Finnish diplomats and officials working abroad

The employees of Finnish embassies in foreign countries are either employees posted from Finland or employees hired on site. Diplomatic representatives are always a part of posted personnel.

  • The Ministry for Foreign affairs will decide who is to be considered posted personnel.
  • Diplomats use a diplomatic passport to demonstrate their position.
  • Persons who do not have diplomatic status can also be considered a part of posted personnel.

A person’s place of domicile will remain in Finland if they are employed by a diplomatic embassy of Finland, another similar type of embassy or the agency of a posted consul and they have Finnish citizenship. The place of domicile of their family members will also remain in Finland. As a person with a place of domicile, they are entitled to any necessary treatment within Finland’s public healthcare.

Diplomats in service relationships as well as other officials employed by the state or other Finnish general government organisations, and other persons who can be considered to be in a similar position, are covered by Finnish social security legislation without any time limits when they work within another EU or EEA country, in Switzerland or in Israel. In this case, they are employed by the state, a municipality, the province of Åland, the church or the Bank of Finland. Persons employed by agencies and institutions are also considered to be in the service of the state of Finland. These persons are entitled to use all public healthcare services in Finland by paying the same customer fee as the residents of the municipality, even if they do not have a place of domicile in Finland. If necessary, Kela will provide these persons with a certificate of entitlement to treatment in Finland that allows them to demonstrate their right to treatment.

Foreign diplomats working in Finland

Depending on their tasks, persons working in foreign embassies are either posted workers or personnel hired from Finland. If the position of a person is unclear, the authority can contact the Protocol Services of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in order to verify the situation.

  • Diplomats who arrive from EU and EEA countries or from Switzerland or Australia have the right to utilise Finnish public healthcare services during their stay in Finland; they only need to pay the same customer fee as the residents of the municipality in question.
  • The persons are also entitled to receive reimbursement for private medical care from Kela.
  • If necessary, Kela will provide these persons with a certificate of entitlement to treatment in Finland that allows them to demonstrate their right to treatment.
  • Public healthcare can apply for state reimbursement of the costs of the person’s treatment from Kela.

Diplomats and other foreign personnel working in foreign embassies who have arrived from outside the EU, EEA, Switzerland or Australia are only entitled to emergency treatment within public healthcare. They are responsible for the costs of treatment. An insurance company or another party, such as the foreign embassy, can reimburse the costs.

Persons working for international organisations in Finland

The right of the personnel of international organisations to use public healthcare depends on the agreement between Finland and the organisation. As a rule, the international organisations will arrange healthcare and health insurance for their foreign employees. If a person working for an international organisation has a place of domicile in Finland, they are entitled to all public healthcare services in the same manner as all other residents of Finland.

  • The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is an agency under the European Union that operates in Helsinki. The agency arranges its social security in accordance with the terms of the service relationship that is applied to civil servants and other officials within the European communities. Since the employees and their families are covered by the community’s own social security system, they are mainly outside of the Finnish social security system. The agency arranges health insurance and healthcare services for its personnel and it has entered into separate contracts concerning the organisation of treatment with the public and private healthcare sectors in Finland. In situations that are not covered by the contract, the personnel of the Chemicals Agency are only entitled to emergency treatment within Finland’s public healthcare, and they are responsible for the costs of the treatment themselves.
  • Foreign employees of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM), the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB), the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) and the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) are entitled to use public healthcare services and to receive reimbursement for private medical care from Kela. If necessary, Kela will provide employees arriving from abroad with a certificate of entitlement to treatment in Finland that allows them to demonstrate their right to treatment.

Missionaries and people working in development co-operation

The place of domicile of persons who leave Finland in order to work as missionaries or in development co-operation usually remains in Finland. When their place of domicile remains in Finland, they can use all public healthcare services at the same price as the residents of the municipality in question.

If a person does not have a place of domicile in Finland and they work outside of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, they are usually only entitled to emergency treatment within public healthcare. The person is responsible for the costs of emergency treatment provided within public healthcare.

Persons working as missionaries or within development co-operation outside of the EU, ETA or Switzerland can remain covered by the Finnish social security system managed by Kela even if they do not have a place of domicile in Finland. The usual prerequisite is that the person was covered by Finnish social security before being posted abroad. In this case, the person can receive reimbursement for private medical care from Kela and use the Kela Card.

Conscripts arriving from abroad

The national legislation contains special provisions for the healthcare of persons doing their compulsory military service in Finland. The conscript’s country of origin is not significant.

  • The Finnish Defence Forces will arrange healthcare for the persons whose healthcare is their statutory liability.
  • Medical care is provided when an illness, injury or defect has occurred, been discovered or grown worse during military service or when an illness that requires treatment but does not prevent admittance into military service has been discovered during the medical check-up of a newly enlisted conscript.
  • The services are free for the conscript.

The Finnish Defence Forces may acquire the services from public and private service providers according to separate agreement. If no separate agreement has been made with a public healthcare service provider, the reimbursement paid by the Finnish Defence Forces is determined according to the costs incurred on the hospital district and health centre during the provision of the service.

EU legislation also states that a person who has arrived in Finland from an EU or EEA country or from Switzerland and who is performing their compulsory military service in Finland is entitled to receive necessary treatment within public healthcare even if they do not have a place of domicile in Finland.

Prisoners and other detainees

Prisoners and prisoners on remand

The state is responsible for all healthcare costs for prisoners and prisoners on remand, regardless of the prisoner’s place or country of domicile. The prerequisite is that the examination or treatment arranged outside of the prison has been ordered and approved by a doctor from the Criminal Sanctions Agency. With permission from a doctor from the Criminal Sanctions Agency, a prisoner is entitled to receive medication, examinations or other healthcare inside the prison at their own cost.

Remand prisoners and detainees held by the police

The customer fees for the public healthcare of remand prisoners and detainees held by the police are paid from state funds. The payment requires that the doctor has been arranged by the police and that the doctor has determined that the provided services are necessary.

If the person has a place of domicile in Finland, they are entitled to all public healthcare services in the same manner as all other residents of Finland. Healthcare for detainees is arranged by the municipality or joint municipality in whose area arranging the treatment is purposeful.

With the exception of the customer fees, the costs of the treatment are covered by the place of domicile or the hospital district. If the person does not have a place of domicile in Finland, all costs of treatment are borne by the state.

The state arranges the prevention of infectious diseases. The place of domicile of the detainee is responsible for covering the cost of those medicines for the treatment of infectious diseases which are free for the patient.

Person subjected to medical sanctions

A medical sanction refers to involuntary psychiatric hospital treatment of a person whose sentence has been waived. The person’s place of domicile is responsible for the costs of treatment.

In case of an international enforcement of a medical sanction, Finland and the appropriate country will agree separately on the division of cost responsibilities. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for the communication with the authorities of other countries in relation to the international enforcement of medical sanctions.

If the costs are borne by the country of enforcement and the medical sanction has been transferred to Finland for enforcement, the state of Finland will be responsible for the costs of the person’s healthcare until the point when the prerequisites for committing a person to involuntary treatment have been determined in accordance with the Mental Health Act. After this, the person’s place of domicile is responsible for the costs of treatment. If the person committed to treatment does not have a place of domicile in Finland, the costs of treatment are borne by the state.