Undocumented persons have the right to receive necessary healthcare services


From 1 January 2023 onwards, the wellbeing services counties must provide necessary non-urgent healthcare services for undocumented persons and persons whose status resembles that of an undocumented person.

The legislative amendment will better safeguard the right to indispensable care and adequate healthcare services under the Constitution and the human rights treaties that are binding on Finland. Under the UN human rights treaties, states have an obligation to safeguard the right to health equally for all persons in their territory.

Undocumented adults have the right to receive certain necessary non-urgent healthcare services in addition to urgent care. A healthcare professional will assess the need for these services and the necessity of the services based on the patient’s individual situation, taking into account the patient’s health and duration of stay in Finland.

Necessary care includes, for example, services related to pregnancy and childbirth, certain services related to the treatment of long-term illnesses, and certain health examinations, vaccinations and treatment needed due to infectious diseases.

Undocumented children have the right to healthcare services that have the same scope as those that children with a municipality of residence in Finland are entitled to.

Primarily, the persons receiving treatment are responsible for paying the cost of the treatment in full. Secondarily, the state will compensate the wellbeing services counties for the costs exceeding the client fee.

Undocumented persons may be in very different situations

It is estimated that approximately 3,000–6,000 undocumented persons or persons whose status resembles that of an undocumented person are staying in Finland. These persons find themselves in very different life situations.

The legislative amendment applies to persons who stay in Finland without a residence permit or visa and those who stay in Finland with a temporary residence permit without a municipality of residence. It also applies to citizens of EU and EEA Member States and Switzerland and their family members who are not insured in another EU Member State or do not have a municipality of residence in Finland.

The Act does not apply to persons staying in Finland for a short period of time or to persons travelling to Finland with an obvious intention of using healthcare services.

Source: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health