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When must you notify your return to Finland?

An increasing number of Finns spend the winter in warm climates, either in southern Europe or even further afield. Spring then awakens a longing for home and so many return like migratory birds to spend the summer in Finland.

From time to time the question has arisen of whether returns such as this need to be notified to the authorities. The general rule is that if you are holidaying for only a few months in Finland it is not necessary to submit a change-of-address notification to the local register office.

A change-of-address notification must be submitted to the local register office if the move to Finland is permanent, i.e., residence at the new address is longer than three months (does not therefore mean holidaying as referred to above). If you already know when coming to Finland that you will be living here for less than a year and will then be moving abroad again, your move is temporary. In this case, you will not be given a municipality of residence in Finland; rather a temporary address for you will be entered in the Population Information System. A move is regarded as temporary also when the duration of stay is potentially at least a year but when the main reason for coming to Finland is, e.g., the performance of military service without intending to remain in the country permanently.

If you intend to reside in Finland for at least a year, the move should be notified to the local register office as permanent, in which case you will be given a municipality of residence and the benefits it provides to residents. If a residence intended as temporary becomes permanent, this must also be notified to the local register office.

You may, if necessary, also inform the local register office of a postal address differing from your residential address.

When living abroad, you should inform the local register office or Finnish diplomatic or consular mission of your residential address and changes thereof for the Population Information System. An up-to-date address abroad ensures that information on your right to vote in Finnish general elections and EU elections can be delivered to you. In addition, Finnish authorities can reach you as quickly as possible, if necessary.

Instructions on submitting a change-of-address notification and notifying an address abroad are available at our www-sites Notification of move-section . 

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The Finnish Tax Administration obtains information on permanent changes of address from the local register offices. You must, however, notify the local tax office of a temporary change of address if you intend to live in Finland for more than six months, as you are then a liable for tax here. You must remember to notify the tax office when the validity of the address expires.

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Kela-administered residence-based social security

Your entitlement to Finnish residence-based social security is determined mainly by reference to the length of your stay in Finland. The criteria under which a move is regarded as permanent or temporary from a social security standpoint are not always the same as the decision on the municipality of residence made by the local register office under the Municipality of Residence Act. Entitlement to residence-based social security is based on the Act on the Implementation of the Social Security Legislation and decisions pursuant to this Act are made by the National Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).

If you intend to move to Finland permanently, you will normally be covered by the Finnish social security system and will qualify for Kela benefits, which include, among others, medical treatment and reimbursement of medicine expenses, as soon as you move to Finland. The following are regarded as indications of a permanent move to Finland: return migration to Finland, employment in Finland lasting at least two years, and a marriage or other close familial relationship with a person permanently residing in Finland. In addition to other circumstances, whether you are deemed to have a municipality of residence in Finland pursuant to the Municipality of Residence Act is taken into account when assessing the permanence of a move to Finland.

Persons moving to Finland on a permanent basis must apply for coverage under the Finnish social security system with the Kela form Y77. Successful applicants will be given a written decision and issued a personal Kela card. You can check whether you are covered by the Finnish social security system through Kela's online services.

If you move to Finland temporarily, you will normally not be entitled to social security benefits from Kela. For example, students moving to Finland for the sole purpose of studying are considered to be resident in Finland only temporarily.

Regardless of whether you are deemed to be moving to Finland permanently, you may be entitled to social security in Finland on the basis of your employment.

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Accessibility to public health care services in Finland

Treatment that is urgent or necessary during your stay in Finland

If you need urgent medical attention in Finland, you are entitled to the services of the public health care system. If you do not have a municipality of residence in Finland or the right to treatment in the public health care system under EU legislation or other international social security agreement, a fee equivalent to treatment costs incurred will be charged as a user fee.

Entitlement to medical treatment in the public health care system is proved by presenting a European Health Insurance Card or a certificate of entitlement to healthcare benefits in Finland issued by Kela.

The European Health Insurance Card entitles you to medically necessary treatment in the public health care system during your stay in Finland. You will be charged the same user fee as charged to permanent residents in Finland. Persons covered by the Nordic Convention on social security and the Australian agreement on medical treatment prove their entitlement to medical treatment with an official identity card or a passport and by providing their home address.

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Seeking treatment in Finland

If you live permanently in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland and you wish to seek medical treatment from Finland’s public health care system, you must apply for prior authorisation to obtain this treatment from your country of residence. The body granting the prior authorisation is liable for the costs of your treatment. Prior authorisation is granted on a E112 or an S2 form.

Before seeking treatment, you must clarify the hospital district or health centre where you are seeking treatment. You should note that the public health care system has the right to refuse to accept you to a patient, even if you have a prior authorisation for treatment. It is recommended that you contact your preferred place of treatment before coming to Finland. Medical treatment is always carried out in accordance with the treatment practice accepted in Finland. Under the prior authorisation, you pay the same user fees as a person with a municipality of residence in Finland.

You may also seek treatment in Finland without a prior authorisation. You are always entitled to use private health care services in Finland. If you wish to receive treatment in the Finnish public health care system without prior authorisation, please contact the desired place of treatment yourself in good time beforehand. The hospital district or health centre can provide a preliminary cost estimate, which will become more accurate after you have been examined. The hospital district or health centre may also request an advance. Treatment is always carried out in accordance with the treatment practice accepted in Finland.

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Further information:
www.vrk.fi/en, http://www.vero.fi/en-US, http://www.kela.fi/in/internet/english.nsf -> Moving to or from Finland and http://www.localfinland.fi/en/Pages/default.aspx

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