Working at the University of Helsinki

University of Helsinki is an international academic community with more than 40,000 students and members of staff, and the oldest and most multidisciplinary university in Finland. The University's 11 faculties operate on four campuses in Helsinki and in 17 other localities in Finland. International Staff Service offers support for all international employees, researchers and departments dealing with issues related to this field.

EU/EEA Citizens

Citizens of EU/EEA countries or Switzerland who intend to reside and work in Finland for longer than three months must register their right to reside in Finland at the Police. For more information concerning the EU-registration please contact the Police. Information available at the Police website:  Police – Licences and permits for foreigners - EU

Citizens of EU/EEA countries or Switzerland can obtain a Finnish Identification Number at the Local Register Office.

Nordic Citizens

Nordic citizens must register at the Local Register Office in case their stay exceeds 6 months within one week from arrival to Finland. A written certificate of registration is given to registered persons after the authorities have established whether the requirements for registration are met.

Citizens of other countries

Residence permit is a document entitling foreign nationals to reside and work in Finland. Researchers are typically required to apply for a researcher's residence permit. It needs to be applied for by non-EU/EEA or Switzerland nationals intending to stay in Finland for more than three months. It is advisable to apply for a permit at least 2-3 months before arrival in Finland. For more information please contact the Finnish Immigration Service.

Non-EU/EEA or Switzerland nationals staying in Finland for one year or more can obtain a Finnish Identification Number and make the local registration at the Local Register Office. Otherwise the Finnish Identification Number can be applied simultaneously with the residence permit. The local registration is always required to be done in the Local Register Office.

A visa is an entry permit for a short, temporary stay of less than three months. Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries or Switzerland usually need a visa. Some countries have agreed on an exception to this rule with Finland. For information on visa requirements for different nationals please see the information provided by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland – Services – Foreign Nationals Arriving in Finland

Obligation to pay taxes

The taxation of foreign researchers and other employees in Finland varies according to how long they will be staying in the country. The obligation to pay taxes also depends on the source of funding of the research. In addition to the Finnish legislation, international tax treaties may affect your taxation in Finland.

For more information on the taxation in your case, please contact your nearest tax office or the InTo Finland -service, which is a Finnish Tax administration service point intended especially for foreign employees coming to work in Finland.

Tax card and level of taxation

A tax card is needed to withhold taxes from the salary. The tax card must be delivered to the employer. Without a tax card a 60% tax will be withheld from the salary.

The level of taxation of an employee arriving in Finland from abroad varies according to the length and funding of the stay in Finland. In most cases progressive taxation is applied to persons who reside in Finland for a period exceeding six months. If a person works in Finland for less than six months, usually a 35% tax at source is recovered from the salary. More information concerning the tax percentage is available via the tax percentage calculator.

Public services are funded by taxes

The public sector in Finland is mostly funded by taxes. Tax revenue is used to finance services of an internationally high standard, including health care, education, security as well as care for children and the elderly. 

Taxation links

Make sure you are insured

Employees of the University of Helsinki are entitled to occupational health care and covered by an occupational health insurance during working hours.

It is advisable to get a private insurance before arriving in Finland to cover at least the first year of the stay. Getting a European Health Insurance Card before arrival is recommended for residents of EU countries.

Finnish social security for foreigners

Permanent residents of Finland are entitled to Finnish public health care and social security benefits. In most cases residents are required to stay in Finland for at least two years to be included in the system. The Finnish social security system is administered by the Finnish Social Insurance Institution, KELA. Eligibility for KELA needs to be applied for.

Scholars receiving a grant or a scholarship from Finland are obligated to seek coverage under a special insurance meant for grant recipients. This insurance is provided by an institution called MELA. It covers pension insurance, occupational accident insurance and group life insurance.

Social security links

Opening a Finnish bank account is recommended to all international staff members staying in Finland for a longer period. There is a variety of options for banks to choose from. The International Staff Services can recommend suitable banks.

Opening a bank account in Finland is fairly easy and the process does not include many formalities. It is still recommendable to set up a meeting in a local bank in forehand in order to open an account. Following documents are usually required to open a bank account: 

Certificate of Employment/Certificate of Scholarship
Certificate of origin of the funds if not from Finland.

Opening a Finnish bank account is recommended to all international staff members staying in Finland for a longer period. There is a variety of options for banks to choose from. The International Staff Services can recommend suitable banks.

Research Services

The University of Helsinki has Research Services available to support researchers in practical matters related to research. Research Services can help identify and acquire external funding sources, set up applications, provide capacity building and assist in legal questions related to research and business collaboration. It also advises researchers on innovation and invention issues. The services are available to all staff members.

Library Services

The Helsinki University Library operates on all four university campuses. Helsinki University Library is open to everyone. A library card is needed in order to borrow materials. You can get a Helsinki University
Library HELKA card from the library the first time you take out a loan by presenting an official ID. A library card is personal and the holder is responsible for material borrowed with it. The library database HELKA can be accessed online through the library web site or at The Helsinki University Library has more than 30 000 scientific journal subscriptions. If you are logged in to the Helsinki University Network, you have access to all the information resources (databases, e-journals, e-books) available at the University of Helsinki.

Language Services

Language Services offers high-quality training in 30 languages, language testing, translation and language revision to public bodies, institutes, companies and individuals. Students and staff members at the University of Helsinki are welcome to join the language courses or use any other services.

Studying the Finnish language is recommended to all international staff members. The highly popular Finnish for Foreigners courses are open to everyone. The courses are offered all year round, and they provide language training with experienced teachers in an international environment. The Language services also offer an informal language buddy program. Finding a language buddy enables you to study a language working together in pairs.

Career Services

Building your own career path begins already during your studies, and Career Services will guide and support you from the very start of your studies during your first year at the University of Helsinki until one year after the completion of your degree. Career Services provide career guidance, career counselling, courses, and information on the opportunities offered by the labour market.

Student Services

The Student Services provides services for all students at the University, including students at the Open University. The Student Services in the city centre is run by the Education Services department and the customer service of the Open University can also be found here.