EU legislation

Workers employed within the EU are entitled to coverage under the social security system of their country of employment

The EU legislation does not replace the social security systems in the Member States with one common system. Instead the social security coverage for persons who move between the EU countries is regulated in EC Regulation 883/2004 (pdf). The country under whose social security system you are covered is determined according to the Regulation. The main principle is that as an employee you are entitled to coverage under the social security system of your country of employment even if you live in another Member State. If you are not employed, your right to social security is determined in accordance with the legislation of your country of residence.

The EC Regulation affects almost all Kela benefits when you move between the EU countries. Please note that the right to certain benefits such as basic social assistance or housing allowance is not determined in accordance with the Regulation. The right to these benefits is determined on the basis of the Finnish national legislation. You usually have to live in Finland on a permanent basis in order to qualify for these benefits.

The purpose of the Regulation is to ensure that persons who move within the EU are covered by only one national social security system at a time. This is called coordination of social security. The purpose of the Regulation is also to ensure that you do not lose any social security entitlements if you move from one EU country to another. The Regulation is applied to EU citizens who are, or have been, entitled to coverage under the social security systems of one or more Member States, as well as to their family members. If you have lived or worked abroad, you can use the OmaKela e-service to check if you are entitled to social security coverage in Finland.

May also apply to nationals of countries outside the EU

The rules governing the coordination of social security within the EU also apply to nationals of countries outside the EU who are residing legally in the EU and whose living and working arrangements or family ties connect them with more than one EU Member State. These situations are covered by the provisions of (EC) Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009.

Denmark, Norway and Iceland apply EC Regulation 883/2004 to nationals of countries outside the EU through the Nordic Convention on Social Security. The United Kingdom applies the older EC Regulation 1408/71 to nationals of countries outside the EU.

The EEA countries and Switzerland also apply the EC Regulation

The EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) also apply EC Regulation 883/2004. Switzerland applies EC Regulation 883/2004, but only to EU citizens who move between the EU and Switzerland.

The EU countries are

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden

The EEA countries are

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which apply EU legislation under the terms of the EEA Agreement. The provisions applicable to the EU and EEA countries also largely apply to Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Moving from one EU country to another and social security coverage

Check what happens to your social security coverage (e.g. health care, pensions, unemployment benefits) when you move from one EU country to another.

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