Settling in guide to Finland for expatriates moving to the region



Finland is one of the largest and most sparsely populated countries in the European Union. It is a Nordic country that is bordered by Sweden, Norway, Russia and Estonia. The capital is Helsinki and many expats settle into life there. Finnish and Swedish are spoken in Finland and the country has two different names, depending on the language that you speak; Finland in Swedish and Suomi in Finnish. The country has an excellent healthcare and education system offered to all its residents. 

Finland Helsinki

Expat Clubs

American Women’s Club in Finland

The AWC promotes the furtherance of knowledge and mutual understanding between women of the United States of America and the Republic of Finland.



International English Speakers Association of Finland

Membership is completely free of charge and comes with a wealth of benefits. Using your IESAF card will allow you discounts at a number of restaurants, shops and many other organisations in Helsinki and beyond. To apply, simply leave your details in the membership section and we will contact you as soon as possible.



Helsinki Expat Meetup

Helsinki Expat Meetup is a great place to meet new people, make friends and share experiences. It is a non-commercial group helping to create networking and socializing opportunities. We usually meet once per week somewhere in Helsinki.



Free Thursday

Free Thursday is a regular event for people in the Helsinki area interested in free software / open source software. We meet on the second Thursday each month, at 18:00, in some bar. There is no formal program, and no sponsorship. You're welcome!


Helsinki JS

Regular monthly JavaScript meetups in Helsinki.



Helsinki Ruby Brigade

A community for all Ruby enthusiasts in Finland.




DevOps Finland is group for people who are interested of DevOps movement and everything around it. You don't need to be a DevOps expert, everyone who is interested can join. Let's meet to discuss about tools, practices, etc.


Indian Embassy Finland

The Indian embassy often hosts events and coffee mornings for the Indian expatriates in Finland and Estonia. You can find info for these events on their Facebook page.



International Schools 

International School of Helsinki

The International School of Helsinki is an IB World School authorized to offer International Baccalaureate programs to students aged 4 onwards in grades K1 to 12.

Curriculum: IB

Address: Selkämerenkatu 11, Helsinki   

Tel: +358-9-686 6160

Email: [email protected]


The English School

The English School is a private, national language school based on Christian values. The Ministry of Education has placed a special responsibility on the school to familiarize the students with Finnish and English languages as well as the culture of Finnish and Anglo-Saxon language areas.

Curriculum: Finnish curriculum taught in both Finnish and English

Address: Mäntytie 14, 00270 Helsinki

Tel: +358 010 321 7920

Email: [email protected]


Ecole Francaise Jules Verne-Helsinki

The Jules Verne School is a French school, located in the Finnish capital, Helsinki. It offers instruction in French, with French graduate teachers of National Education, for French and non-French children from the age of 2 years (from the Toute Petite Section).

Curriculum: French

Address: Ratakatu  6A, Helsinki

Tel: +358 9 565 1926

Email: [email protected]

Lycee Franco-Finlandais d’Helsinki

Franco-Finnish school is a public school with a special mission which has a varied program where the emphasis is on multilingualism, openness, sense of community and communication.

Curriculum: French

Address: Raumantie 4, Helsinki

Email: [email protected]


Deutsche Schule Helsinki

Helsinki German School is a private school, which focuses on the German and the Finnish language and the culture of both countries. The curriculum has been taken into account, as well as the German Gymnasium that the Finnish comprehensive school objectives and contents. The school is focused on teaching German in addition to other languages, maths and science, as well as music.

Curriculum: French

Address: Malmi Street 14, Helsinki

Tel: +358 9 685065-0

Fax : +358 9 685065-60

Email: [email protected]


ARCADA University of Applied Sciences in Finland

At Arcada we see your years as a student as far more than courses that lead to a degree. Your student years are also about growing and learning for life, finding your professional role and learning to function in a culture of multi-professionals.

Curriculum: University

Tel: +358 20 7699699


Schools in Vantaa

International School of Vantaa

The language of instruction is English. We provide schooling for those children whose home language is English or who have sufficient fluency in English to cope in the classroom. Our school is unified, consisting of grades 1-9 with approximately 432 students. One of our aims is to produce competent, self-motivated students who can function in an international environment and cope in English.

Curriculum: Finnish National Board of Education

Address: Hagelstamintie 1, 01520 Vantaa

Tel: +358 9 839 24810

Email: Principal - [email protected]


Local News in English

Helsinki Times

This newspaper caters to the expats in Finland and is published in English with the latest news as well as expat opinion.


Finland Times

All the news from Finland and abroad with sports, health and education sections and more all in English.



FINNBAY covers, analyzes, comments on, and defines the news, business, culture, entertainment, lifestyle, dating and personalities that drive Finland.


Country Information 

Location: Europe

Capital City: Helsinki

Currency: Euro €

Language: Finnish, Swedish

Calling Code: +358

Internet TLD: .fi

Electricity: Nord Pool Spot is the power market for Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Sweden and Finland. The electric producers in Finland include: Fortum, Pohjolan Voima, Teollisuuden Voima and Helsingin Energia.

Emergency Numbers: 112           

Country Information

Country Study

Embassy Information

Residents Visa and Work Permit information

If you are planning to move to Finland for work you will need a residence permit for an employed person. You will need this permit even if you are self-employed or own shares in a Finnish company.

In order to apply for a residence permit for an employed person you will need to have an offer of employment waiting. The employer will have to confirm that the offer of employment is genuine, this is usually confirmed by a signed employment contract. Your employer will confirm the information by filling in the TEM 054 form and signing it.

Once you have started proceedings for the permit, you may not be employed until you have been granted a residence permit for an employed person.

The residence permit is usually granted to a person for a professional field, as opposed to a job. Hence if you get another job within the same field you will not need a new permit. In some cases a permit may be granted only for work with a certain employer. If this is the case, you may not take another job.

If you are a silent partner in a limited partnership company (kommandiittiyhtiö) and you work in your own company, you will need a residence permit for an employed person.


If you own shares of a public limited company (osakeyhtiö) and you work in this company, you will need a residence permit for an employed person. A residence permit will not be granted on the grounds that you own shares; you also have to work for the company, and the work must be performed in Finland.

Please note that health care professionals in Finland must receive permission to practice their profession from Valvira, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health.

More info at :


Housing in Finland is generally of a high standard and the area you choose to live in depends on the proximity of your work, children’s school or the prices of the apartments. There are no “expat areas” however some areas have become common for certain nationalities.

All of the apartments have double glazing as a minimum standard, however most have triple glazing and quadruple and quintuple glazing is becoming more and more common. Most housing also benefits from district heating during the winter making the homes cozy.

The most popular kind of accommodation in Finland is the ‘rental dwelling.’ This is a flexible housing option and you can easily cancel the agreement and change dwellings than with other housing options in Finland (for example: right of occupancy dwelling). The landlord can also terminate the tenancy agreement with little notice, however it is easy to find other accommodation should this be the case.

Great information on housing:

Driving License

The roads in Finland are well built and maintained and drivers generally follow the laws of the road. The rules are enforced by traffic police regularly and no leeway is given to those that break them. In Finland drivers drive on the right hand side and overtake on the left. Headlights must be turned on whenever the car is being driven, including the daylight hours. The alcohol limit is 0.5g/litre and police do regular Breathalyzer tests at the roadside. It is compulsory to fit your car with winter tires between the 2st of December and the 3rd of March.

Driving licences issued in another EU or EEA country and interim driving licences issued in the Nordic countries entitle the holder to drive motor vehicles in Finland equivalent to those indicated on the non-Finnish licence. The driver must be at least 18 years old. The right to drive is valid regardless of whether the person is in Finland as a tourist or residing permanently.


A person residing permanently in a country that has signed the Geneva or Vienna Road Traffic Convention and who holds a national or international driving license or an official Finnish or Swedish translation of a national driving license is entitled to drive motor vehicles equivalent to those indicated on the non-Finnish license provided that the person fulfils the Finnish age requirement to drive such vehicles. The afore-mentioned driving license is valid in Finland for two years from the start of the holder's period of permanent residence in Finland provided that the license is valid and no other reason exists for the termination of its validity.


The above also applies to driving licenses issued in Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan under the regulations of the area and international driving licenses.


The right to drive is based on the possession of a driving license issued to a person living permanently in a country that has signed the Convention. A driving license acquired in such a country during temporary residence (for example as an exchange student) does not entitle the holder to drive in Finland.


Other driving licenses than those listed above do not entitle the holder to drive in Finland.


Holders of foreign driving licenses who are permanently resident in Finland must prove that they fulfil the health requirements when they reach the age laid down in legislation.

More info at:


Finland is divided into 20 hospital districts; you can find the name and address of the hospital nearest to you by dialing 118.

Health care in Finland consists of a highly decentralized, three-level publicly funded health care system and a much smaller private health care sector. Although the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has the highest decision making authority, the municipalities (local governments) are responsible in providing health care to their residents.

Finland offers its residents universal health care. Health promotion, including prevention of diseases has been the main focus of Finnish health care policies for decades. This has resulted in the eradication of certain communicable diseases and improvement in the health of population.

Hospitals in Helsinki

Aurora Hospital

Address: Nordenskiöldinkatu 20, Helsinki

Tel. information desk 09 310 65605 (only advice related to the hospital area; please contact the care unit directly with any matters related to treatment)


Aurora Hospital provides treatment for infectious diseases, among others. In addition, the hospital has child psychiatric wards. City of Helsinki Health Centre services are also on site, along with a hospital school.

Children's Castle

Address: Lastenlinnantie 2, Helsinki

Operator: 09 4711

Information: 09 471 80200

Int. tel. + 358 9 4711 and +358 9 471 80200

In addition to the pediatric neurology and child psychiatry outpatient clinics and wards, part of the Children's Hospital's Pediatric Outpatient Clinic are also located in the Children's Castle Hospital.

Children's Hospital

Address: Stenbäckinkatu 11, Helsinki

Tel. 09 4711

Int. tel. +358 9 4711

Information (does not include health service): 09 471 72783 (from 6 am until 10 pm), 09 471 72751 (during night time)

 The Children’s Hospital has wards for pediatrics and pediatric surgery, several outpatient clinics, an anesthesia and operating unit, two intensive care units, plus supporting activities such as laboratorium, imaging units, physiotherapy, play and activity unit and hospital school.

Department of Oncology

Address: Haartmaninkatu 4, Helsinki

Tel. (09) 471 73197

Int. tel. +358 9 471 73197

 The Department of Oncology is responsible for nearly all radiation therapies in the HUS hospital district and for the majority of chemotherapy.

 In the HUS area, all oncological cancer treatment (treatment other than surgeries) are provided at the HUCH Department of Oncology. In addition to patients from the Helsinki and Uusimaa regions, patients requiring specialised care are admitted from across Finland. Examinations, treatment plans and radiotherapy mainly take place at Meilahti, while surgeries are performed in the surgical units.

HUCH is the only Finnish cancer hospital that is a member of the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI). HUCH has been a member since 2009.

Eye and Ear Hospital

Address: Haartmaninkatu 4 C - 4E, Helsinki

Tel. 09 4711

Information desk:

09 471 73155  Department of Eye diseases

09 471 73058  Department of Ear, Nose and Throat diseases

There are two cafes at Eye and Ear Hospital: at the department of Eye diseases and at the department of Ear, nose and throat diseases (see the contact information and opening hours before with hyperlinks)


Herttoniemi Hospital

Address: Kettutie 8, Helsinki

Tel. 09 4711 (Call center)

Surgical enquiries, tel. 09 471 78247, 471 78250

 Enquiries related to the City of Helsinki operations at Herttoniemi Hospital,

tel. 09 310 5511

Herttoniemi Hospital is a Helsinki City Hospital which rents facilities for surgical procedures to HUS. Related to orthopedic and hand surgery unit, HUS occupies a ward and an outpatient clinic.

The surgical unit at Herttoniemi Hospital specialises in endoscopic surgery. The most common operations include knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist and ankle arthroscopies. 


Kätilöopisto Maternity Hospital

Address: Sofianlehdonkatu 5 A, Helsinki

Operator: 09 4711 (Int. tel. +358 9 4711)

Information (does not include health service): 09 471 65505, (Int. tel. +358 9 471 65505)

Emergency services

Kätilöopisto Maternity Hospital is the largest maternity hospital in Finland, and has been awarded a Baby Friendly Certification for its supportive breastfeeding policy.

In addition to pregnant women and women in labor, the hospital admits gynecology patients and treats children on the neonatal ward and the child psychiatry units.