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Living in EuropeDay care, schooling & family related issuesFinland

Social security


Finnish social security is divided into employment-based, earnings-related social security and residence-based social security. The social security system is administerd by Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland.

Kela card

When you have coverage under the Finnish social security system, you can apply and receive a personal health insurance card, the Kela card. This is proof of your eligibility to social security. When you are buying prescription medications at your pharmacy or paying for a doctor’s appointment at a private clinic, for instance, the Kela card entitles you to a discount.

All permanent residents in Finland are issued a Kela card. When you move to Finland, register at a local Kela office and complete the required application forms. You can read more about applying for the card here: KELA-card


Researchers working on a grant are usually not covered by the Finnish social security system since their stay in Finland is considered temporary. However, if the research work continues for more than a year, you have financing for more than a year and all other circumstances also indicate permanent residence in Finland, you may, as a rule, be covered by the Finnish social security system on the basis of permanent residence.

The definition of permanent residency in Finland, however, varies depending on your country of origin. If you are moving to Finland from outside the EU or Nordic countries, the qualification for permanent residency and municipality is 2 years of residency in Finland. If your research grant is for two years or more, you will normally be covered by the Finnish social security system and will qualify for Kela (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland) benefits as soon as you move to Finland.

Researchers from the EU/EEA countries who carryout research work or pursue postgraduate studies in Finland financed through a Finnish grant which entails the obligation to take out an insurance under the Farmers' Pensions Act (MELA) for at least four months, you are covered by the Finnish social security system for the duration of your research work or postgraduate studies. Coverage under the Finnish social security system has to be applied for with Kela.

For more precise information, please see:

KELA: Social security coverage for employees and self-employed persons

MELA: Grant and scholarship recipients

MELA: Grant and scholarship recipients





Further information: