Guidance

Living in Finland

Information for British citizens moving to or living in Finland, including guidance on residency, healthcare and passports.

This guide sets out essential information for British citizens moving to or living in Finland. Read about how our embassy in Helsinki can help.

This information is provided as a guide only. You should get definitive information from the Finnish authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Read general guidance on moving or retiring abroad.

To stay up to date:

If you were living in Finland before 1 January 2021

Some parts of this guide only apply if you have been living in Finland since before 1 January 2021. You should read these in addition to the rest of the guidance in each section.

You should also read our Living in Europe page for detailed guidance about citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Coronavirus

Follow the advice of the Finnish government and your local authority. You can also read the Finland travel advice.

For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in Finland, read our coronavirus travel advice.

Visas and residency

You must tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

Check the entry requirements for Finland.

Read the Finnish Immigration Service guidance on residence permits.

If your residence permit application is refused, you will be notified about the appeal process along with your application decision. This will include the Administrative Court you must appeal to, the deadline, what to provide and how to submit your appeal. You can remain in Finland while you wait for the Administrative Court’s appeal decision.

Read the Finnish government appeals advice.

If you need help with your appeal, you can contact the immigration advice service provided by your local city services. The service is free and provides personal advice on residence permits. The Refugee Advice Centre also provides legal aid and advice to foreigners.

Visas and residency if you were living in Finland before 1 January 2021

If you applied for your new residence permit (‘Brexit permit’) by 30 September 2021, your rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement pending a decision on your application. You should continue the process to get your Brexit permit if you do not have this yet.

Your Brexit permit is valid for 5 years. You must renew your Brexit permit before the expiry date.

Read guidance from the Finnish Immigration Service on:

If you have not had a response to your Brexit permit application, use your application number to check the status of your application online.

Appeal process

If your application is refused, you will be notified about the appeal process. The appeal instructions will tell you which Administrative court you must appeal to, the deadline for making your appeal, any documents you must send and how to submit your appeal. Read the Finnish government advice on how to appeal a residency decision.

There is usually a fee charged for using the Administrative courts.

Read information on what matters are dealt with by the Administrative Court, and for advice about making an appeal and the availability of legal aid.

If your appeal is rejected you may be able to apply for residence as a third country national. A third country national is someone who does not have EU, EEA or Swiss nationality.

You are allowed to stay in Finland for the appeal decision. If your appeal is refused, you can leave voluntarily. You are usually given 30 days to leave and can apply for an assisted voluntary return. If you do not leave voluntarily, the police or Border Guard will remove you.

Late applications

The deadline for applying for a Brexit permit was 30 September 2021. You can still apply if you have reasonable grounds for missing it. You should apply as soon as possible.

To apply online, read the Finnish Immigration Service guidance. Use the additional information section to explain why your application is late. The Finnish Immigration Service will review each late application on an individual basis.

Family members

Your close family members continue to be able to join you and settle in Finland at any point in the future. Find out who this applies to in the Living in Europe guidance.

Apply at a Finnish embassy or an approved application centre. See the Finnish government’s guidance on how to apply for residence as a family member. Nationals of certain non-EU countries may need a visa before travel. The Finnish authorities should issue family reunion visas free of charge.

Passports and travel

Coronavirus travel restrictions may affect travel to and from Finland.

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Finland.

Check the Finland travel advice for passport validity requirements.

Always carry your passport when travelling within the Schengen area. If you have citizenship of an EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) country, in addition to your British citizenship, you should enter and leave Finland using your EU or EFTA passport.

If you stay in Finland with a Finnish residence permit or long stay visa, this time does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit for the Schengen area.

If you visit other Schengen area countries outside Finland, make sure you do not exceed the visa-free 90 days in any 180-day period. You are responsible for counting how long you stay under the Schengen visa waiver, and you must comply with its conditions.

Different rules apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

If you were living in Finland before 1 January 2021

When you travel, carry your Brexit permit or frontier worker permit issued under the Withdrawal Agreement, in addition to your valid passport.

You must proactively show your residence document, or other evidence of residence status, if you are asked to show your passport at border control. If you have applied for, but not yet received, your residence document, show your certificate of application.

If you cannot prove that you are a resident in Finland, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the EU. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. This will not affect your rights in the country or countries where you live or work. If a passport is stamped, the stamp is considered null and void when you can show evidence of lawful residence.

If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you can enter and exit Finland with a valid passport. You do not need any additional validity on the passport beyond the dates on which you are travelling.

Healthcare

Read our guidance on healthcare in Finland and make sure you are correctly registered for your circumstances.

Medical treatment, medicine and hospital stays are rarely completely free of charge in Finland.

Travel insurance is not intended to cover healthcare costs if you live overseas.

Read the guidance if you need to travel with medicines.

Working in Finland

If you are planning to move to Finland and work, you may need a residence permit and a work permit. Read the Finnish government’s guidance on working in Finland.

To apply for a job you may need to provide a UK police certificate.

Read:

If you work in Finland, even if you work for a UK-based company, this may affect where you pay National Insurance-type contributions. Read the National insurance and social security contributions section for more information.

If you were living in Finland before 1 January 2021

You have the right to work under the Withdrawal Agreement if you have a Brexit permit or have applied for one.

If you live in Finland and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or EFTA country before 1 January 2021, read our guidance for frontier workers.

Professional qualifications

You may need to get your professional qualification recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in Finland.

Read guidance on:

If you were living in Finland before 1 January 2021

If the relevant regulator in Finland officially recognised your professional qualification before 1 January 2021, or you started the recognition process by this date, make sure you understand the terms of your decision. You should get advice from the relevant regulator.

Studying in Finland

If you plan to study in Finland for more than 90 days, you must get a residence permit.

Contact the relevant higher education provider in Finland to check what fees you may have to pay.

Read guidance on:

If you were living in Finland before 1 January 2021

The studying in the European Union guidance includes information if you were already living in Finland before 1 January 2021.

Tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Finland so that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.

You should get professional advice on paying tax in Finland. Find an English-speaking lawyer in Finland.

Read guidance on:

National insurance and social security contributions

National Insurance-type contributions (NIC) are called ‘social security contributions’ (SSC) in Finland. Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in Finland.

If you plan to move to Finland and work, even if you continue working for a UK-based company, you and your employer may need to pay social security contributions in Finland. These social security contributions would entitle you to certain benefits, such as healthcare, in Finland

Read guidance on National Insurance for workers from the UK working in the EEA or Switzerland .

You can also check your UK National Insurance record.

Benefits

UK benefits

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Finland.

Check which UK benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid to you if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

Finnish benefits

You may be eligible to claim some Finnish social security benefits.

Read guidance from Kela (Finland’s Social Insurance Institution) about how the UK leaving the EU might affect your Finnish social security benefits.

Pensions

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Finland.

Read State Pension guidance if you have lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand and you are claiming or waiting to claim your UK State Pension.

If you retire in Finland, you can claim:

Read the Money and Pension Service’s MoneyHelper guidance on pension and retirement for more information on cross-border pensions.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you must respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you do not.

Money and banking

Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA depends on local laws and regulation.

Read the Money and Pension Service’s MoneyHelper guidance on banking, insurance and financial services for more information on cross-border banking.

Accommodation and buying property

Read guidance on how to buy or let property in Finland.

Driving in Finland

You cannot renew or replace your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence if you live in Finland.

Read the guidance on what you must do to drive legally in Finland:

Exchanging your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence

If you live in Finland, you must exchange your licence for a Finnish one within 2 years of moving there. You can exchange your licence without having to take a test for licence categories A1, A2, A or B. If your licence has expired, or you have been living in Finland for more than 2 years, you will need to take a test. You cannot use an International Driving Permit (IDP) instead of exchanging your licence.

Exchanging your licence if you were living in Finland before 1 January 2021

If you were living in Finland before 1 January 2021, you must exchange your UK driving licence for a Finnish one before 31 December 2022.

Disabled drivers

If you have a UK Blue Badge and live in Finland, you must return it to the original UK issuing authority. You can apply for a new Finnish disabled parking card.

Read the EU guidance on the EU parking card for people with disabilities.

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Finland

Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Driving outside Finland with a Finnish licence

You can use your Finnish licence when visiting the UK. Keep up-to-date with the UK Highway Code.

If you go to live in the UK, you can exchange your Finnish licence for a UK one without taking a test.

To drive in another country, in addition to your Finnish licence you may need to apply for an IDP.

Read the EU guidance on:

Voting

If you are resident in Finland you can vote and stand in local municipal elections. You cannot vote in national or European Parliament elections.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths, marriage and civil partnerships

If your child is born in Finland, you can register the birth with the UK authorities in addition to registering locally. If your child has British nationality, you do not need to register the birth with the UK authorities to apply for a British passport.

If someone dies in Finland read our guidance on:

Find out how you can get married or get a civil partnership abroad.

You may also read notarial and documentary services for UK nationals in Finland.

Pets

If you’re moving to Finland with your pet, read the guidance and ensure you comply with the regulations:

To visit other countries with your pet, check the rules for the country you’re travelling to. Contact your vet to get the travel documents your pet needs.

Read guidance on:

Emergencies

Dial the European emergency number 112 in Finland for the police, ambulance or fire brigade.

Dial the EU 116 hotline to report a missing child in the EU country where you live or in another EU country.

If your child is at risk of being, or has been, abducted, read the guidance on international parental child abduction, the EU guidance on child abduction and EU guidance on child abduction to another EU country.

If you’re the victim of a crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis, contact the British Embassy Helsinki.

Returning to the UK

Check the COVID-19 travel guidance for entering the UK.

Tell the Finnish and UK authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

If you get healthcare in Finland through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, bringing family members, tax and access to services.

Useful information

Support for British nationals abroad: a guide sets out how to stay safe abroad, and explains how the FCDO can support you if you get into difficulty.

Published 15 November 2013
Last updated 11 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Important information in the Working in Finland, and National insurance sections if you work in Finland, even it if it is for an employer based in the UK.

  2. Guide reviewed and updated with new information

  3. Visa and residency section updated following the 30 September 2021 residency application deadline for people living in Finland since before 1 January 2021. Includes information about ongoing and late residency applications, and appeals.

  4. Professional qualifications section updated for British citizens who are moving or moved to Finland after 1 January 2021 and those living there since before 1 January 2021.

  5. Working in Finland section updated: new guidance for frontier workers

  6. Healthcare section updated including guidance on the S1 form and applying for EHIC and GHIC cards; working in Finland section updated with link to Department for International Trade (DIT) guidance on working or providing services and link to DIT guidance on recognition of professional qualifications; and education section updated with information on studying in Finland and funding eligibility for students.

  7. Coronavirus section updated with a link to guidance on vaccines

  8. Updated as the transition period ends with new information on residency, driving, pet travel and moving to Finland

  9. Passports and travel section updated on carrying proof of residence when travelling.

  10. Healthcare section updated on how to apply for a new UK EHIC as a student or S1 holder. Working section updated with information on frontier workers.

  11. Visa and residency section updated on how to apply for the new residency permit.

  12. Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021

  13. Brexit update: includes further details on passport validity, healthcare rights and State Pension uprating if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

  14. Brexit update: healthcare section updated to reflect transitional arrangements announcement

  15. Brexit update: Pensions section updated to include further details on State Pension uprating.

  16. EU Exit update: updated information regarding EU visa-free travel.

  17. EU Exit update: updated information on EU Exit regarding passports, pensions and returning to the UK.

  18. EU Exit update: updated information on EU Exit in the visas and residency, healthcare and driving sections

  19. EU Exit update: Updated information on healthcare.

  20. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.

  21. EU Exit update: Updated information on passports. you must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip.

  22. EU Exit update: New link to the Finnish government's website added to the EU Exit section.

  23. EU Exit update: New links to the Finnish Immigration Service website and to a list of our outreach events added to the EU Exit section. New link to Kela's Centre for International Affairs added to the Benefits section.

  24. EU Exit update - Updated information on access to healthcare.

  25. EU Exit update: updated information on pensions and driving

  26. EU exit update: New information in residency and visa section on draft withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and EU. Plus information on travelling with pets in Europe in pet section.

  27. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.

  28. Updated information for the recipients of UK old age state pension in the "Living in Finland" guide.

  29. Updated Living in Finland guide

  30. First published.