Before moving to Finland
Do you need a residence permit for Finland?
The need for a residence permit depends on your citizenship as well as your reasons for coming to Finland and the length of your stay. If you are a citizen of a Nordic country, an EU member state, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you do not need a residence permit when moving to Finland. If you are a citizen of another country and you want to move to Finland, you need a residence permit. You must apply for the residence permit from the Finnish Immigration Service before you come to Finland.
You must have a sufficient livelihood to be allowed to move to Finland. 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.
Notification of your move to the authorities of the country of origin
When you move to Finland, remember to also notify the authorities of the country which you are moving away from about your move. Moving away from your home country can affect social security, pensions and taxes, for example. In future, it will be easy to take care of things once your information is up to date.
Cost of living in Finland
The cost of living in Finland is high. For example, food and many services are more expensive than the European average. The cost of housing varies a lot. Housing in major cities is much more expensive than in small towns.
Read more about prices and other costs of living in Finland on the InfoFinland page Cost of living in Finland.
You do not usually have to pay duties or taxes for the goods you bring with you to Finland as removal goods.
However, if you move to Finland from outside the EU (or from outside the EU customs and fiscal territory), you must submit a customs declaration for the removal goods to the customs authorities in Finland. Removal goods must be brought to Finland within 12 months of the move.
If you move to Finland from within the EU customs and fiscal territory, you do not have to submit a customs declaration.
For more information on removal goods and the customs declaration, please contact the Customs Information Service at +358 295 or visit the Finnish Custom’s website. The Customs Information Service provides assistance in Finnish, Swedish and English.
Importing a car to Finland
If you import a car from outside the EU (or from outside the EU customs and fiscal territory), you must submit a customs clearance as soon as the car arrives in Finland.
If you import a car from within the EU customs and fiscal territory, you do not have to submit a customs clearance.
Before you can drive the car in Finland, you must:
- obtain a transfer permit if the car does not have a valid registration of an EU or EEA country
- ensure that the car is covered by a motor insurance policy that is valid in Finland
- submit a declaration of vehicle use to the Tax Administration
You can find more information about using a car in Finland on the InfoFinland page Traffic in Finland.
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 (Ruokavirasto) provides more information about the rules applicable in Finland.
Finnish Food AuthorityBringing an animal from another EU countryLink redirects to another website
Finnish Food AuthorityBringing an animal from outside the EULink redirects to another website
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.
After moving to Finland
Registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence
If you are an EU citizen and intend to stay in Finland for over 90 days, you must register your right of residence. Read more on the InfoFinland page Registration of an EU citizen’s right of residence.
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
If you are granted a residence permit for Finland, you will be automatically registered in the Finnish Population Information System. You will receive a Finnish personal identity code at the same time. You can also get a personal identity code in Finland at the nearest Digital and Population Data Services Agency (Digi- ja väestötietovirasto) or at tax offices in larger cities at the same time as you get your tax card. Read more 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 find out at the nearest service location of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency whether a municipality of residence in Finland can be registered for you. Read more on the InfoFinland page Municipality of residence in Finland.
Digital and Population Data Services AgencyRegistering a foreign citizenLink redirects to another website
When you move to Finland, you should apply to Kela for a Kela card. You may have a right to social benefits if you live permanently in Finland and meet the other criteria for being granted the benefits. Your right to social benefits is assessed if you apply for them. If you work in Finland but do not live permanently in Finland, you may have a right to some social benefits. More information on social security in Finland is available on the InfoFinland web page Finnish social security.
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.
If you are employed or an entrepreneur, you need a Finnish tax card. If you have just moved to Finland, you can get a tax card from a tax office (verotoimisto). When you live permanently in Finland, the Tax Administration will send you a new tax card each year in January. Read more on the InfoFinland page Tax card.
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.
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. Once you have been registered in Finland’s Population Information System, you have two years to exchange your foreign driving licence. If you do not exchange your licence in time, you need to complete a driving test (theoretical and practical tests) in Finland.
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 Information System. If you do not exchange your licence, you must also complete a driving test in Finland.
You can exchange your driving licence for a Finnish driving licence at an Ajovarma service point.
Finnish transport and communications agency TraficomForeign driving licences in FinlandLink redirects to another website
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.
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency TraficomInternet and telephone subscriptionsLink redirects to another website
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.
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.
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.
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 Find a job in Finland
Leisure and hobbies
You will find information about possible hobbies on the InfoFinland web page Leisure.