Practical matters related to registration in the Finnish population system, health care, social security system, working and bank accounts are essential for all international students in Finland. Therefore, we have listed important links below that will take you to the detailed information you need.
Registration upon arrival in Finland
You must notify the Local Register Authority if you move to Finland permanently or if your temporary stay exceeds three months. You will be asked to provide information for the purposes of the Finnish Population Information System and details of your personal number, address and municipality of residence in your country of departure. Please find out in advance whether your documents must be certified with an apostille or otherwise legalised. You can find a list of local register offices here.
Finnish identity code
In connection with the registration, you will be issued a Finnish personal identity code, with the help of which authorities can check your personal data in the Finnish Population Information System. You need the personal identity code, when you have transactions with Finnish authorities and sometimes with private companies as well.
You can apply for a Finnish personal identity code at the same time you apply for your residence permit. Please note that even if you have been issued a Finnish personal identity code in connection with your residence permit, you still have to visit a Local Register Office to register your municipality of residence upon arrival.
Public health services
If your municipality of residence is Helsinki, Espoo or Vantaa you are entitled to use public health services. Public health services are provided by health stations, dental clinics, maternity and child health clinics and hospitals. If you are not entitled to use public health care services, you can seek help at a private medical clinic. At private clinics, you will have to pay all the expenses yourself. Please find out more about health services in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa.
Social security system
If you move to Finland for study purposes only, you will not be covered by the Finnish social security system. Eligibility for social security in Finland is based on either permanent residence or employment. Foreign students are considered temporary residents. For further information, please read more about The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).
Work while studying
Many students choose to work part-time along their studies, but please note that you are expected to be able to carry out your full-time studies nonetheless, as that is the purpose of your stay in Finland and the basis for your permission to remain in the country.
If you need a residence permit
Please note that Finnish Immigration Service does not accept salary from part-time work as proof of sufficient funds for a residence permit.
The residence permit for studies enables you to work without restrictions if your work is related to your degree. This means practical training and thesis work. You also have a right to have other jobs but the following restrictions apply:
- You may only work for an average of 25 hours per week during the academic terms.
- The number of working hours is not restricted on a weekly level. This means that you can adjust your weekly working hours during the academic term, as long as you work for 25 hours a week on average.
- You can work without restrictions at the times when your educational institution offers no instruction.
Everyone who works in Finland must have a tax card. You can request a tax card at a local office of the Finnish Tax Administration. In order to get a tax card, you need a Finnish personal identity code or a temporary identity code. If you have not yet received your Finnish personal identity code from the Finnish Immigration Service or in the Local Register Office, you can apply for one at your nearest tax office.
Accommodation in Helsinki
Finnish higher education institutions in general do not offer accommodation or assist in securing housing. It is up to the students to organise their own accommodation and we have provided some tips below.
Helsinki is a relatively expensive city, as is private housing. Student accommodation is of high quality yet affordable, which means it is in very high demand and might be difficult to obtain. Therefore you should start looking for an apartment/room as soon as possible!
There are some apartments/rooms on the Arcada campus, rented through the housing agency Arcada Nova. Please enquire about apartments directly from them, but note that their application deadline is before you might receive an offer of a study place.
For more options on student and other kinds of accommodation, please read more here.
In general, all kinds of housing requires you to take out a housing insurance.
Living in Helsinki
For more information on cost of living in Helsinki, public transport, culture and leisure etc. please view or section on Living in Helsinki.
You need a bank account in order to handle your finances. It’s a good idea to compare the services and prices of different banks so that you will find the most advantageous option for you. When opening a bank account, you need a passport, identity card for foreign citizens or some other official identity card.
It is a good idea to also acquire online banking credentials when opening a bank account. These are necessary for most official matters online in Finland.
In Finland many matters can be dealt with over the internet. You can often attend to your matters with authorities or businesses via their websites. It is worthwhile getting an internet connection as soon as possible after moving to Finland.
You can acquire an internet connection in your home by making a contract with an internet service provider. It pays to compare prices before making a contract. There are various internet service providers in Finland. You can find such companies by searching online, for example by typing “nettiliittymä” in the search engine’s search field. Internet connection prices vary a lot.
You can also use the internet for free in public libraries if you have a library card. You can get a library card free of charge. More information about libraries can be found on InfoFinland. Many cafes also offer WiFi for their customers.
When you buy a telephone subscription in Finland, you get a Finnish phone number. Many companies sell telephone subscriptions. When you take out a telephone subscription, you must have a Finnish personal identity code and an address in Finland. Normally, you must also provide information on your payment behaviour, in other words, that you have paid your bills and that you don't have a payment default entry recorded in your credit history. Otherwise, you need to make an advance payment for the subscription.
You can also buy a pre-paid subscription. In this case, you don't need a Finnish personal identity code or an address in Finland. A pre-paid card has a certain sum charged onto it beforehand which you use to make phone calls. Pre-paid subscriptions are sold, for example, at R-Kiosks, some supermarkets or online.
When calling abroad by phone, it’s wise to check which international dialling codes are the most affordable. Many companies offer affordable international dialling codes. Please note, however, that the price of a phone call always depends on the country you call. Make sure that you know what is the most inexpensive option for you.