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Metla » About the institute » Training at Metla » Finnish state regulations

Finnish state regulations

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Visa | Work Permit and Residence | Registration of a Foreigner in Finland | Medical Care | Insurances | Taxation


In general, a foreign citizen must have a valid passport in order to enter Finland. Since the Schengen Agreement has been applied Finland, the checks at the common borders have been abolished. The following countries are parties of the Schengen Treaty: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Nevertheless, a citizen of a Schengen country must have a passport or an internationally recognised official identity card while staying in Finland.

EU and EEA (European Union/European Economic Area), USA, Canada and Japan citizens can enter the country freely without visa requirement. The entry documents required of foreign nationals

For those who need a visa to enter Finland a visa application has to be delivered to the nearest Finnish Embassy or Consulate in the applicant's own country. The list of Finnish Embassies and Consulates abroad

For further information, please see the following websites:

Work Permit and Residence

EU citizens and equivalent persons can freely work in Finland if the work lasts for a maximum of three months. After that, they must register their right to reside in Finland, but they do not need a special residence permit. The employee must go to the local police department to register his or her right to reside in Finland. The police register the right of residence of an employed person in the Register of Aliens and issue a registration certificate verifying the registration. When necessary, the employee must also present a doctor's statement testifying to his or her state of health. Unless it is withdrawn, registration by a person with the right to reside in Finland is valid until further notice. After four years of residence in Finland, the employee can be granted a permanent right of residence. The two-year transition period of new EU members (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Czech Republic) has expired on 30 April 2006 and Finland has removed the restriction since the 1st May 2006.

For further information, please see the following websites:

Registration of a Foreigner in Finland

Those foreign citizens intending to stay in Finland for at least a year or to work and receive a salary must register at the local City Administrative Court. A Finnish “municipality of residence” is registered for foreigners who have moved to Finland if they intend to stay here permanently or if they have a residence permit for at least one year. On the basis of registration, each foreigner is assigned the same kind of personal identity number as a Finnish citizen has. The personal identity number is used for identification purposes, needed in such places as banks, hospitals and the registration offices of different authorities. Citizens of the Nordic countries do not need residence permits but if they stay in Finland for more than six months, they are advised to present the Nordic Moving Certificate (internordiskt flyttningsbetyg) at City Administrative Court.´

Those who are EU citizenship, EA citizenship and Swiss whom work for a period of at least four months or foreigner who has at least 2 years work contract or permanent working contract in Finland can register at the Social Insurance Institution (KELA), responsible for the social security in Finland. They will receive a Social Insurance Card (KELA card) and they can, like Finnish citizens, apply for the various KELA benefits connected with health care and social security.

For further information, please see the following websites:

Medical Care

Metla insures visiting researchers and trainees that have signed a Work Contract or a Memorandum of Understanding with Metla against accidents during the actual working hours, on the way to work and back, and during official journeys assigned by Metla. They are also allowed to use Metla's health care services free of charge according to Metla's normal regulations. The health care services include consulting doctors and nurses and, if needed, laboratory/X-ray examinations at Metla's occupational health centres.

In addition, persons who live in Finland permanently (for more than one year and have the KELA card) have the right to make use of the health care centres (Terveysasema or Terveyskeskus) and hospital (Sairaala) services. Those who are here on a shorter visit have the right to treatment only in case of acute illness; otherwise they have to use private medical services. The costs of medical services have to be paid by the patients themselves.


As Metla's insurance and health care services have a limited coverage, it is necessary that every foreign trainee and visiting researcher working at Metla has an additional insurance against illness and accidents. Many training and scholarship programmes have an insurance policy of their own. Please find out your situation, take out your insurance in your home country and bring your valid insurance policy with you.

Make sure that you are insured also during your trips to and from Finland, and, if you are going to participate in an excursion to some other country (like Sweden, Estonia or Russia), make sure that your insurance is valid in these countries as well. Note that the European Health Insurance Card is not valid during your travels to and from Finland and during the excursions to the third country.

For further information, please see the following websites:


Many scholarships and grants are tax-free income. If you participate in a scholarship or training programme please find out the taxation rules before arrival. If these rules don't exist, the trainees and visiting researchers will pay taxes according to the general taxation rules in Finland. There are two main principles for taxation based on the duration of the visit: a) Tax-at-source and b) Tax on income.

a) Taxation at Source (for those residing in Finland for maximum of six months)

If persons residing abroad are in Finland for a maximum of 6 months, they must obtain a tax-at-source card. On the bases of the card, the employer (Metla) deducts 35% in withholding tax. This tax at source is the final tax, and income subject to tax at source need not be declared in Finland. Apart from the tax, the employer is also required to deduct an employment pension contribution and an unemployment insurance contribution. Employees receive a certificate of taxation at source from Metla and they must append it to their tax form in their home country.

b) Taxation for Persons Residing in Finland (for those residing in Finland for more than six months)

If the period of residence in Finland exceeds six months, foreigners are taxed as if they were residents in Finland, and they will pay tax on income + assets earned in Finland and elsewhere. Apart from the tax, the employer is also required to deduct an employment pension contribution and an unemployment insurance contribution. Foreigners must request a tax card (verokortti) from the tax office of their municipality of residence. The tax card has to be given to Metla so that tax can be subtracted.

For further information, please see the following websites:

Updated: 04.04.2014 /Jvoi  |  Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Metla, unless otherwise stated  |  Copyright Metla  |  Feedback