Proving your right to treatment in Finland

You must prove your right to treatment with a certificate of entitlement to medical care in order obtain care at the local client fee of Finland. The certificates of entitlement to medical care include the European Health Insurance Card, Certificate of entitlement to treatment benefits in Finland and prior authorisation. Urgent medical care is available to everyone even without the certificate.


There are several different certificates and their purposes vary. Present the certificate of entitlement to medical care and your identity card to the treatment provider upon arrival to treatment. The certificate must be valid at the time when the treatment is given.

If you come to Finland to seek treatment, a certificate of entitlement to medical care is not necessarily needed. In that case, you will, however, have to pay all treatment costs yourself. You can possibly apply for reimbursement retrospectively from you own health insurance institute.

Certificates of entitlement to medical care in sudden cases of illness

If you become suddenly ill during a temporary stay in Finland (on holiday, for example) or you require treatment due to a chronic illness, pregnancy or childbirth, you can demonstrate your right to treatment with the following:

  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
  • certificate temporarily replacing a European Health Insurance Card
  • passport or other identity card if you are permanently living in another Nordic country
  • passport granted by Australia, Great Britain or Northern Ireland. The passport of a person coming from Australia must indicate that they have unlimited right of residence in Australia.
  • certificate of entitlement to treatment in Finland, issued by Kela.

If you live in another Nordic country, Great Britain or Northern Ireland or Australia, your permanent address must also be in that country in order for you to receive treatment with the same client fee as the residents of Finland. Give your address to the treatment provider.

If you are a permanent resident of the Channel Islands (Man, Guernsey, Alderney, Herm, Jethou, Sark and Jersey), you are not entitled to medically necessary treatment during temporary residence in Finland since the islands are not part of the European Union. Therefore, a passport from the Channel Islands cannot be used to demonstrate the right to treatment in Finland.

European Health Insurance Card

With the card you will receive treatment for sudden illness, a chronic condition, pregnancy or childbirth with the same client fee and in the same manner as the residents of Finland.

Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that you need to receive in order to return home safely and in accordance with your original plan. The duration of your residence in Finland affects the extent of treatment provided. You can apply for a European Health Insurance Card from your own health insurance institution.

Certificate of entitlement to treatment benefits in Finland

A certificate of entitlement to treatment benefits in Finland is a document that indicates the extent of your entitlement to treatment within the Finnish public health care system. The right may be extensive (all necessary treatment) or concise (medically necessary treatment). The certificate also indicates whether you are entitled to medical care reimbursements from Kela. The certificate is issued by Kela’s Centre for International Affairs.

Prior authorisation

A prior authorisation under Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 is a payment commitment on the basis of which the country responsible for the patient’s medical care costs will pay the actual costs of treatment provided in Finland. You will pay the same client fee as Finnish patients. Apply for a prior authorisation from the health insurance institution of your country of residence.

S3 form

If you have worked in Finland as a frontier worker and now on pension live in another country, you are entitled to continue treatment that was started in Finland also after retirement. Request a separate certificate of entitlement to medical care (S3 form) from the health insurance institution of the country responsible for your medical care costs during your pension. The certificate of entitlement to medical care allows you to continue treatment in Finland.

If you do not have a certificate of entitlement to treatment

If you do not have a certificate of entitlement to treatment, try to primarily contact your health insurance institute or the authority that covers your health care costs in order to acquire the necessary certificate or a replacement thereof.

If you do not have the European Health Insurance Card or if your card has gone missing, your health insurance institute can provide you with a certificate to replace the Card.

If necessary, you can ask Kela to determine whether a certificate of entitlement to treatment can be acquired for you. Your treatment provider can also make the request for you.

If you do not have a certificate of entitlement to treatment or one cannot be acquired, the treatment provider will usually invoice you for the actual costs incurred from your treatment.

If a treatment provider does not accept the European Health Insurance Card

If you are unable to receive medically necessary treatment by presenting the European Health Insurance Card in the public health care system of Finland, you can resolve the matter by using the SOLVIT service of the European Commission. SOLVIT informs authorities on the rights of persons coming from another EU country and helps in solving problem situations.

Read more about the SOLVIT service at www.solvit.eu.