From Finland to another country

If you are planning to move abroad and you currently receive benefits from Kela, you must notify Kela that you are moving. A European Health Insurance Card issued in Finland is also considered a benefit.

If you move abroad temporarily, that is for less than 6 months, you are usually entitled to Kela benefits. You are considered to be moving permanently if you move abroad for good or stay in a country other than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom for longer than six months. In that case, your entitlement to Kela benefits usually ends on the day that you move abroad.

There are some exceptions to the six-month rule if you are staying temporarily in another EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom. Benefits can be paid for longer than six months if you continue to be regarded under EU legislation as resident in Finland. However, please note that if you work in another EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, you cannot receive Kela benefits even if the work abroad lasts less than six months. In that case, your country of employment is responsible for your social security coverage.

If a temporary stay abroad becomes permanent the entitlement to Kela benefits ends immediately.

Regular stays abroad

If you repeatedly stay abroad for less than six months in a country other than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, you can continue to get Kela benefits if you consistently spend most of your time in Finland.

Also, there may be exceptions to the six-month limit if you regularly spend some of your time in another EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom but do not work there. For example pensioners are covered for social security by the country of residence to which they are considered to have the closest ties. Factors that are taken into account include

  • history of residence in Finland and abroad
  • current residential arrangements
  • repeated residence in Finland and abroad
  • family ties in Finland and elsewhere
  • the country paying a pension
  • the country taxing pension payments.

When determining a person’s country of residence within the EU, the other member state’s opinion also counts if the situation is open to interpretation.

Some benefits are not paid abroad at all, or their payment abroad is restricted. For more detailed information, see Benefits in international situations.

You can handle your contacts with Kela online even while abroad

You can use the OmaKela e-service (in Finnish and Swedish) to:

  • notify Kela of a move abroad
  • check the data Kela has about your stays in Finland and abroad
  • notify Kela if your circumstances change while abroad (e.g. if you start work)
  • notify Kela of when you will be returning to Finland.