Checklist for Incoming Internationals

This is a check list for new staff members, doctoral researchers or visiting researchers coming from abroad for taking the necessary steps when preparing to move to Finland and get started.

Before coming to Turku

Residence permit

If you come to Finland from outside the EU and you intend to stay for more than 90 days, you must apply for a residence permit. The permit type is called permit for scientific research. This permit is also your work permit; you are allowed to conduct scientific research, teach in a higher education institution or prepare a doctoral dissertation. Instructions on how to apply: Finnish Migration Service.

Please notice that accompanying family members should apply for a residence permit at the same time, even if they arrive in Finland later.

A residence permit and visa must be obtained prior to arrival in Finland.

Start your residence permit application in EnterFinland e-service: E- service: EnterFinland

Please check if you need a visa for Finland: Visa for Finland
Citizens of EU and Nordic countries as well as citizens of Liechtenstein and Switzerland do not need a residence permit for Finland.


Start looking for housing well in advance. Housing situation in Turku is quite good, and the standard of housing is high.

However, the cost of living in Finland is relatively high. Rent varies depending on the location, size and type of the flat. The rent of a studio or two-room apartment start from 450 € /month, and is often around 600-750 € / month near the campus area. For a furnished flat the rent is higher. Normally, rent includes heating but not electricity and water.

> More information on housing options in Turku


You become entitled to social security insurance in Finland based on employment even if you are not permanent resident here. Please notice, that you need a home municipality to use public health services. Home municipality is issued by Digital and data population services agency.

If you move to Finland temporarily, for example for a research visit, from another EU/EEA country or from Switzerland, you will have access to necessary medical care by presenting your European Health Insurance Card issued in your home country. For those arriving from other countries, medical insurance is strongly recommended.

Occupational Health Care

Occupational health care is provided for staff members. Please note that researchers awarded a grant or scholarship, and staff's accompanying family is not included in this insurance. Occupational health service covers cases at general practitioners' level, leisure time accidents and emergencies, extensive laboratory tests or other extensive physical examinations or treatment are not included. These needs can be covered by public health care, or private sector.

All employees of the University, regardless of the nature and duration of the employment relationship, have insurance coverage in case of a work-related injury or illness.

Social Security Insurance - Kela

The Social Insurance Institution of Finland is called Kela. You become entitled to social security coverage in Finland based on employment even if you are not permanent resident here. Please notice that you need a home municipality to use public health services. Home municipality is issued by Digital and data population services agency.

Kela covers such areas of social security as family benefits, health insurance, rehabilitation, basic unemployment security, housing benefits, financial aid for students and basic pensions. All these benefits require certain conditions on living in Finland.

Mela - insurance for grant holders

For those receiving a grant or scholarship awarded in Finland, the Farmers’ Social Insurance Institution Mela handles statutory pension and occupational accident insurance. This insurance is for those covered by Finnish Social Security (Kela).  An insurance application for Mela must be made within three months of starting work. Mela also provides group life insurance, and short-term sickness security. In addition, occupational accident insurance can be complemented with accident insurance for leisure time.

Family members

Plan on family matters such as school and day care well in advance.

> See 'For families' for more information

Civil registrations in Finland

There are two registrations to be considered:

1. EU nationals (only) need to complete EU registration in the Finnish Migration Service for a stay for 3 months or more. This needs to be done prior to civil registration. Time reservation for EU registration: EnterFinland eService

2. Civil registration for those staying in Finland for one year or more, and for those EU nationals who wish to have a home municipality right away.

Please notice that accompanying family members should register at the same time with you, otherwise the processing time is significantly longer for them.

Information for Civil registration: Digital and Population Data Services Agency

Please prepare documents for the registrations in your home country, and make the necessary time reservations already before coming to Finland.


Buddy programme (optional)

University of Turku is organizing a buddy programme through which you can ask for a buddy who can help you get settled in at the University of Turku and in Finland. 

After arriving in Turku

Orientation to work

Orientation to employment relationship matters / grant arrangements is given by your HR contact person at your campus Service Point. Duties and responsibilities, facilities, and practices of the unit are introduced by your supervisor in your unit.

On-boarding buddy programme is available for incoming internationals. Should you feel a need for a buddy, please contact your HR contact person, or graduate school coordinator.

Doctoral candidates are offered specific orientation programmes in the beginning of each term.

UTU account is created automatically for staff and students. Others need to apply for a visitor account. Your HR contact person, or the host for your visit, will do the necessary for opening an account for you.

You can get a UTU library card free of charge from any of the libraries on campus by providing your ID and address in Finland. The library card is personal.

Civil registration in Finland

Foreign citizens, whose residence in Finland is permanent or exceeds one year need to register their stay with Digital and population data services agency. With the registration you will aslo be issued a municipality of residence in Finland that entitles to use municipal services, most importantly health care services. The municipality is issued to all EU nationals, or in case you stay in Finland for work / study for more than a year.

EU citizens - EU registration is needed
You need to register your stay in Finland if you are a citizen of the EU and your stay in Finland exceeds three months. You should complete the EU registration prior to Civil registration in Digital and population data services agency.

> Online service: EnterFinland
> Time reservation for Finnish Migration Service

Nordic citizens
Citizens of the Nordic countries need neither a visa nor a residence permit to reside or work in Finland. Nordic citizens are registered by the Digital and population data services agency. Nordic citizens are required to register if they reside in Finland for more than six months.

Other nationalities
You do not need to visit the Migri Service Point in Raisio if you arrive outside EU/ETA, and you have a valid residence permit to Finland.

Tax office

If you are employed, do visit the tax office in order to get a tax card. The Turku tax office is located in DataCity, street address Lemminkäisenkatu 14 - 18. For the tax card, you need to present your official ID, your residence permit (if applicable), your employment contract, and a clarification of your monthly income.

You can also apply for a Finnish ID at the tax office.

> More tax information for internationals arriving in Finland


Bank account

You need to open a bank account in Finland in case you do not hold a bank account in the SEPA area. To open a bank account, you need to present your official ID, your Finnish ID, residence permit card or EU registration to Finland, address in Finland, employment contract or grant letter.

Please notice also that banks have a statutory obligation to identify and know their customers. In addition to the personal details, the bank must have sufficient information on the customer's business, financial position and origin of funds.


Ask about a data package with internet connections for your mobile phone by visiting operator shops.