Student medical care abroad
Going on an exchange? Doing a degree abroad? This page contains information and useful links in case you need medical care abroad.
Apply for a European Health Insurance Card from Kela.
Check your travel insurance.
Make sure you have the necessary medications and vaccinations.
Things to remember
- Check with Kela whether you are still covered by Finnish social security during your studies abroad.
- Apply for a European Health Insurance Card from Kela.
- Check the terms of your travel insurance.
- Take with you your medications and prescriptions.
- If you want to purchase medication while abroad, ask your doctor to provide a medical prescription for purchasing medication abroad.
- Find out about the health care services of your destination country.
Your entitlement to treatment in the new country of study
Living abroad due to studies is usually regarded as temporary residence. In this case, you remain covered by Finnish health insurance and your entitlement to treatment is determined in accordance with the agreements between Finland and the destination country. In EU or EEA countries, United Kingdom and in Switzerland, you will receive medically necessary care with the European Health Insurance Card.
Your entitlement to treatment in your destination country and in Finland is determined by Kela. Always notify Kela of a move abroad for longer than three months. Also inform Kela if you work abroad, as it may affect your entitlement to treatment. Also submit a notification of move to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.
Your entitlement to treatment depends on
- whether you go to another EU country or outside the EU;
- how long you will be staying; and
- whether you will also be working.
Are you travelling to study in Europe or outside Europe? Read the stories of Milla and Timo.
Milla’s bicycle accident in Germany
– As a student in an EU or EEA country, United Kingdom or Switzerland
How Timo beat the flu in Chile
– As a student outside the EU/EEA countries, United Kingdom and Switzerland
Help with preparations
Report your move
Notify Kela of a stay abroad that is longer than three months, as it may affect your entitlement to treatment. Also inform Kela if you work abroad. Submit a notification of move to the Digital and population data services agency too. It is also a good idea to file a travel notification of the residence abroad with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Apply for an European Health Insurance Card
With the European Health Insurance Card, you will receive medically necessary care in EU and EEA countries, United Kingdom and in Switzerland. Please note that the card is not valid outside Europe. Travel insurance also safeguards against the costs of illness or accident. Travel insurance also secures patient transport to Finland.
Make sure you have the necessary medications and prescriptions
In addition to medications, also bring their prescriptions. If needed, you can use them at customs to prove that you have the right to take your personal medication with you. You can print out a summary of your prescriptions from the My Kanta service. If you want to purchase medication while abroad, ask your doctor to provide a medical prescription for purchasing medication abroad. Electronic prescriptions are also valid in Estonia, Portugal, Croatia, Poland and Spain.
Remember to also check your vaccinations before departure.
Find out about the health care services of the destination country
Your entitlement to treatment and use of health care services in different countries may vary depending on your destination country. It is a good idea to find out about the practices of the country where you are travelling just in case. Our country-specific pages provide information on health care services in more than 50 countries.
Kela’s Centre for International Affairs provides service in matters relating to moving abroad and social security coverage. Contact points for cross-border health care provide you with more information on the health care services of different EU countries and their use.
The Internet is full of good tips for those going to study abroad. Below are some that may be helpful with the preparations.
- Studying abroad (maailmalle.net, in Finnish)
- Advice to travellers from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (um.fi, in Finnish)
- Traveller’s Health Guide (Matkailijan terveysopas) (Finnish institute for health and welfare, in Finnish)
- Working abroad while studying may affect your social security (elämässä.fi, in Finnish)