Living in Finland
Practical issues upon moving
Health and Social Security
Before arriving to Finland, we recommend you to take along prescriptions and other relevant documents concerning your health. Remember also to bring the medical records of your children’s immunisation with you.
Aalto employees are entitled to the general practitioner level occupational health care services during their employment. The services are not available for those funded by a grant/scholarship nor during unpaid leave or other unpaid contract period.
Aalto’s general practitioner level occupational health care covers the services of an occupational health nurse and an occupational health physician and any follow-up measures agreed with them, such as laboratory test and specialist consultation when needed.
Aalto’s occupational health services provided by Terveystalo are available from Monday till Friday according to the opening hours of health centre designated for campus. The services are not available after 9pm, weekends nor midweek holidays.
Please note that occupational health care services do not cover leisure time or other family members.
More detailed information on occupational health care in Aalto, please see here.
Health care in Finland is of high standard and financed with general tax revenues. Primary health care services are organised by municipalities (e.g. Helsinki, Espoo) and are provided through local health centers. The health centers provide services with physician, dental, laboratory and radiographic at a very low cost for those eligible.
Eligibility to use public health services is based on the right of residence in a Finnish municipality. Check your right to use public health care service from local register office and Kela.
Private sector services, which mainly provide patient care, complement the public services. The private sector also comprises a few hospitals, rehabilitation facilities as well as all pharmacies.
Please note that you should take your prescriptions with you if you have an illness that requires permanent medical treatment. If you are on a continuous medication, please make sure you will be able to get the medicine you need from Finland as well.
More information about social security in case of unemployment can be found from Kela and The Federation of Unemployment Funds in Finland.
We advise you to obtain a good health insurance for yourself (and your family members) from your home country to cover at least the first few months of your stay. This is to secure your early stay, as it may take from few months to get the eligibility to the low cost public health services and Kela benefits.
Health insurance is recommended also for EU/EEA or Switzerland citizens who stay in Finland less than one year since the European Health Insurance Card only covers necessary medical treatment in the municipal health centers.
One option available is insurance with MARSH/SIP. Insurance packages are primarily for students but also staff members and their families are eligible for this insurance.
Finlands earings-related pension scheme is very safe and the pension is always paid to everybody after retiring. The pension is very easily collected by filling in a form. The size of the pension after retiring depends on the years of work, the age and the annual salaries during the work years.
The earnings-related pension scheme is statutory and mandatory. The pension in Finland consists of earnings-related (everyone working) and/or national pensions (very low income or none at all). Everyone working in Finland (18 years and older) must pay ca. 5% of the salary in a month for the pension scheme. The sum is automatically paid from the salary by the employer in addition to the withheld tax.
The employer pays ca. 20% for the pension scheme for every employee every month.
Both the employee's pension sum and the employer's pension sum are listed in the payslip monthly. For more information, please see also:
Supplementery pension provision (etk.fi)
The Finnish social security system is administered by the Finnish Social Insurance Institution, Kela. Various benefits (family, child-care, medicines, unemployment etc.) are available from Kela for those eligible.
When you work in Finland, you are entitled to some Kela benefits and a Kela card. Apply Kela Card at International House Helsinki or a local Kela office .
Kela benefits differ e.g. according to nationality, length of employment contract and stay in Finland, employment and family member status. Check your right for benefits from International House Helsinki.
- The entitlement to the Finnish social security benefits (family and some other benefits) and a Kela card from the first day of work for EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens.
- EU/EEA citizens and their families are entitled to the services of the municipal health care at the moment they arrive in Finland. The costs are higher than for those who have a permanent home municipality.
- Family members of the EU/EEA citizens are entitled to some social benefits when the employee starts to work in Finland.
Social security agreement countries' citizens
- The entitlement to the Finnish social security benefits (family and some other benefits) and a Kela card from the first day of work.
- As social security agreements between Finland and other countries vary, citizens of those countries should check their right to medical treatment and social security in Finland from Kela.
- Finland has a social security agreement with the following countries: USA, Canada, Chile, Israel, Quebec, Australia, South Korea, India, China
Non EU/EEA country citizens
- The entitlemment to the Kela card is provided for the citizens of other countries than EU/EEA from the first day of work.
- The entitlement for the Finnish social security benefits (benefits and reduced prices) for the citizens of other than EU/EEA from the first day of work.
- Right to use the services of the municipal health care after arriving in Finland from their home municipality health center. The costs are higher than for those who have a permanent home municipality.
- Family members of the Non EU/EEA country citizens should check their eligibility to social security benefits from Kela
When you are pregnant you and your family are entitled to free of charge municipal Maternity clinic services. It includes several visits at nurse and doctor during your pregnancy in order to follow up that everything is ok with you and your growing baby.
Maternity clinics provides also general family support, with attention to relationships and parenting. Special emphasis is placed on the role of fathers and parental responsibility
Attending a maternity clinic is one of the preconditions for eligibility for maternity benefit.
Child health clinic
After your child is born, your baby's wellbeing and health is monitored at the Child health clinic (Neuvola- in Finnish) on a regular basis until your child reaches age of 6. Child health clinics provide vaccinations and e.g. general low-threshold support in being a parent.
Espoo Maternity and Child health clinic (espoo.fi)
Vantaa Maternity and Child health clinic (vantaa.fi)
Taxation and Bank Account
Below you can find more details about taxation and opening a bank account in Finland, as well as some relevant links.
International employees get a tax card from Helsinki Area Tax Office (Hämeentie 15, Helsinki) which can issue the Finnish personal ID in case an employee does not already have it.
International House Helsinki provides tax counselling to international employees but are unable to issue the Finnish personal ID at the moment.
Principles of taxation are based on the duration of the stay. If you stay in Finland less than 6 months, your tax percentage is 35% (you get a tax-at-source card) or if you stay over 6 months, you get a tax card for progressive taxation. In progressive taxation your tax percentage depends on your wage – the more you earn, the higher is the tax percentage.
Tax revenue is used to finance services of an internationally high standard, including very affordable health care, education, security as well as care for children and the elderly.
Depending on the tax treaties between Finland and other countries, researchers and teachers may be taxed in a different way.
Helsinki Area Tax Office (vero.fi)
International House Helsinki (ihh.fi)
Information about taxation in InfoFinland website (infofinland.fi)
Tax % Calculator (vero.fi)
Open a Finnish bank account if you receive salary from the Aalto University. The banks recommend that customers reserve an appointment to open a bank account. This ensures that you get service in English. When reserving an appointment, make sure that you get instructions for the documentation to bring with you. Take at least a passport (and visa and residence permit) and some form of proof of the origins of the money coming into this account (contract of employment/certificate of scholarship). Often banks require additional documents.
Attachment "How to open a bank account_General instructions.pdf" (see end of the page) provides more tips on e.g. banks operating in Finland.
Information about banks in Finland (expat-finland.com)
Moving to Finland
Below you can find a few companies that offer also warehousing services in addition to moving services, in case an incoming staff member wants to send their belongings in advance to Finland.
There are also several relocation services available, a few of which are listed below. The rates for relocation services vary based on the service package.
Alfa Relocation (alfamoving.fi)
Finland Relocation Service (finlandrelocation.com)
Motor vehicles imported to Finland are subject to car tax. Before an imported vehicle is registered or taken into use in Finland, car tax must be paid. More information is available at the customs offices.
Useful links for importing of motor vehicle
Moving to Finland (Finnish Customs, tulli.fi)
Vehicle tax (trafi.fi)
Car taxation (vero.fi)
Customs contact information (tulli.fi)
If you are moving to Finland with a pet, please see the regulations on Evira's (Finnish Food and Safety Authority) web pages (evira.fi).
When obtaining accommodation, always ask beforehand that whether pets are allowed.
Living in Finland
Public transportation is well organized and widely used in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The distances in the region are fairly short. You have a variety of public transport (bus, train, metro/subway, tram) to choose from and they are mostly accessible with Electronic Travel Card.
Useful links for public transportation:
Helsinki Region Transport (hsl.fi)
Helsinki region journey planner (reittiopas.fi)
Matkahuolto long distance bus services (matkahuolto.fi)
Those who have a driving license issued by an EU/EEA country are permitted to drive a vehicle specified in their license as long as the license is valid. Those who have a driving license issued in a country that has signed the Geneva or Vienna Road Traffic Convention are permitted to drive for a period of one year. After that they have 6 months to apply for a Finnish driving license.
Driving in Finland – guide (pdf, expat-finland.com)
For longer term accommodation in Helsinki region the best options are either renting or purchasing an apartment or a house. In case you are planning to purchase an apartment we recommend you to contact your bank and/or estate agencies to gain professional assistance and advice. Here you'll find information on renting an apartment, rental rates, and how to find an apartment.
Having social networks helps you feel at home! Aalto University organises many events and other possibilities for international staff and their families to meet and mingle and thus hopefully settle in smoothly. Some examples are Aalto Club and Experiencing Finland event. In addition, we have collected tips and links for you to find the most suitable information.