opiskelija tietokoneluokassa

Social secu­rity in Finland – Kela (for degree students only)

Social Insur­ance Insti­tu­tion of Finland, Kela, provides finan­cial aid for people who are living in Finland permanently.

If you come to Finland from another EU or EEA country, Switzer­land or the United Kingdom in order to study here, your stay in Finland is usually consid­ered tempo­rary. In that case, your country of origin is respon­si­ble for your social secu­rity bene­fits. You are, however, enti­tled to medically neces­sary health care if you have a Euro­pean Health Insur­ance Card issued by your country of origin. Order the card before coming to Finland.

If you come to Finland from a country other than an EU or EEA country, Switzer­land or the United Kingdom in order to study here for at least 2 years, you can usually receive a Kela card and certain bene­fits such as reim­burse­ments from Kela for medi­cine costs. You are not, however, enti­tled to all Kela bene­fits. For instance, general housing allowance is not paid to students. 

By present­ing your card at the phar­macy or at many private medical clinics, you can get a direct, on-the-spot reim­burse­ment for your costs. You will then only have to pay the copayment.

The right to use public health­care services is based on you being regis­tered with the Digital and Popu­la­tion Data Services Agency as having a munic­i­pal­ity of resi­dence in Finland. Even though you often have to present your Kela card to iden­tify your­self when using public health­care services, cover­age under the health insur­ance system and proving the cover­age by present­ing the Kela card are not prereq­ui­sites for the right to use public health­care services. 

Your circum­stances may change during your studies. When deter­min­ing whether a person is enti­tled to social secu­rity cover­age, Kela also takes into account possi­ble other reasons for the stay in Finland in addi­tion to studies. Such reasons may include previ­ous resi­dence, family ties or employ­ment in Finland. If you work in Finland along­side your studies, you can become enti­tled to bene­fits on the basis of your employ­ment even if your resi­dence in Finland is not consid­ered perma­nent. One require­ment for enti­tle­ment to bene­fits on the basis of employ­ment is that your wage amounts to at least EUR 767.98 per month.

Read more about social secu­rity for students on the Kela web page.

How to apply for a Kela card?

First, fill in the form “Noti­fi­ca­tion – Moving to Finland”: https://www.kela.fi/benefit-forms/Y77e.pdf (form, PDF)

Also, fill in the Kela card appli­ca­tion form: https://www.kela.fi/benefit-forms/SV157e.pdf (form, PDF)

Mail the completed forms to the address Kela, PL 10, 00056 KELA or take them to the Kela office in Joensuu, Koulukatu 24.