Family matters

Family members with a non EU/EEA nationality need to apply for residence permits before arriving in Finland. In order for family members to receive residence permits, the main applicant’s income must be guaranteed by means other than state support. In Finnish legislation the definition of a family member may be narrower than elsewhere.

EU/EEA nationals or nationals of Switzerland are required to register their stay at the Immigration Service after arrival. Family members also usually need to register their stay at the Local Register Office.

Finding employment in Finland is done independently of the University and requires an active approach. A range of services is available to support job searching.

EU/EEA nationals have the right to work in Finland. For citizens of other countries, the right to work depends on the type of residence permit. Generally, a residence permit on the basis of family ties gives an unlimited right to work in Finland. A residence permit granted on another basis may not include an unlimited right to work.

It is important to make sure that family members are insured during their stay in Finland.

If the family resided in an EU country before moving in Finland, it is advisable to get a European Health Insurance Card for each family member. Medical records, prescriptions and immunisation records of children should be collected as well.

Family members taking up permanent residence in Finland are normally covered by the Finnish social security system. If a family member arriving in Finland to work is already included in the system, the family is usually entitled to these benefits. The Finnish social security system covers public health care and social security benefits. It is administered by the Finnish Social Insurance Institution, Kela. An application must be submitted to Kela to receive benefits.

Family members are not entitled to occupational health care services provided for the employees of the University of Helsinki.

Day care is available in Finland for small children in day care centres and family day care. Children aged six can attend preschool teaching, which is arranged in day care centres and comprehensive schools. Comprehensive school usually starts when children are seven years old. After comprehensive school, pupils go to upper secondary school. From there they can continue to vocational or high schools.

Day cares and schools have both public and private providers. Public providers generally have lower costs, while fees for private providers are higher. Applying for a place for the child well in advance is recommended.

Degree studies are provided by high schools, vocational institutes, universities and universities of applied sciences. Degree studies require an application procedure.

Many options for non-degree studies are available. Providers of these studies include Open Universities or Open Universities of Applied Sciences, Summer Universities, and Adult Education Centres. Studies are usually subject to a fee. Finnish language courses are offered by a range of providers.