Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Finland - How living abroad affects benefits

When does moving abroad affect social security?

The main rule is that you can claim social security benefits if you live permanently in Finland. You are deemed to live in Finland permanently if you have permanent accommodation and a home here, and you live predominantly here.

If you move abroad for less than a year, you will usually remain in the Finnish social security system, and you can claim social security benefits. Working in EU and EEA countries as well as Switzerland is an exception: even when working for less than a year, you will be transferred to the social security system of the country in which you are working.

If you intend to live abroad for more than a year, in most cases you will lose your right to Finnish social security.

Statutory earnings-related pension is paid from Finland to all countries, even when you move abroad permanently.

When does the effect of the move on social security begin?

If you intend to be abroad for more than a year, your move will be regarded as permanent. In these cases, your right to Finnish social security will generally end at the point of moving. Exceptions include workers and students who have been sent abroad on assignment, who can in certain situations remain in the social security system whilst remaining abroad for a period of over a year.

If you originally intended to stay abroad for less than a year, but it turns out that your stay will last longer than a year (i.e. will be considered as permanent), your social security coverage in Finland will end effective from the date when your circumstances changed.

If, however, you still work in Finland, you can in certain situations, remain part of the Finnish social security system, even though you have moved to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland.

In a case of working abroad as a posted worker, the employer or the employee can apply for a posting certificate from the Finnish Centre for Pensions. The certificate shows if the coverage by the Finnish social security will continue during a temporary period of working abroad. The certificate can be granted for a continuous maximum period of 24 months per country to EU/EEA countries or to Switzerland. A new posting period can normally be regarded to begin to the same country when at least two months have gone by after the end of the previous posting period. The maximum periods for posting to countries that Finland has concluded bilateral social security agreements with, are defined in the agreements in question.

If the maximum period for posting is exceeded in the same country, the employer or the employee can apply for an exemption to prolong the maximum period of posting from the Finnish Centre for Pensions. An exemption can only be granted with the approval from the officials of the country of employment.

You can check whether you belong to the Finnish social security system through Kela, either by using their e-services or by contacting Kela's customer services (customer service locator).

You can check whether you belong to the Finnish social security system while working as a posted worker from the Finnish Centre for Pensions: ulkomaanasiat@etk.fi or tel. +358 (0) 29 411 2816.

How should I provide notification that I'm moving abroad?

Notify Kela of your move abroad and temporary (maximum duration one year) residence abroad, if it will last more than three months. Always notify Kela if you are going to study or work in another EU or EEA country.

You can notify Kela through the e-services system (www.kela.fi/asiointi) or by filling in the Moving from Finland or employment abroad (Y 38) and posting it to any Kela office.

You should also notify Kela of your return to Finland, either by using the e-services or through Kela's customer services.

Jargon busters

A permanent move abroad refers to a move lasting over a year to another country.

A temporary move abroad refers to residence lasting a maximum of a year in another country.

Useful forms

If you are temporarily moving to another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, order a free European Health Insurance Card from Kela. More information about applying for a card: http://www.kela.fi/web/en/european-health-insurance-card

More information is available on Kela's website: http://www.kela.fi/web/en

More information and useful forms when applying for a posting certificate:

Know your rights

More information about the rights guaranteed to you by law can be found via the links below. The websites are not maintained by the European Commission and they do not represent the Commission's views.

The Commission's publication and website:

http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=849&langId=fi

Who should I contact?

More information about Kela http://www.kela.fi/web/en.

More information about the Finnish Centre for Pensions: http://www.etk.fi/en/.

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