From other countries to Finland

If you move to Finland on a permanent basis, you can usually receive Kela benefits starting from the date of your move to Finland.

When you apply for a benefit Kela determines whether you are considered to be permanently resident in Finland or if you can become entitled to Kela benefits on the basis of your employment. The determination of residence is affected by, for instance, whether you are a returnee, whether you work in Finland for a long period of time or if you have close family ties to a person who is already resident in Finland. Kela can also consider the residence permanent if you have previously stayed in Finland for a year already.

You must have a residence permit, if you are required to get one. Residence permits are issued by the Finnish Immigration Service. If you are a citizen of an EU or EEA country or a Swiss citizen you do not need a residence permit. However, if you stay in Finland for more than 3 months, you must register with the Finnish Immigration Service within 3 months of arriving in Finland.

You can apply for Kela benefits and the Kela card via Kela’s e-service (available in Finnish and Swedish only). If you have not previously applied for Kela benefits or the Kela card and you have moved to Finland, you must file a notification of the move to Finland in addition to the application for a benefit or the Kela card. File a notification. You will receive a written decision that will be sent to the address you have stated. If your move to Finland is considered permanent, you will receive a Kela card. You can check the status of your application and your entitlement to social security coverage in Kela's e-service.

Information about application processing times is available at Application processing times and inquiries.

Temporary stay in Finland

If your stay in Finland is temporary, you will normally not be entitled to benefits from Kela. You are usually not considered to have moved to Finland on a permanent basis, if you stay in Finland for a short period of time for instance as a student, a jobseeker, an au pair or a trainee. Asylum seekers are also not granted Kela benefits while the application for asylum is being processed.

If you are entitled to social security coverage in another EU country, you cannot at the same time be entitled to social security coverage in Finland and you can usually not receive benefits. 

You are usually entitled to social security coverage in another country if:

  • you are a posted worker from another EU or EEA country or from Switzerland
  • you are a cross-border worker who lives in Finland or moves to Finland but you work in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland
  • you are employed by a foreign government or an intergovernmental organisation, and you are not a Finnish citizen.

Notification of move to the local register office

Anyone moving to Finland for more than 1 year must register with the local register office. The local register office will decide on the basis of your notification whether you can be entered into the Finnish population register and whether you will get a place of domicile. As part of the registration, you will be issued a personal identity code, if you have not been given one already.

The decision of the local register office on a place of domicile is not binding for Kela, and it is also not a ground for payment of Kela benefits. Kela determines whether a move to Finland and residence in Finland is to be considered permanent on the basis of separate legislation.  

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