FAQ: Consular services

Information and instructions on consular services abroad.

Travel

I am planning to travel abroad. Can the Ministry for Foreign Affairs give advice on whether I need a visa or on how long my passport should be valid?

Check the latest entry regulations from the authorities of the country of your travel destination. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland does not make decisions concerning other countries’ entry requirements and regulations. You can also ask advice from the embassy of your country of destination located in Finland: Missions of foreign countries in Finland.

I am planning to travel to a country that has recently experienced unrest. Am I allowed to travel?

It is always up to you to decide whether to travel or not. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs cannot make a decision on behalf of a traveller. We recommend that you read the relevant travel advice bulletin published (in Finnish and Swedish) by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

It gives you information on the general security situation, level and types of crime and hazardous areas in the country. You will learn about safety and security considerations related to transport, natural conditions and the health of tourists.

I use prescribed medication. Can I take my medicines on my holiday? What should I do if I need more medicines than I have reserved for my holiday?

Before travelling, find out which medicines are legal in the country where you are going to, because countries have different regulations as to the quantities and types of medicines that travellers may have with them when entering the country. The rules and restrictions in place in transit countries should also be clarified in advance. For information on restrictions on the import of medicines and the required documents, contact the customs authorities of your country of destination, for example. You can also ask advice from the mission of your country of destination located in Finland. https://um.fi/ulkovaltojen-edustustot Missions of foreign countries in Finland

Make sure you pack enough medication to cover the duration of your journey. Many medicines can be bought abroad, but if you buy a prescription medication abroad, it is possible that the medicine you receive is different from the one you buy in Finland. Read carefully the regulations concerning the import of medicines before you bring home any medicines bought from abroad.

More information on the export and import of medicines is available, for example, on the website of the Finnish Medicines Agency(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window). Before you travel, you should also make sure that you are familiar with the traveller’s health guide(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window) (in Finnish).

I will travel abroad alone with my child. / My child’s grandmother will accompany our child on holiday abroad. Is there a need for a certificate to the authorities of the country of destination?

Always check the travel requirements for minors from the authorities of the country to which you are travelling. Also check the formal requirements with the authorities of the country of destination to make sure if the child’s guardian’s consent is needed, because the country may require, for example a written consent approved by a notary public(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window). Bear in mind that even if the country of destination does not require the guardian’s consent, you may transit a country where the consent is required.

Many airlines require that you get the permission of everyone with parental responsibility for a child before taking the child abroad. Some airlines may have a specific form for this purpose.

 Even in the absence of any requirements, it is always advisable to have the guardians’ written permission for the journey. Persons with parental responsibility can also write a letter of consent, for example in English. The letter should include the travel details and both guardians' contact information and both parents should sign the letter.

In distress abroad

I am on my holiday abroad and my Finnish passport was stolen/lost. What should I do?

Report the theft/loss at the local police station and ask for a copy of your statement or the investigation report. You will need it later when you apply for a new passport or file an insurance claim, or if your lost passport is misused.

You can apply for a new Finnish passport at any Finnish mission abroad. If Finland does not have a diplomatic mission in the country where you are travelling, you can ask for assistance at a mission of another EU Member State(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window) to get an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) for your flight home.

Report your passport theft/passport loss immediately to a Finnish mission abroad or the Finnish police either via their online service(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window) or, when you have returned to Finland, by visiting a police station.

I am on holiday abroad and I am running out of money. Can the Ministry for Foreign Affairs pay the cost of my journey home?

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs cannot cover a traveller’s journey back home. Instead, travellers are always responsible for the expenses arising from their journey abroad and back home.

Ask a family member or a friend in Finland to buy you an electronic ticket or to transfer money to your account for your journey home.  Usually you can withdraw foreign currency using your bank card or credit card. If a credit transfer is not possible, money can also be transferred abroad through an international money transfer agency (e.g. FOREX(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window), Money Gram(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window), Tavex(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window), Western Union(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)).

I have fallen ill abroad. Where can I get help? Who will pay for my care?

In case of an emergency, call the local emergency number.

Taking out travel insurance(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window) is always recommended. Please read the terms of your insurance carefully before you travel. In case of illness, contact your insurance company’s emergency service for instructions.

If you do not have travel insurance, you will be responsible for the costs of your medical care yourself, with the exception of care provided to holders of a European Health Insurance Card in EU and EEA countries, Switzerland in the UK or Northern Ireland.

Persons residing in Finland are entitled to medical care when they are staying temporarily in another EU or EEA country, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland. You can prove your right to medical care(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window) by presenting your European Health Insurance Card(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window) issued by Kela. Get your card in good time before you travel, and remember to check the duration of the validity of your card.

You can get the contact details of local health stations and hospitals from the nearest Finnish missions abroad and from your insurance company. If you are on a package tour, contact the travel organiser without delay.

I am on holiday/business trip abroad and I was robbed. Where can I get money for accommodation, food and tickets to be able to return home?

  • Report the matter to the nearest police station. A police report is needed, for example, for the insurance company.
  • Report your bank card to your bank’s blocking service immediately.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • If you are on a package tour, contact the travel organiser without delay.

If you have your bank card/credit card, ask a family member or friend in Finland to transfer money to your account for your journey back home. You can usually withdraw money abroad with a bank card or credit card. If a credit transfer is not possible, money can also be transferred abroad through an international money transfer agency (e.g. FOREX(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window), Money Gram(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window), Tavex(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window), Western Union(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)). You can also ask a family member or friend to buy an electronic ticket for your journey back home. 

If the transfer of money does not succeed, the local Finnish mission may also assist in transferring the funds from your account to the Foreign Ministry’s account. The delivery fee is EUR 40. You can also designate another person to deposit the money.

If you cannot get funds for your journey back home in any other way, the mission may, as a last resort, consider granting an emergency loan for your journey home using the cheapest mode of travel. In that case, you must sign an ‘undertaking to repay’ agreement. Assistance provided against an ‘undertaking to repay’ agreement will be charged back from you and it is subject to enforcement action without a separate decision.

It is good to note that a mission can transfer funds or grant assistance only for a homeward journey. Funds necessary for being able to continue the journey must be acquired by the traveller himself or herself. 

I lost my driving licence abroad. Can a mission issue a new driving licence?

Report the loss of a Finnish driving licence to the Finnish police(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window).

You can apply for a new driving licence from Traficom(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window).

If you live in another EU Member State, apply for a new local driving licence from your country(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window) of residence.

I have not managed to get in touch with a family member or friend who is travelling abroad for several days. Can the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or the local mission help me in finding the person?

If you suspect that your loved-one has disappeared or been a victim of a crime abroad, file a missing person report(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window) at a police station in Finland.  A close relative of a traveller who is suspected to be missing or a victim of a crime may also turn to a Finnish mission, which can inquire about the matter from the local authorities.

If you are a next of kin of a person residing permanently abroad, contact the local authorities for help in finding the person and in determining the person’s whereabouts.

It should be noted that a mission is entitled to give information it may have acquired only on adult persons with the consent of the person in question.

I was arrested during my holiday. Can the mission get me out of detention and pay my fine?

Please note that local laws apply to tourists, too, and things that are not punishable in Finland may be prohibited in other countries. 

The mission can try to find if the country where you are travelling can arrange a legal counsel and an interpreter for you while you are suspected or accused of an offence. At your request, the mission may also get in touch with a person in Finland and inform what has happened.

The Finnish mission cannot interfere with the investigation of legal proceedings of the matter nor can it urge the local judicial authority to release you. The mission cannot give legal advice or advocate for your matter either, as these tasks are the responsibility of your legal counsel or advocate. The mission cannot pay your fines or grant financial assistance to help you manage them. Instead, you must acquire the money needed for the fines yourself, for example via family members or friends in Finland, if necessary. 

I was informed that my family member has died abroad. What should I do?

Check if the deceased person had insurance and contact the insurance company. If the deceased had an insurance policy that compensates for repatriation, the insurance company is responsible for the repatriation costs and arrangements. If the deceased was uninsured, the family is responsible for all repatriation costs.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Finnish mission can help families find a local funeral parlour, which arranges the repatriation in cooperation with the family members.

Send the original or an officially certified death certificate issued in the country in question or a legalised and officially certified copy of the death certificate to the nearest Finnish mission abroad or to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window) in Finland. Submitting a notification of the death to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency is important to ensure that the death is entered in the population information system in Finland.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs does not handle matters related to estates. The deceased person’s next of kin should hire a lawyer to take care of property-related matters abroad. The Finnish mission may provide contact details of local law offices.

I am in a country where Finland does not have a mission of its own. Where can I get help?

In case Finland does not have a mission in the country where you are staying, you can ask assistance from other Nordic countries’ missions in the country and, if you are outside the European Union, also from missions of other EU Member States(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window).

In Finland, the Foreign Ministry’s 24/7 Service Centre operates round the clock every day.

Tel. +358 9 1605 5555 (phone calls are recorded), paivystys.um@formin.fi

Crises around the world

According to local media, a natural disaster has occurred in my country of residence. What should I do?

In crisis situations (e.g. natural disasters, major accidents, political unrest), the local authorities are responsible for responding to the needs of foreigners residing in the country. Follow the instructions given by the local authorities and follow the local media. Should you need urgent assistance, contact the local rescue authorities (the police, the fire service, ambulance). You should follow the website of the local Finnish mission and, in an emergency, contact the mission or the Foreign Ministry’s 24/7 Service Centre.

If possible, avoid staying in the crisis area and notify your family and friends of your situation. If you have not yet submitted a travel notification, do so to make sure that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs can contact you if necessary. If it is not necessary to continue your stay, consider returning to Finland using commercial connections.

Can the Finnish Government fly me home from abroad, for example in the event of a natural disaster?

In the event of a natural disaster or other crisis, travellers must try to return to Finland using commercial connections. Ultimately, should protecting travellers’ personal security require, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the mission can assist them to move from the crisis area to the nearest safe area either in the country in question or in a neighbouring country. When a crisis occurs, it may be necessary to make arrangements for the repatriation of travellers.

When assessing the range and scope of measures that should be taken and implemented, it is important to take into account the nature of the crisis, other prevailing factors and the measures taken by the other Nordic countries and EU Member States. In a crisis, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has only limited capabilities to assist people in difficulties abroad.

Repatriation and evacuation are resorted to only with the consent of the person concerned. It should be noted that repatriation and evacuation are services subject to a charge, and the costs arising from them are covered by the person who is assisted.

What is a travel notification and what is it used for?

When you travel abroad, you can submit your travel plans and contact details to the Foreign Ministry. If you wish, you can also use the service to register a permanent residence abroad.

In the event of an emergency or a crisis, the Ministry can alert those who have provided their travel plans and contact details. The travel notification is the only way for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to receive information about your stay abroad.

Living abroad

I am a Finnish citizen but I have lived abroad for several years and now want to return to Finland. Can the mission assist me in my return home?

Finnish citizens always have the right to return to Finland, but everyone is responsible for the arrangements and costs related to the move. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs or the missions cannot assist in the arrangements or pay the costs arising from your travel home.

A family member abroad is unwell and needs help. What can we do? Can the mission arrange for the patient to get care abroad or bring him or her to Finland?

As a rule, persons who live abroad are covered by the healthcare and social welfare services available in that country. The types and conditions of care and access to healthcare services depend on the legislation and practices of that country.

If you are worried about the situation of a person living abroad, contact the authorities of the person’s country of residence directly, as Finnish missions cannot arrange healthcare for persons who live abroad. It is also up to the person in question whether they seek care or treatment or not. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs or a Finnish mission does not act as mediators in such matters and cannot influence, for example, what kind of care a foreign state provides for residents of their country.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs or a mission cannot bring people to Finland. In principle, healthcare or institutional care is provided in Finland to persons who are covered by the Finnish social security(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window) and who give their consent to the care.  In some cases, referral to Finland may also require an assessment by the attending physician and an escort.

I live permanently abroad but I need help in drawing pension from Finland and also in dealing with my Finnish bank. Can the mission help?

If necessary, a mission can provide notarial services, such as the authentication of a signature for the bank or a certificate of life for a pension company, but these services are subject to a fee.

In other questions relating to pensions, banking transactions or private life, you should turn directly to the party in question. A mission cannot act as a proxy in private matters. Additionally, missions do not send personal mail to persons staying abroad. If you need help or advice, contact private lawyers, for example.

I live permanently abroad and need help in dealing with the authorities of my country of residence. Can the mission help me?

Local authorities comply with their own legislation. For help or advice, turn to public legal aid or assistance provided by private lawyers. Finnish missions do not have jurisdiction in matters falling within the competence of a foreign authority.