significant differences in the services and prices of different removal companies and therefore it is a good idea to compare prices.

linkkiMuuttopalvelu Niemi:
Moving servicesFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiViktor Ek:
Moving servicesFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiAlfa Quality Moving:
Help with movingFinnish | Swedish | English | Norwegian | Danish

After moving to Finland

This list contains the most common things you must take care of once you have arrived in Finland.

Housing and home insurance

Most immigrants living in Finland live initially in rented flats. It’s a good idea to allow yourself at least a month to find a flat to rent. Read more on the InfoFinland web page Housing.

Once you have a flat, it is worthwhile taking out a home insurance policy (kotivakuutus). Home insurance covers, for example, damage to your furniture and other articles. Home insurance policies are sold by insurance companies. You can find information on insurance on the InfoFinland page Everyday life in Finland.

Finnish personal identity code

When you apply for your first residence permit in Finland or registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence, you can apply for a Finnish personal identity code at the same time. You can also apply for a Finnish personal identity code at the Local Register Office or tax office of your place of residence in Finland. Further information is available on the InfoFinland page Registering as a resident.

Municipality of residence in Finland

If you move permanently to Finland, your municipality of residence (kotikunta) will be registered as being in Finland. Your municipality of residence is the municipality in which you live. When you have a municipality of residence in Finland, you have the right to use the services provided by the municipality, such as public health services. You can ask from the Local Register Office of your place of residence whether your municipality of residence can be registered as being in Finland. Read more on the InfoFinland page Municipality of residence in Finland.

linkkiLocal register office:
Registering a foreign citizenFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiTax Administration:
Registering a foreign citizen in a tax officeFinnish | Swedish | English

Social security

The main rule is that if you reside in Finland permanently, you are covered by the Finnish social security and are entitled to receive Kela benefits. The law defines what permanent residency means. If you work in Finland, you may also be entitled to Finnish social security. Other things also play a role in whether or not you are entitled to social security, for example your country of origin. More information on social security in Finland is available on the InfoFinland web page Finnish social security.

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

Bank account

You will need a bank account in order to handle your day-to-day finances. When opening a bank account, you need a passport or some other official identity card. It’s a good idea to compare the services and prices of different banks so that you will find the most advantageous option for you.

Read more on opening a bank account on the InfoFinland page Everyday life in Finland.

linkkiFederation of Finnish Financial Services:
Bank services for foreignersFinnish | English

Tax card

If you are working and receiving pay, or if you are an entrepreneur, you need a Finnish tax card (verokortti). A tax card can be obtained from a tax office. Read more on taxation in Finland on the InfoFinland web page Taxation.

Public transport

If you live in a town or city in Finland, it is not necessary to own a car. Public transportation in Finland works well. You can travel almost everywhere in Finland by bus or by train. You can also fly to many cities. In larger cities and areas surrounding them, local public transport is also very efficient. Local public transport is usually organised by buses. Read more on the InfoFinland web page Traffic in Finland.

Driving licence

If you have a driving licence issued in a Nordic country, an EU member state or an EEA country, it is also valid in Finland. You can exchange it for a Finnish driving licence if you are residing in Finland permanently.

If you have a driving licence issued in a country that is party to the Geneva or Vienna Conventions on Road Traffic, the licence is valid in Finland for two years. After this period, you must exchange your licence for a Finnish driving licence.

If you have a driving licence issued in a country not party to the Geneva or Vienna Conventions on Road Traffic, the licence is valid in Finland for one year after you are entered into the Finnish population register.

You can exchange your driving licence for a Finnish driving licence at an Ajovarma service point.

linkkiFinnish Transportation Safety Agency:
Foreign driving licences in FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English

Internet

In Finland many matters can be dealt with over the internet. It is worthwhile getting an internet connection as soon as possible after moving to Finland.

More information on acquiring an internet connection is available on the InfoFinland page Everyday life in Finland.

linkkiFinnish Communications Regulatory Authority:
Internet and telephone subscriptionsFinnish | Swedish | English

Telephone

When you buy a telephone subscription in Finland, you get a Finnish phone number. Many companies sell telephone subscriptions.

You can also buy a Pre-paid subscription. A Pre-paid card has a certain sum charged into it beforehand which you use to make phone calls. Pre-paid subscriptions are sold, for example, at R-kiosks, some supermarkets or over the internet.

linkkiSkype:
Affordable international phone callsFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Estonian | French | Spanish | Turkish | Chinese | German | Portuguese | Polish | Norwegian | Dutch | Hungarian | Japanese

Health

Finland provides both public and private health services. You can use public health services if you have a municipality of residence in Finland. Public health services include, for example, health centres. Public services are much less expensive than private ones.

If you want to book an appointment with a doctor, contact a health centre. If you are not entitled to use public health services, you can visit a private medical clinic.

Further information on Finnish health care is available on the InfoFinland page Health.

Language studies

Finnish and Swedish are Finland’s official languages. Language proficiency will help you to understand the new society and make it easier for you to handle your affairs. Whether you should study Finnish or Swedish depends on which language is spoken in your place of residence. More information is available on the InfoFinland web page Finnish and Swedish language.

Job hunting

The Employment and Economic Development Office provides help with your job hunting. You can look for jobs online and in newspapers. You can also find a job if you personally contact employers that interest you. Read more about how to look for work in Finland on the InfoFinland web page Where to find work?

Leisure and hobbies

You will find information about possible hobbies on the InfoFinland web page Leisure.

linkkiExpat Finland:
Information about Finland for foreignersEnglish