Moving Away from Finland
- Jump Down to:
- Change of Address Notification
- Kela Notification
- Tax / Verohallinto
- Retirement & Pension
- Trade Union
- Terminating a Business
- Bank Account
- Collect Your Deposits
- International Removals
If you are moving away from Finland there are lots of 'loose ends' to tie up. Some official notifications are required, others are just a good idea.
The main purpose of this page is to make sure that when you leave Finland
- your contact details and situation remain current with all the necessary authorities and organizations
- you receive any refunds and collect any deposits you might be entitled to
- you stop receiving bills which no longer apply
- you will have the smoothest possible return to Finland if you choose to come back
- your belongings reach their destination without delay and in good condition
- Top Tip: If you are only leaving Finland temporarily, ensure you have registered that status with all appropriate authorities; otherwise you may find your residence permit cancelled or similar
Posti, Maistraatti & Population Register Centre
According to Finnish legislation you must submit a notification of move, i.e. an official change of address, if you move permanently into a new home or if your temporary stay at another address is longer than three months. The notification can be made at the earliest one month in advance, and at the latest within a week following your move.
The easiest way to submit a notification of move is to use Posti's 24-hour online service (see below). To make the online notification you will need Internet Bank access codes, an ID card or a Posti username & password. You can also submit the notification of move by filling in the form that you can pick up at post office or local register office.
Double submission: When you submit a notification of move at Posti, "your details will be updated simultaneously on the Population Information System maintained by the local register offices as well as the register of Posti". All well and good, and chances are that everything would be fine. If you absolutely know you will never return to Finland you can probably leave it at that.
If there's any chance you might want to come back one day I suggest submitting a separate notification of move to the Local Register Office; it's best to be doubly sure that the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. The Local Register Office work alongside Maistraatti in these matters, and you don't want mistakes with them when it comes to residence permits etc. Even Posti writes at their site "You may notify a change of address to Posti and/or the Local Register Office."
Change of Address forms can be submitted online or downloaded and printed; see Related Links at the bottom of this page.
More information & Online Change of Address:
- Maistraatti: www.maistraatti.fi > In English > Services > Place of domicile and population data > Basic information
- Population Register Centre: www.vrk.fi > In English > Services > Notification of Move Including Moving abroad or to Finland from abroad, When must you notify your return to Finland?, Moving from one address to another outside Finland, Moving between the Nordic countries
- Posti Notification of Change of Address: www.posti.fi/changeaddress/ Including Permanent change of address, Temporary change of address and fixed-term mail forwarding, Delivery interruption, Parallel address. While you are at Posti it's a good idea to sign up for long-term mail forwarding, particularly if you want to return to Finland one day.
You must notify Kela directly if you move abroad or live outside Finland, even temporarily; Posti's Change of Address notification is not sufficient. Persons covered by the Finnish social security system must notify Kela whenever their circumstances change, for example if they return to Finland, start or end work, or gain coverage under the social security system of their country of residence.
With few exceptions, residents moving abroad must complete Form Y 38e, Moving from Finland or employment abroad and return it to a Kela office.
- Form Y 38e is available for download as a PDF in English at
www.kela.fi/web/en/forms > Moving to or from Finland
- Form Y 38e can also be submitted at Kela´s online service (Fi, Sw) See: www.kela.fi/web/en/from-finland-to-another-country
More Information from Kela
- www.kela.fi > In English > Our Services > Moving to or from Finland > Moving abroad This section has comprehensive information about coverage under the Finnish social security system upon moving abroad, including the following sub-sections: Working abroad, Study or research abroad, Family members, Pensioners, Medical treatment, Payment of benefits abroad, and Returning to Finland
- Moving To Or Away From Finland - 2015 PDF Social security rights when moving to or away from Finland
- Telephone assistance for persons moving from Finland:
Tel: 020 634 0200 for service in Finnish or English
Tel: 020 634 0300 for service in Swedish
You will need to stay in touch with all your good chums at the Tax office! Having done the research for this section, I recommend you contact your local tax office personally before leaving Finland. The Tax Administration advises
"Finnish nationals who are moving abroad should sort out their tax affairs in advance with their local tax office."
Surely this would also apply to residents moving away; any issues to be resolved will be more easily and cheaply worked out here than from some distant shore.
Final Tax Return
File the final tax return for the tax year of relocation with the Tax Administration.
It is a good idea to directly notify the Tax Administration of your change of address, although it may not be a legal requirement. The following quotes, which seem to contradict each other, are both published at the tax.fi website:
"As a private person, you do not have to inform the Tax Administration separately when you change your permanent address. A notification of move to the Local Register Office will be enough." and
"Before moving to another country you should file an official notification of move, and also notify the local Finnish tax office of your new address."
Bank Account for Refunds & Corrections
You may be entitled to a tax refund, or you may have underpaid and have to make a payment. For individuals, tax refunds are paid in December and deposited directly into the taxpayer's account. Only one bank account at a time can be stored in the Tax Administration computer system for each individual taxpayer; it is essential you keep the account information up-to-date. If possible, keep your Finnish bank account active during your absence from the country for simplicity and ease of processing.
Changing your bank account information can be done by searching Individuals´ Bank Account Notice (7208e) at www.tax.fi. The form can be downloaded as a PDF, printed and posted, or completed online using the tax.fi E-service (requires Web bank identifiers or a Katso ID to sign in).
If necessary, ask for cancellation of tax prepayments
The Tax Administration may have given you a set of prepayment invoices for the tax year of relocation. Because moving away, file a request for cancellation of your prepayment obligation. Failing to take this step may result later in needless enforcement procedures to collect the unremitted prepayments.
More Tax Information:
Depending on many factors, there is a chance that one day you will be entitled to some kind of pension benefit from Finland. Do not expect to become rich from this!
Taxes on Finnish-sourced pension income will be payable in Finland even if the beneficiary lives in another country. See tax.fi link below
Residence-based social security: In the case of residence-based social security the old-age pension is a form of the National Pension. Even if you have another home away from Finland, you may be entitled to claim a pension. Considerations include amongst other factors the length of time you have been away from Finland, the amount of time per year that you are away from Finland, the country you reside in, and whether you have maintained close ties with Finland.
Earnings-based social security: In the case of earnings-based social security, your right to receive your pension is not affected if you move away from Finland. The Finnish Centre for Pensions states:
"Pension accrued in Finland is paid anywhere – also abroad, should you move away from Finland. Accrued pension rights are retained if you change jobs or if your self-employment ends."
- www.tyoelake.fi > In English > Determining the pension > What does pension accrue from > Foreigner working in Finland
Reaching Retirement Age
When you approach retirement age you should check with Kela, the Tax Administration, and The Finnish Centre for Pensions to ascertain any claim you may have, and how to collect it if you do.
- www.kela.fi > In English > Our Services > Moving to or from Finland > Moving abroad > Pensioners: Kela information about residence-based pensions and retirement
- www.tax.fi > Individuals > Moving away from Finland: Tax Administration information
- www.tyoelake.fi > In English > Determining the pension > What does pension accrue from > Foreigner working in Finland: Finnish Centre for Pensions information about earnings-based pensions
If you are leaving Finland you should notify your union of your new contact details for future correspondence; you will probably receive some final statements for example. There should be nothing else for you to do though. In most cases your employer would have collected your union membership fees directly from your salary, so when you stopped being paid, you stopped paying union contributions.
If you have been running a business in Finland, you will need to submit a Notification of Termination of Business to the Joint Business Information System of the Finnish Patent and Registration Office and the Tax Administration. Although the forms are available in Finnish and English, they must by law be submitted in Finnish or Swedish.
Notification of Termination of Business forms are available for
- Private traders
- General and limited partnerships
- Limited companies, co-operatives, savings banks, foundations, associations and other organizations
- www.ytj.fi > In English > Notifications
Address Change: Most Finnish banks receive information on changes of address directly from the Finnish Population Register Centre, so it is not necessary to make a separate notification to your bank.
Keep Your Finnish Bank Account: If possible, keep your Finnish bank account open. This will make your final Finnish transactions, such as tax refunds/payments, more simple. It will also make life much easier if you return to Finland. I left Finland for three years at one point and was able to keep my account open.
The Bank of Finland states
"Foreign nationals can in principle open bank accounts in Finland in the same manner as the Finns do themselves. According to law, however, the bank must be able to identify its customers, and this may prove more difficult in the case of foreign nationals. In addition to personal and address data, the bank often needs to know the person's identifier code (i.e. social security number). A number of banks require the presentation of either a work permit, a certificate of studies or a letter of recommendation from a trustworthy bank, and details of the nature of payments to be made over the account."
So, if you've already been resident in Finland you will already have fulfilled the legal requirements for having a Finnish bank account. The bank will have the final decision though.
As a foreigner coming to Finland it's not unlikely you had to pay some rather large deposits for various things, which 'regular Finns' are not obliged to. I had to pay for example a large deposit to Elisa when I first got a telephone, which was automatically returned to me some years later after I was 'established' in Finland. What has never been returned is the €2500 I was obliged to deposit for the right to have a Visa card. I would not like to forget that one! Of course there's also a large 'bond' on the apartment. I may also have paid a deposit for electricity... and I would need to get a refund on home insurance... etc etc etc
So, look back to when you were "setting up" in Finland and make sure you don't leave any big sums behind!
International Moves: How to Proceed?
If you have more than a few bags and boxes of personal belongings, international moves get complicated in terms of documentation, logistics and cost. You'd think the economical approach is to arrange everything yourself through various agencies, but false economies and setbacks can occur. For example, buying container space direct from a shipping company is usually more expensive than buying the same space from a freight forwarding company. That seems nuts! But freight forwarders buy bulk space at good rates, so they can sell that space to you for a lower price. Another example; if you make a small error on a Customs clearance document your belongings can get held up in Customs, resulting in a large storage bill. A professional would not have made the error.
In that context it's worth getting a quotation from a professional international removals firm. They are familiar with local rules and regulations at origin and destination, avoiding potential delays. Plus, you only have to deal with them rather than numerous parties in different parts of the world. It will certainly save you time and stress, and may end up saving you money as well.
- International Moving Checklist: General Tips for an International Move PDF
- International Movers in Finland
Example of Services
Victor Ek is a Finnish international and domestic moving company which has been operating since 1885. Apart from the "normal" services you think of regarding an international move, Victor Ek can arrange things like:
- moving insurance
- transport of cars, boats, motorbikes and other vehicles
- short and long-term warehousing
- estate agent services
- cleaning services for your house or apartment
- furniture rental, while yours is in transit
- recycling or disposal of old furniture
- Moving abroad? PDF from Maistraatti.fi , particularly informative if you are moving to another Nordic country
- Suomi.fi: Search for example "moving". Numerous forms which may be useful before you leave, or for download and printing abroad, are available. Many can also be submitted online. Ex:
Notification concerning transfer of residence or temporary residence abroad
Application concerning Finnish residence-based social security and health insurance upon moving from Finland
Change of address notification form for a person living abroad when registered in the Finnish Population Information System
Application for document regarding medical care when moving to or from Finland