Social security coverage for students and researchers

If you move to Finland only in order to study here, you may be entitled to some Kela benefits, provided that your move to Finland is considered permanent. This is determined mainly on the basis of the estimated duration of your studies and on your country of origin. The entitlement to benefits for persons who come to Finland for research work depends on, for instance, whether a researcher who works with the support of a grant is equated to a self-employed person or whether the person’s income is otherwise sufficiently high.

Students

If you come to Finland from another EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom in order to study here, your stay in Finland is usually considered temporary. In that case, your country of origin is responsible for your social security benefits. You are, however, entitled to medically necessary health care if you have a European Health Insurance Card issued by your country of origin. Order the card before coming to Finland.

If you come to Finland from a country other than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom in order to study here for at least 2 years, you can usually receive a Kela card and certain benefits such as reimbursements from Kela for medicine costs. You are not, however, entitled to all Kela benefits. For instance, general housing allowance is not paid to students.  

Your circumstances may change during your studies. When determining whether a person is entitled to social security coverage, Kela also takes into account possible other reasons for the stay in Finland in addition to studies. Such reasons may include previous residence, family ties or employment in Finland. If you work in Finland alongside your studies, you can become entitled to benefits on the basis of your employment even if your residence in Finland is not considered permanent. One requirement for entitlement to benefits on the basis of employment is that your wage amounts to at least EUR 741.75 per month.

Researchers

Researchers who receive a Finnish grant for at least 4 months must take out insurance under the Farmers’ Pensions Act (MYEL) if the grant amounts to at least EUR 4,131 annually (in 2022). The entitlement to Kela benefits for researchers who receive a grant is based on this pension insurance policy for self-employed persons. The insurance is provided by the Farmers’ Social Insurance Institution (MELA).

Researchers who receive a grant but are not considered self-employed persons can become entitled to Kela benefits if their income is sufficiently high. In such cases, the wage, the foreign grant or other income must amount to at least EUR 741.75 per month (in 2022). If the income level of a researcher who works in Finland does not reach this minimum level, the entitlement to benefits is determined on the basis of whether the person's residence in Finland is considered permanent.