Social security internationally

People permanently resident in Finland can live abroad, usually for up to a year, and remain within the scope of the Finnish social security system.

People who leave Finland permanently no longer belong to the Finnish social security system but to that of the country to which they have moved. People who come to Finland to live permanently are usually covered by the Finnish residence-based social security system as soon as they have moved to the country.

The Social Insurance Institution of Finland ( Kela) decides on eligibility to Finnish social security when people move to or from Finland. Decisions are based on the Act on the Application of Residence Based Social Security Legislation, 1993.

Working in Finland may also entitle people to Finnish social security. In such situations they may not be living permanently in the country.

Municipalities are responsible for arranging social and health services. The Local Register Office decides on the basis of legislation on the registration of individuals as municipal residents.

When people move abroad temporarily or permanently, they have to notify Kela and their Local Register Office.

Click the picture to open larger version.
Click here for a printable version.

Coordination of social security

The social security of people who move between EU and EFTA countries and Switzerland is regulated by EU legislation on the coordination of social security systems. This is to ensure that people's rights to social security are guaranteed when they move from one country to another. In this way it is possible to avoid discrepancies in such things as pension cover, even though people may have worked in several countries.

EU and EFTA countries and Switzerland have jointly agreed on the use of health services and unemployment benefit, family benefits and pension payments for people moving from one country to another.

Social security agreements

The Nordic Social Security Convention and the Nordic Convention on Social Assistance and Social Services supplement EU legislation.

Also, Finland has separate agreements on social security with some countries, including bilateral agreements with Australia, Chile, Israel, Canada, the United States and India. There is a separate agreement with the Canadian province of Quebec. Finland also has an agreement with Australia on medical care.


The Finnish Immigration Service, which comes under the Ministry of Interior, deals with immigration matters.