Before the Move
An EU citizen does not require a residence permit. You need to have a valid identity card or passport.
If you intend to stay for more than three months, you need to register at the Finnish Immigration Service. For registration you will need an identity card or passport and proof of your employment, for example the contract of employment. You can do the registration electronically. When you have submitted your registration, you will receive a personal identity code and your stay in Finland will be legal.
If you’re coming outside of the EU (or are not a citizen of a Nordic country, Liechtenstein or Switzerland), you will need a residence permit, which you need to apply for personally. Meaning you can’t apply for example on behalf of your spouse. For the application you will need a signed contract of employment or a binding offer. You can do the application online but you must visit a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service to prove your identity.
The processing times for both first and extended permits of residency are currently approximatelly one month. More information on the Finnish Immigration Service site.
You should reserve enough time for finding a rental place to live. However, if your new home town is completely new to you, it might be worthwhile considering renting a furnished apartment in the beginning and get a feel for the place before deciding on the area you would like to live in. We are lucky in the South Ostrobothnia region in comparison to the bigger cities that there’s still plenty of space and available apartments for rent. You could even look into the surrounding country towns for accommodation, if you don’t mind a short drive.
Here’s a couple of links to short term accommodation:
Long term apartments are usually rented unfurnished but they do include fitted kitchen cupboards, wardrobes, fridge and stove (also often a dishwasher). It’s good to have a chat to your new colleagues for tips on public transport, shops and services, schools and childcare etc.
Long term rentals are mostly listed online for example here.
A security bond of 1-3 months is usually required. The bond will be returned to you when you move out (provided that you have kept the apartment in good condition and there’s no rent owing).
It is highly recommendable to get a private home insurance. For some landlords, this might even be a requirement for renting the apartment.
Arranging an international move is a big one! It’s good to consult and get quotes from a few removalist companies to compare. The prices can vary but also pay attention to the service and if possible, get recommendations. See some options here.
Consider carefully what you would need to bring. It’s easy to find inexpensive furniture in second-hand shops and the recycling culture is very active in Finland. If you wish to bring electronics, you might need voltage converters and plug adapters.
Removal companies can also assist with bringing your pets along.
If you intend to bring a car as removal goods, you must declare it to customs. See more information here.
Language and Culture
Finnish is a difficult language but it is not impossible to learn. There’s various online Finnish language courses available. Just knowing a few basic words before you arrive, will help you feel more at home.
Also learning more about Finland before you arrive will make your experience more enjoyable. Some links to start with:
Before you can access the public health care as a resident and if you are an EU citizen, you can use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which covers acute healthcare under the same conditions and at the same cost as for Finns. You need to apply for this card in your own country before you leave.
Otherwise you will have to use private medical services until you have a municipality of recidence (kotikunta) in Finland.
SeAMK has very good occupational health care, which you are entitled to as an employee.
Couple of other things to remember
If you are coming from another EU/EEA country or from Switzerland and working simultatiously in two or more EU-countries, you must carry an A1 Certificate. The form will indicate in which EU country your social security contributions are paid.
Remember to bring with you your original Degree Certificates. The Certificates will be checked upon work start.