How does living or working abroad affect Kela benefits? | Our Services | KelaSkip to content

How does living or working abroad affect Kela benefits?

This page contains information on the most common situations involving a period of study or employment outside Finland. For more information, see From Finland to another country. If none of the below matches your own situation, contact Kela.

Moving or staying abroad

If you move abroad or stay abroad for a longer period than just a normal holiday trip (longer than 6 months), you must always notify Kela. You must also notify Kela when you have returned to Finland.

If your temporary stay in a country which is not an EU or EEA country lasts longer than six months (i.e., becomes permanent), your entitlement to Kela benefits ends effective the day you left Finland. If you are staying in another EU or EEA country, the time limit is flexible. Report changes to Kela. Use the OmaKela e-service to check if you are covered under the Finnish social security system. Please note that our e-service is only available in Finnish and Swedish.

For more information about the payment of benefits outside Finland, see Benefits in international situations.

You must notify Kela if you are covered under the Finnish social security system and start a job or switch employers while abroad. If you leave Finland to work in another EU or EEA country, your social security coverage will usually be transferred to your country of employment regardless of how long your employment there will last. Read more about the social security coverage of persons working outside Finland.

If you are a so-called posted worker and will work in another EU/EEA country or in Switzerland, your employer must apply to the Finnish Centre for Pensions for an A1 certificate before the posting is set to begin. With the certificate, you can prove that you are covered by the Finnish social security system during your posting. You should also contact the Finnish Centre for Pensions if you have any other specific questions or concerns about working in another EU or EEA country.

Posted workers, posted self-employed persons and civil servants, along with their family members, can retain their social security coverage in Finland during a period of employment lasting more than six months in a country other than an EU or EEA country. The employment outside Finland must be notified to Kela.

The social security coverage of employees and self-employed persons who move to a country that has a social security agreement with Finland is normally determined by reference to the length of their residence abroad. The exception to this are employees and self-employed persons who move to another Nordic country. Their coverage is largely determined according to the same rules that apply to employees moving to another EU or EEA country.

Notify Kela if you are an accompanying family member and will stay abroad for longer than a typical holiday trip. The entitlement of accompanying family members to social security coverage in Finland is usually determined by reference to the length of their stay abroad. If you are not employed abroad and will stay there for a year or less, you will be covered by Finnish social security.

The family members of posted workers and civil servants must apply to retain their coverage under the Finnish social security system.

Pensioners must notify Kela if they move abroad or will stay abroad temporarily. Their entitlement to social security coverage from Finland is determined based on the same principles governing temporary and permanent residence as for anyone else who moves away from Finland. Typically, pensioners who stay abroad for less than six months will retain their social security coverage in Finland. Read more about the social social security coverage of pensioners staying abroad.

Students and researchers leaving Finland for another EU/EEA country or for Switzerland are as a general rule covered by the social security system of the country in which they will be living. If you study or do research work abroad for less than a year you should notify Kela. How to apply for social security coverage if your move abroad.

Students and researchers moving abroad for more than a year can remain covered by the Finnish social security system, but they must, within a year of moving, apply for a decision on coverage under the Finnish system.

If you also work while studying in another EU/EU or EEA country or in Switzerland, your social security coverage will usually be transferred to your country of employment, provided that you meet the minimum criteria for employment applicable in that country. Tell Kela if your will be working abroad.

If you are leaving Finland while registered as a jobseeker, remember to tell Kela about it.

Jobseekers can look for work in another EU/EEA country or in Switzerland for up to three months. During that time, you can be paid the same amount in basic and earnings-related unemployment allowances as you would in Finland. Labour market subsidy is not payable abroad. You are covered by the Finnish social security system as long as you receive unemployment allowance payments from Finland. If you do not receive unemployment allowance, your coverage under the Finnish social security system is determined by whether your move abroad is considered to be of a permanent or temporary nature.

If you fall ill while staying temporarily in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland, you get medically necessary treatment under the same terms and at the same cost as the local residents. If you are planning to stay abroad for longer than three months, call Kela to find out whether you will be entitled to medical care. For further information, see the Medical care abroad and If you fall ill while abroad sections.

Last modified 22/2/2024

What do you think of this page?