Right to social security coverage and Kela benefits while abroad

You are usually entitled to Kela benefits during a temporary stay abroad. A temporary stay abroad is taken to mean a stay that lasts a maximum of six months.

In certain situations, even a stay lasting more than six months can be considered to be a temporary stay. You may retain the right to benefits for longer than six months for example if you are staying in another EU country or if you are a full-time student or a posted employee.

With some Kela benefits, even a short period of residence abroad can affect your right to them. Basic social assistance, for instance, is affected by any period of foreign stay lasting more than seven days, while in the case of the child home care allowance, the limit is three months. Please check the webpage describing the benefit relevant to you for details on whether you can retain your right to the benefit if you travel abroad.

Tell Kela if you are moving abroad

Tell Kela if you are moving abroad if

  • you will be staying abroad for longer than three months and Kela is currently paying you benefits
  • you will be staying abroad for longer than six months and you are a full-time student, a posted employee, or otherwise entitled to Kela benefits despite staying abroad
  • you will be employed briefly in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland
  • you stay abroad on a frequent basis and spend most of your time abroad (for example 1-6 months at a time), and Kela is paying you benefits.

You can submit the information easily online.

Persons that are entitled to Kela benefits during stays abroad of more than 6 months

  • posted employees
  • aid workers
  • locally hired employees
  • students
  • researchers
  • a family member of any of the above

Posted employees, locally hired employees and researchers

Together with your employer, report the start and end of the posting abroad to Kela.  The notification must be filed at the latest in connection with the return to Finland, unless the stay abroad becomes relevant for a benefit determination already earlier.

Researchers must notify Kela about research work carries out outside Finland.

If you stay abroad as posted worker, an aid worker or a researcher, you can receive benefits from Kela for a maximum of 5 years. After that, you have to return to Finland for at least 6 months before you can go on a new posting and retain entitlement to Kela benefits. Starting 1 April 2019, the same rules will also apply to missionary workers.

Please note that posted workers and grant recipients insured under the Farmers’ Pensions Act (MYEL) who go to an EU or EEA country or Switzerland received a certificate on their right to coverage under the Finnish social security system from the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

Filing a notification

Report any move abroad if the stay abroad lasts more than 6 months. The notification must be filed at the latest in connection with the return to Finland, unless the stay abroad becomes relevant in connection with a claim for benefit already earlier.

  1. Report the move abroad online. Log in to the e-service using your online bank credentials or a mobile ID.
  2. Scan or take a photo of any supporting documents and send them online.
  3. If you are living abroad and do not have coverage under the Finnish social security system, you may not use your Kela card or European Health Insurance Card. 
  4. You can check what data Kela has on your stay abroad through Kela’s e-service

Students

If you study abroad on a full-time basis, you are entitled to Kela benefits during the period of study.

Filing a notification

  1. Use our e-services to report your move abroad, if you do not receive study grant. Log in to the e-services using your online bank credentials or a mobile ID.
  2. Scan or take a photo of any supporting documents and send them to us via the e-services.
  3. If you are not entitled to Kela benefits while living abroad, you do also not have the right to use the European Health Insurance Card.
  4. You can check what data Kela has on your stay abroad through Kela’s e-service

Students who study abroad and receive financial aid for students from Finland do not need to separately notify Kela of the studies abroad since the necessary information is obtained via the payment of student financial aid. Other full-time students must themselves report the studies abroad if the studies last for more than 6 months.

Civil servants, other persons employed by the Finnish Government, and diplomats

The entitlement to Kela benefits during work abroad is retained for the following groups of persons when they go on assignments to an EU or EEA country or Switzerland:

  • civil servants of the Finnish Government
  • other persons employed by the Finnish Government
  • diplomats.

The employer reports to Kela that the employee works abroad.

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.

Family members of civil servants and posted employees

Filing a notification

Family members must report their stay abroad to Kela if they accompany the employee abroad.

  1. Use our e-services to report the move abroad. Log in using your online bank credentials or a mobile ID.
  2. When needed, scan or photograph the required documents and send them via the e-services.
  3. If you are not entitled to Kela benefits while living abroad, you do also not have the right to use the European Health Insurance Card.
  4. You can check what data Kela has on your stay abroad through Kela’s e-service

The notification must be filed at the latest in connection with the return to Finland. However, it is a good idea to file the notification already when going abroad so that the payment of benefits can continue without interruptions.

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