Travel and coronavirus

Many are currently wondering how to secure proper care in the event of a coronavirus infection during travel. Make preparations in advance and study the guidelines issued by the relevant countries, the terms of your travel insurance policy and your rights to medical care in the relevant countries. It is important to observe the guidelines on hygiene and safety distances during travel and any possible quarantine guidelines on your return.


Remember these when travelling

Observe good hand and coughing hygiene as well as safety distances.

Follow the instructions provided by the local authorities.

Bring your European Health Insurance Card with you to all EU and EEC countries as well as Switzerland.

Before the trip

  1. Apply for a free European Health Insurance Card well in advance of your holiday
  2. Check the coverage of your travel insurance
  3. Read the current travel advice (in Finnish) and issue a travel notification
  4. Study the border traffic and quarantine guidelines issued by the country of destination and Finland
  5. Read the instructions provided by and regarding airports, terminals, transport services and travel organisers
  6. Follow the instructions provided by the local authorities. For example, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has compiled links to the websites of local authorities in their travel advice bulletins
  7. Store the contact information of your next of kin under the acronym ICE (In Case of Emergency) on your phone
  8. Check whether a COVID-19 app is available in the destination country. The app will inform you if you have been exposed to coronavirus.
  9. Print out the prescriptions for the medications you need from the My Kanta service
  10. Look up country-specific information about health services
  11. Make preparations for the possibility of getting stuck abroad. Account for the possible prolongation of your trip in terms of your finances and the sufficiency of your medication, for example.

If you contract the coronavirus abroad

With the European Health Insurance Card, you gain access to medically essential treatment in EU and EEC countries and Switzerland. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that cannot wait for your return home. The need for treatment is determined by the attending doctor. By showing the card, you will receive treatment at the same price as local residents. The European Health Insurance Card also covers the treatment of the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus. Travellers should be able to receive treatment for COVID-19 free of charge in countries that apply the WHO’s International Health Regulations.

  • When travelling in the UK*, you can obtain treatment at the rate of the local customer fee by presenting your passport. Nordic countries accept official IDs in addition to passports. The European Health Insurance Card is also valid in these countries.
  • When travelling in Australia, you can get treatment by presenting your Kela Card and passport.

In all other countries, you must be prepared to pay all the treatment costs yourself during travel. If you are covered by the Finnish social security scheme, you can apply for Kela reimbursements for any medical expenses you have covered yourself. Please note that the reimbursements are fairly limited.

You should always take out travel insurance for any trips abroad. The insurance may cover the costs if you have to take an ambulance flight home, for example. Please check the coverage of your travel insurance carefully.

The availability of treatment may vary between countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you contract COVID-19 in Finland

If you experience symptoms suggesting a coronavirus infection in Finland, please call the health centre of the municipality in which you are currently staying. You can also assess your symptoms at omaolo.fi. Do not go to the health centre before receiving instructions from health care professionals. In Finland, everyone is entitled to urgent care regardless of their country of origin.

If your municipality of residence is in Finland, you have a certificate of entitlement to medical care or you are a traveller, you will receive treatment for COVID-19 free of charge.

  • If you are from an EU or EEC country or Switzerland, present your European Health Insurance Card or the European Health Insurance Card for pensioners granted by Kela.
  • If you are from Australia or the UK*, you can present your passport instead. If you are from a Nordic country, you can also present an official ID.
  • If you have a certificate of entitlement to medical care in Finland granted by Kela (people working in Finland, for example), ensure to present it.
  • If you do not have a certificate of entitlement to medical care but you are travelling in Finland, tell the health care providers that you are in the country temporarily or for a short period of time as a traveller.

For other groups, medical care in Finland is subject to applicable charges. However, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health recommends that municipalities do not charge the examination and urgent medical care costs caused by the COVID-19 infection from persons who do not have a municipality of residence or certificate of entitlement to medical care in Finland or who are not in Finland as travellers. Check with the municipality providing medical care whether they will charge you.

If you are unsure of your entitlement to medical treatment in Finland, you can contact Kela’s Centre for International Affairs.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare provides information on the COVID-19 situation and recommendations in Finland. The Koronavilkku app informs you via your phone if the app estimates that you have been exposed to coronavirus. The app is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.

*The UK will be following the same rules as EU countries until the end of 2020. After this, the situation may change depending on the Brexit negotiations.