Moving to Finland: Important Tips

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A chart-topper in the happiest countries list, Finland is a dream place to settle for a multitude of reasons. Its mesmerizing nature, robust social support systems, safety, high quality of education, and general comfort are only a few reasons why a move to Finland is enticing to many people.

Planning a move to Finland? Here are a few important tips to get you started!

Stay warm: the climate and geography

Most of Finland has a subarctic climate. Now, if we only knew one thing about the North Pole, it would be the cold. Winter is the longest season in Finland, due to its northern latitude. Even the summers in this country are cool. Only in the south and southwest of the country are the summers roughly the same length as the winter.

Winter days as cold as -20°C (-4°F) are not uncommon. Lakes regularly freeze, and seas as well, when the winter is at its coldest. One thing is clear: you must always stay warm! Depending on where you live in Finland, the specific outfits you need may differ, but a comfortable, waterproof, and windproof winter parka is a must-have in your wardrobe! 

Language tips

The Finnish language is one of the trickiest in the world to learn. It is a Uralic language, which is notably neither Germanic nor Latin (Romance), so if you already know other European languages from those families and thought that those languages will help as a base for your Finnish: tough luck! While knowing more languages helps you pick up new languages, Finnish may prove to be tough, especially with its 15 grammatical cases!

However, fret not! 70% of Finnish people speak English. So chances are you’ll be able to get by with English. Learning Finnish would still be beneficial, though. We’d say learning languages is always beneficial, at least for your brain. When it comes to learning the main language of the country you live in, the benefits are clear! 

Get the proper visa and permit

Thanks to the freedom of movement policies in Europe, citizens of European Union member countries, as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein do not need a visa to stay in Finland for up to three months. Citizens of these countries may even work without much bureaucratic hassle.

If you’re a citizen of a country on a visa-free agreement with Finland, you won’t need to apply for a visa to enter Finland either. Otherwise, you will need a visa depending on the purpose of your entry and stay in Finland.

If your stay in Finland is more than three months, there are two scenarios, depending on your citizenship. If you’re a citizen of the aforementioned European countries, you simply need to register your right of residence at the local police station within the first three months of your stay.

Otherwise, regardless of whether your country has a visa-free regime, you will need to apply for a Finnish residence permit. There are several kinds of Finnish residence permits, which depend on the purpose and period of your stay.

Here are the documents you will need to apply:

  • Your valid passport, along with photocopies of all its pages;
  • Residence permit application form;
  • 2 photos, fitting the requirements;
  • Documents confirming the purpose of your visit;
  • Proof of payment of the consular fee.

Pick a place to settle

Finland has no shortage of beautiful places to make a home. So which ones are the most popular among foreigners looking to settle in Finland?

Helsinki, the capital, is an obvious choice. As is the case with capitals around the world, it offers endless work opportunities and cultural scenes. It has all the characteristics of a great city, while still being clean and serene enough to be comfortably livable. This is no surprise as Helsinki held the title of the World Design Capital in 2012: the city is not beautiful, but it’s just so neat!

If you’d prefer to stay on the sidelines but don’t want to miss the spotlight of the capital, the Greater Helsinki Area might be ideal. It is close enough and well-connected to Helsinki while offering a life closer to nature and further away from the city’s bustle.

Outside the capital and its satellites, there are the industrial and technological powerhouses in the north: Tampere and Oulu. The universities and polytechnics in these cities make them ideal destinations for students looking to experience the high quality of Finnish education, while the companies based in these areas provide endless opportunities for techies. These things also ensure that these cities have dynamic cultural lives!

Be ready to explore

Besides the high quality of life, we’d say it’s no surprise that Finland is the happiest country in the world! The country offers a diverse landscape: it has thousands upon thousands of scenic lakes, awesome ski resorts, and let’s not forget the stunning Aurora Borealis.

And where would we be without the Finnish people? The Finnish culture and traditions are more than worth exploring, not the least because of their uniqueness. Hit the sauna, eat the delicacies, join funky festivals. You’re in Finland, make the most of it to be happy!

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