Information about Brexit and what it means for the social security benefits available from Kela

The UK will no longer be an EU country starting from 1 February 2020. The EU and the UK have negotiated a treaty on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU (Brexit). The treaty will take effect on 1 February 2020. The Brexit treaty includes a transition period until 31 December 2020.

The social security entitlements for persons who move between the EU countries and the UK during the transition period will henceforth be determined in accordance with the Brexit treaty.

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Social security entitlements during the transition period

Brexit will not cause changes to the benefits paid by Kela during the transition period. The same applies to benefits paid from the UK. The transition period continues to year-end 2020. During the transition period, the EU legislation is applied in situations that involve both Finland and the UK.

Social security entitlements after the transition period

The Brexit treaty between the UK and the EU secures entitlement to social security benefits also after Brexit. EU citizens who are covered under the social security system in the UK at the time of Brexit can still maintain entitlement to social security benefits also after the transition period. Conversely, UK citizens who are staying legally in Finland at the time of Brexit can maintain their entitlement to benefits in Finland also after the transition period.

Right of residence in Finland

The rights of residence of British citizens and their family members who stay in Finland have changed as of 1 October 2020. Please follow the instructions of the Finnish Immigration Service as regards rights of residence and the time limits for the application for right of residence. The right to benefits provided by Kela usually presupposes that the person is staying in Finland legally. Kela obtains information on rights of residence from the Finnish Immigration Service.

Kela obtains information on citizenship and changes in citizenship from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

Effects of the Brexit withdrawal agreement

This information mainly concerns only the transition period determined in the Brexit withdrawal agreement. Kela will later provide more information that will also cover the time after the transition period.

Payment of Finnish national pensions to the United Kingdom

Pensioners living in the United Kingdom will continue to receive their Finnish national pension until the end of the transition period, i.e., 31 December 2020. As long as your circumstances remain unchanged, your pension will continue to be paid also after that date.

Student financial aid payments to persons in the United Kingdom

If you study in the United Kingdom and receive financial aid payments from Finland, the payments will continue normally. If you are a Finnish national, your financial aid payments will continue after the transition period ends. Your residence status in the United Kingdom does not affect the payment of financial aid. 

Employees posted to the United Kingdom

A1 certificates issued by the Finnish Centre for Pensions will initially remain valid but will expire at or before the end of the transition period. You will have a right to Kela benefits as long as the A1 certificate is valid.

Medical care in the United Kingdom

You will retain your right to medical care and to reimbursements for medical costs during a period of temporary residence until the end of the transition period. You will also be able to use your Kela-issued European Health Insurance Card in the UK.

Medical care in Finland

You will remain entitled to medical care and can get reimbursements for medical costs while residing temporarily or living in Finland until the end of the transition period. European Health Insurance Cards issued by the United Kingdom will be valid in Finland.

Kela’s customer service

Kela’s customer service number for international matters is open from 10 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday at 020 634 0200 (Finnish) and 020 634 0300 (Swedish). Both helplines also serve English-language customers.

On the Ask about international situations forum, experts from Kela answer questions concerning Kela benefits when moving to or from Finland. Customers are welcome to ask questions in Finnish, Swedish and English.

Additional information