Moving to an EU or EEA country or to Switzerland

EU legislation secures your rights to use healthcare services in the destination country when you move to another EU or EEA country or to Switzerland. If your stay abroad is temporary, you will receive in the destination country medically necessary treatment by presenting a European Health Insurance Card. If your move is long-term or permanent, you must register with the health insurance institution of the destination country.


Your right to receive treatment in EU and EEA countries, and in Switzerland after moving are affected by the following factors:

  • Whether you are covered under health insurance in Finland after your move
  • Whether your move is temporary or permanent
  • Reason for your move.

Under EU legislation, only one country at a time is responsible for the costs of treatment provided. When you move, this country will provide you with personal certificates of entitlement to treatment which, when shown in the destination country, will enable you to obtain treatment.

If you move to another EU or EEA country or to Switzerland to work in the service of a foreign employer, even for a short period, you will normally be covered under the health insurance scheme of your country of employment, and responsibility for your medical care will be transferred to the country in which you work. Your country of employment issues you the certificates of entitlement to treatment. You will receive treatment in the country of employment according the legislation and healthcare system of the country in question. If you use the services of the Finnish public healthcare system, show the treatment provider or Kela the certificate of entitlement to treatment, usually a European Health Insurance Card.

If, after moving, you have a municipality of residence in Finland, you can use all the services of the public healthcare service in the same way as a person resident in Finland. You pay the municipal resident´s client fee for using the services. The Register Office will record the place of domicile in the population register system.

EU legislation affects your entitlement to receive treatment in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland after your move, also in Finland. If Finland is responsible under the decision of Kela for the costs of your treatment, you can use all the services of the Finnish public healthcare system at the client fee set for a municipal resident. The Local Register Office´s entry concerning municipality of residence is irrelevant in this case.

You can use your Kela card after moving abroad only if you are covered by the Finnish health insurance scheme.

Notify Kela if you move abroad on form Y 38. Always notify Kela if your stay aboard is longer than three months.

Residence in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland for less than a year

If you move to an EU or EEA country or to Switzerland for less than a year, your move will usually be considered as a temporary stay in another country. A temporary stay abroad is ,for example, a holiday or an exchange study period abroad.

If your stay is less than a year, under the decision of Kela you usually belong to the Finnish social security system for the duration of your residence abroad. This means that you are you are covered by the Finnish health system and that Finland is responsible under EU legislation for the costs of your treatment too. Under these circumstances

  • You have a Kela Card
  • You can receive a European Health Insurance Card granted by Kela
  • You can use services of the Finnish public healthcare system at the client fee set for a municipal resident, even if you do not have a municipality of residence in Finland.

During a temporary stay in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland you will receive medically necessary treatment in the destination country by presenting the European Health Insurance Card granted by Kela.

Under Finnish legislation, you are generally considered as being resident in Finland for the duration of your stay abroad if it is less than a year. It is, however, possible that the national legislation of another country regards a stay as permanent on the basis of a shorter period, for example, after residence of six months. In situations such as this, in order to obtain treatment, the destination country usually requires you to provide some other certificate of entitlement to treatment. In this case, contact Kela´s Centre for International Affairs.

Residence in an EU or EEA country or, in Switzerland for more than a year

In general, residence for more than a year in an EU or EEA country or, in Switzerland is regarded as permanent. Be aware, however, that if you regularly stay most of the year abroad, you residence abroad can be regarded as permanent. Under circumstances such as this, the legislation of your new country of residence determines the type of care you will receive in the destination country.

Find out well before your move the terms under which you can use healthcare services in the destination country.

If you live abroad for more than a year, you usually lose your right to Finnish health insurance coverage. This means that in general Finland is not responsible for the costs of your medical care. Kela decides on health insurance coverage in Finland and issues a decision on the application of Finnish social security legislation when you move abroad.

  • If you are no longer covered by Finnish health insurance after moving abroad, find out the conditions under which you may join the health system of the destination country.
  • The country responsible for your treatment costs will grant you certificates of entitlement to treatment.

Finland can be responsible for the costs of your medical care, even if you live in another an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland for more than a year or on a permanent basis. Categories of people such as these include, for example:

  • Pensioners who receive a pension only from Finland, even if they are not covered by the Finnish health insurance system
  • Workers posted abroad from Finland who are also covered by the Finnish health insurance system
  • Students studying for their entire degree abroad who receive student financial aid from Finland.

If Finland is responsible for the costs of your care, you will receive from Kela a

  • Certificate of entitlement to treatment concerning residence for registration in the destination country
  • European Health Insurance Card
  • Certificate of entitlement to medical care in Finland with which you can prove your right to use public healthcare services and receive reimbursements for costs of medical care.

Your right to use public healthcare services in Finland after having moved to an EU or EEA country or to Switzerland is determined as follows:

  • If, even after moving abroad, you have a municipality of residence in Finland, you can use the services of the Finnish public healthcare system at the client fee set for a municipal resident.
  • If you do not have a municipality of residence in Finland, but Finland is responsible under EU legislation for the costs of your medical care, you can use the services of the Finnish public healthcare system at the client fee set for a municipal resident.
  • If you do not have a municipality of residence in Finland and, under EU legislation, another EU or EEA country or Switzerland is responsible for the costs of your medical care, you can obtain medically necessary treatment in the Finnish public healthcare system at the client fee set for a municipal resident when you present a European Health Insurance Card issued by another country. You can also receive non-emergency care, but you must pay for the costs of such treatment yourself.

If you require more information about your rights to medical care and certificates of entitlement to treatment when you move from Finland, contact Kela´s Centre for International Affairs.

Apply for certificates of entitlement to treatment from Kela on form SV 140 if Kela has not processed your entitlement to treatment in conjunction with the notification of moving abroad (form Y 38).