Medical care for undocumented persons in Finland

There are persons residing in Finland, both legally and illegally, who are collectively referred to as undocumented persons. Undocumented persons are entitled to urgent medical care within public health care. A municipality may also unilaterally decide to provide more extensive care than urgent medical care to an undocumented person.

In general, undocumented persons are responsible for the medical care costs that they incur in Finland. If the costs of urgent medical care within the public health care system cannot be collected from the person in question, Kela will reimburse the costs to the provider of public health care services in question.

Undocumented persons refer to several different groups of people and the terminology is not standardised. Generally speaking, undocumented persons refer to all or some of the below groups of people:

  • a person who has arrived from countries outside of the EU, EEA or Switzerland and whose residence permit has expired or who has no legal justification for their arrival or residence in the country
  • a person who has arrived from countries outside of the EU, EEA or Switzerland for the purpose of studies and whose residence permit has been dependent on private health insurance that has now ended or is not comprehensive
  • an EU citizen who is legally in the country but who has no insurance protection for illness or medical care.

Global Clinic offers free health care services for undocumented persons. The clinics operate in Helsinki, Turku, Oulu, Lahti, Tampere and Joensuu and employ volunteer doctors and medical personnel. Clients can visit the clinic without disclosing their identity, which means that their visit remains confidential. The address of the clinic is secret and you are only told its location when you contact the clinic.

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