Moving to Finland

001/365 Helsinki Senate Square

Senate square by Jussi Hellsten

I would like to share with you today some anecdote that I had with the Finnish administration when I moved to Finland. When I was living in France, I never thought about what immigrants have to go through when they move to a new country that is not their own. I can only imagine how dealing with administrations must be much harder elsewhere than in Finland.

I first have to thank Europe because even if things are far away from being perfect, there is on the other hand lots of advantages. For example in the police station, in order to register myself as an EU citizen living in Finland I could press on the “EU member” button to get the queue number. By seeing the “outside of EU” line, I felt I had won the jackpot at the lottery.

There was also some little incoherences in the system. Such as, to have a Personal Identity Code (or also called “the Holy Grail”), you need to have a job. To have a job, a transport, health & tax cards, you need this code. It’s a bit like the snake which bites its own tail.

After eventually a while, you have managed to deal with all these things! Now, you are drooling on the window of Nokia flagship store in Aleksanterinkatu. That’s it! You decided that you want to buy the new Nokia Lumia with this awesome contract offer you have seen in Helsingin Sanomat (local newspaper). You enter beating heart into the telephone operator office. However, they announce you that you need to pay 600 € cash because you have lived in Finland for less than 2 years. (Valid also for Finns who have just come back to the country after living abroad for a long time)

No need to say that if you arrive in Finland with an employement contract already signed, it is easier for you to get any of those documents discussed above. Though, it is possible to find a job in Finland on the spot but it is not easy… Especially if your Finnish is poor. Usually companies tend to trust more foreigners who have been living in Finland for more than 2 years & preferably Europeans (for police records purposes).

If you are moving to Finland, check out this website. It’s of very good advice & you get also support in English from them: Into Finland


Je voudrais partager avec vous aujourd’hui une anecdote que j’ai vécu avec l’administration Finlandaise lorsque je suis arrivée au pays. En tant que Française je n’ai jamais pensé à ce que les immigrés doivent endurer avec le service public. C’est sans doute beaucoup plus difficile & compliqué qu’en Finlande.

Tout d’abord, MERCI à l’Europe d’exister! Sérieusement on se plaint pas mal  de l’Union mais y a quand même quelques terrains où on est vachement avantagés. Par exemple, au poste de police lorsque je me suis enregistrée en tant que citoyenne de l’UE vivant en Finlande, j’ai pu appuyer attention sur le bouton “membre de l’UE”. En voyant la file d’attente pour les “hors UE”, j’ai eu l’impression d’avoir gagné le gros lot à la loterie.

Il y avait aussi quelques petites incohérences dans le système. Tels que, pour avoir un code d’identification personnel (autrement dit, le Graal ici), on doit avoir un emploi. Pour avoir un emploi, les cartes de transport, de santé et d’impôt, on a besoin de ce code. C’est un peu le serpent qui se mord la queue.

Après un certain temps, vous avez finalement réussi à faire face à tous ces illogismes! Maintenant, vous bavez sur la vitrine du magasin phare de Nokia sur Aleksanterinkatu. Ça y est! Vous avez décidé d’acheter le nouveau Nokia Lumia avec cette offre géniale DNA que vous avez vu dans Helsingin Sanomat (journal local). Vous entrez le coeur battant chez l’opérateur téléphonique. Là, on vous apprend que vous devez payer 600 € cash pour le GSM parce que vous vivez en Finlande depuis moins de 2 ans. (Valable également pour les Finlandais qui reviennent au pays après avoir vécu longtemps à l’étranger)

Inutile de dire que si vous arrivez en Finlande avec un contrat signé, il est plus facile d’obtenir les documents mentionnés ci-dessus. Il est possible de trouver un emploi sur place, mais ce n’est pas une mince affaire surtout si votre niveau de Finnois est plutôt proche de zéro. Habituellement, les entreprises ont tendance à faire davantage confiance aux étrangers ayant vécus en Finlande depuis plus de 2 ans et de préférence Européens. (à cause de l’historique de votre casier judiciaire)

Si vous déménagez en Finlande, consultez ce site Web, il est de très bon conseil et en anglais: Into Finland


5 thoughts on “Moving to Finland

  1. Hi! I saw your blog featured on the Expat Blog Website. I will be moving to Finland soon, or at least that’s my intention. I’m trying to find employment from outside, since I heard it was easier to go through the immigration process. But it is also perfectly OK to travel to Finland to look for work there in person, right?
    By the way, thanks for blogging. I’m learning from Finnish culture by reading your posts.

  2. Hi Rafael, Thank you for your comment. Everything basically happens online so you could easily search already a job from your home country. However, you need to be available for interviews and it always looks better if you are already locally especially if you are not a citizen of the Schengen area. In Finland, usually you need to provide quite early in the recruiting process this Personal Identity Code I was mentioning in this post which you get once you move to Finland.
    I wish you good luck in your researches !

  3. Very useful information. I am going to move to Finland with my family. I am with an employement contract already signed. I hope it will be easier. But I know that moving will be really tough. Every moving is. Greets!

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