Are you ready for your new life in Finland? Jean and Petra help you settle into your new home by reviewing the most important things to do upon arriving in Finland. Jean and Petra were lucky to have university tutors welcome them to Finland. Now, they'd like to pay it forward by helping you do the same. Keep reading for details on the following topics:
- Setting up your bank account
- Obtaining a Finnish phone number
- Purchasing a bus pass
- Registering for a tax card
Firstly, Jean recommends setting up a Finnish bank account . Especially for non-EU residents subject to foreign transaction fees, having a Finnish bank account will simplify your day-to-day life in Finland. There are a couple of options for banking in Finland. When Jean arrived to begin her studies, her tutor took her to Nordea. She pays only seven euros per month in fees and has had a pleasant experience so far; however, she sometimes has trouble booking on Airbnb and making international payments. EU citizens may be able to get by without a Finnish bank account at first. For example, Petra used her Czech card for a while, because the foreign transaction fee was less than ten cents. She later switched to OP, a bank that offers a student discount (within an age limit).
Next on your list should be getting yourself a Finnish phone number. As an EU citizen, Petra keeps both her Czech SIM card and a Finnish SIM card. Jean purchased her SIM card from DNA, a telecommunications company that she strongly recommends. She hasn't had any complications or connection problems. As a non-EU citizen, she only qualified for their prepaid plan; however, this plan works great for her. She pays only €24.90 per month for unlimited data, and she can even use her phone as a hotspot!
Next, Petra and Jean recommend purchasing a bus card. You will need to bring along documentation that you are a student in order to receive the discounted price. The discount is especially worthwhile in the greater Helsinki region, where students pay 32€ for travel in the AB zone instead of the regular €59. You can either carry your physical bus card with you to travel, or you can download the HSL Linkki phone app to purchase tickets. In general, the transition to life in Finland is easier for EU citizens. For example, students coming from the EU who wish to work can do so without restriction, while students from outside of the EU must work fewer than 25 hours per week on average. If you would like to work, you will need to obtain a tax card. Jean and Petra strongly recommend reporting your employment as required by the Employment and Economic Development Office and the Tax Administration. Especially if you plan to remain in the country long-term, it is important to do things properly and not cut corners!
All of this paperwork can seem overwhelming, but we are here to help! Feel free to reach out to us with your questions and concerns — but please keep in mind that we are not professionals! We have included links to additional resources below, and you can listen to episode 5 here.
Online Services of the Finnish Immigration Services (residence permit)
Digital and Population Data Services Agency (formerly Maistraatti)