Information on Finnish social security

The Finnish social security system is primarily based on residence in the country. In some cases, the application of EU legislation or an international convention on social security may entitle a person to social security benefits in Finland even if they are not permanently residing in Finland.


In Finland municipalities are responsible for organising many social and health services such as public healthcare. Kela is one of the parties managing social security benefits in Finland.

Residence in Finland usually means that you have a place of domicile in Finland. The Register Office records a person as a resident based on the Municipality of Residence Act. The place of domicile is recorded in the population register system and it means that you can use all of the social and health services provided by the municipality. You will only pay the customer fee for the local residents, i.e. the residents in the municipality in question, for the use of the services. Your place of domicile will cover the costs incurred by your treatment within public healthcare.

This Finnish social security system also includes monetary benefits that are managed by Kela, the employment pension institutes and the unemployment funds. For example, employee pensions are paid by the employment pension institutes and the unemployment funds are responsible for the payment of earnings-related unemployment benefits. Kela pays out several social security benefits, such as child benefits, sickness benefits, unemployment benefits and folk pensions. Kela also pays reimbursements for private medical care when you use private healthcare services in Finland or buy prescription medicines from a pharmacy. Kela will evaluate your residence in Finland based on the Act on the application of residence-based social security legislation.

Kela will also decide whether you are covered by Finnish health insurance. If you are covered by health insurance in Finland, you will receive a Kela Card. The decision on the health insurance is made on the basis of the Health Insurance Act.

EU legislation may entitle you to use public healthcare services and receive Finnish social security benefits even if you are not living in Finland

EU legislation or an international convention on social security may entitle you to receive social security benefits in Finland even if you are not permanently residing there. Most often, this situation involves an employee arriving from another EU or EEA country or from Switzerland whose employment grants them the right to some or all social security benefits from Finland even though they are not permanent residents of the country.

Notify the Register Office and Kela when moving into or out of the country

It is important that you notify both the Register Office and Kela when moving into or out of the country either permanently or for over three months. The notification can be made through Kela’s e-services or on form Y 38 (emigration) or Y 77 (immigration).