How to apply for coverage under the Finnish social security system during stay abroad

The following persons must apply for coverage under the Finnish social security system if they move abroad for more than 1 year:

  • employees posted abroad
  • students
  • researchers
  • locally hired employees
  • the family members of any of the above.
  1. Apply for social security coverage online. Log in to Kela's online customer service (in Finnish and Swedish only) using your online bank ID or a mobile ID.
  2. Scan or take a photo of any supporting documents and send them over the internet (in Finnish and Swedish only).
  3. If you will not be covered by the Finnish social security system during your stay abroad, you must return your Kela card and European health insurance card. You can hand them in at any Kela's customer service points.
  4. You can go to Kela's online service to see if your application has been decided.

Alternatively, you can complete and print out the form ‘Moving from Finland or employment abroad’ (Y 38e) and send it by post to Kela along with the relevant supporting documents.

Apply online for coverage under the Finnish social security system

Send the application and supporting documents via Kela's online customer service system. Documents photographed with a mobile phone are accepted if the pictures are clear and legible.

Send an application

When to apply

The application must be filed within 1 year of moving abroad or of the date on which a previous decision expired. If you are receiving benefits from Kela, the application should be filed before moving from Finland.

Decisions on coverage under the Finnish social security system are issued for a limited period of up to 5 years. If, after the 5 years are up, you continue to live outside Finland, the decision can be extended by a further 5 years, provided that you still have close ties to Finland. If you have been covered by the Finnish social security system for 10 years while living abroad, your coverage can continue if you live in Finland for at least one year before submitting a new application for coverage.

Civil servants posted to another EU/EEA country or to Switzerland get a certificate from the Finnish Centre for Pensions indicating their coverage under the Finnish social security system.

The following persons are automatically covered under the Finnish social security system while working abroad:

  • Finnish civil servants posted to other countries than the EU/EEA countries or Switzerland
  • other persons employed by the Finnish Government
  • diplomats
  • aid workers and missionaries.

Notification that an employee will be working abroad is given by the employer, and no separate application for coverage under the Finnish social security system is needed.

Family members of civil servants and posted employees

Family members must, however, always apply for coverage under the Finnish social security system.

  1. Apply online for coverage under the Finnish social security system. Log in to Kela's online customer service (in Finnish and Swedish only) using your online bank ID or a mobile ID.
  2. Scan or take a photo of any supporting documents and send them online (in Finnish and Swedish only).
  3. If you will not be covered by the Finnish social security system during your stay abroad, you must return your Kela card and European health insurance card. You can hand them in at any Kela's customer service points.
  4. You can go to Kela's online service to see if your application has been decided.

Alternatively, you can complete and print out the form ‘Moving from Finland or employment abroad’ (Y 38e) and send it by post to Kela along with the relevant supporting documents.

When to apply

Family members of posted workers must apply for coverage within 1 year of moving abroad or of the expiration of a previous decision on coverage. The application period is 1 year exactly. Family members of civil servants, too, must apply for coverage under the Finnish social security system.

For information about how long the processing of a claim usually takes, see Application processing times and inquiries.

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