Frequently Asked Questions
Below you find the answers to frequently asked questions about working abroad. By clicking the headings below you will find more information on those subjects.
If you have questions about working abroad, please contact us.
What is an A1 certificate?
Question: I worked briefly in Norway for my Finnish employer. Now the Norwegian authorities require an A1 certificate. What is that?
Answer: The A1 certificate states which country’s social security laws are to be applied to you while you work abroad.
Under EU regulations, the laws of only one Member State at a time should be applied to you. As a rule, the laws of the country in which you work should be applied. This rule does not apply if you are a posted employee or a self-employed worker, or if you work in several EU countries at the same time. In such cases, you would need the A1 certificate to prove that the social security laws of some other country than that in which you work is applied.
The A1 certificate also means that your statutory social insurance contributions are not to be paid to the country in which you work. Instead, they are to be paid to the country that issued your A1 certificate.
In Finland, the Finnish Centre for Pensions issues A1 certificates, providing you meet all the conditions. You can apply for the certificate by filling out the printed form.
Short posting - do we need to apply for the A1 certificate?
Question: We are posting a mechanic to Belgium for two weeks. Does he need an A1 certificate for such a short period of posting?
Answer: If you post your employee abroad for less than one month you are sending him on a work trip and do not need to apply for an A1 certificate.However, if any party (such as an authority or an employer in the country in which your employee works) requires the certificate, you may apply for it also for periods of posting that last for less than one month.
For how long can I be a posted employee?
Question: I have a Finnish employer who is posting me to work in Sweden. My employer has applied for an A1 certificate. For how long can I be a posted employee and remain covered by Finnish social security?
Answer: You can be granted an A1 certificate for EU and EEA countries for two years. If your posting continues beyond those two years, your employer must apply for an extension to the certificate. We can grant a so-called exemption for another three years. If the authorities of the country in which you work approve our request for an exemption, you can be covered by Finnish social security laws as a posted employee for a total of five years.
When it comes to countries with which Finland has a social security agreement, the maximum periods of posting varies from one country to another. For more details, click the links below.
Telecommuting family member of posted employee
Question: I have agreed with my Finnish employer that I will telecommute from France during one year. My spouse will work as a posted employee in France at the same time. He has an A1 certificate. Do I also need to apply for an A1 certificate?
Answer: Since you are working abroad, you have to apply for an A1 certificate to be covered by Finnish social security laws. Otherwise your employer will have to pay the statutory social security fees to France under local laws and you will be covered by French social security.
If you are the spouse of a posted employee and you are not working, Kela will issue a decision on your social security.
If you are a self-employed worker and telecommute for your company that operates in Finland, you can apply for an A1 certificate if you have done the same type of work in Finland before going abroad to work. For more information, contact the Finnish Centre for Pensions.
If you are an accompanying spouse and you start working for a local employer or set up your own business abroad, the main rule of the EU regulation will be applied to your work. In that case, all your statutory social security contributions are to be paid to the country in which you work. As a result, you cannot be covered by Finnish social security.
As an employee in Finland and in another EU country
Question: I live in Finland and work for both a Finnish and a Swedish employer. Both of them are private sector employers. I work mainly in Sweden and 2-3 days per month in Finland. Which country’s social security laws apply to me and to which country should I pay my social security contributions?
Answer: Since you do not do a considerable part of your work in the country in which you live (Finland), the social security laws of the country in which your foreign employer is registered (Sweden) are applied to you. Your Finnish employer must also pay your statutory social security fees to Sweden. You cannot pay statutory social security contributions to Finland at the same time.
You need an A1 certificate. Sweden will issue the certificate, but you must hand in your application to the competent authority in the country in which you live, that is, to the Finnish Centre for Pensions.
Lorry drivers working in several EU countries
Question: We are a Finnish transport company. We have employed lorry drivers who live in Estonia. They drive throughout Europe. To which country should we pay their statutory social security contributions?
Answer: If your employees, who work in several EU countries, do a considerable part of their work in Estonia, you should arrange their social security in that country. As their employer, you should pay their social security contributions to Estonia. Do not pay any statutory social security contributions to Finland or any other country at the same time.
If your drivers do a considerable part of their work in a country or countries other than the country in which they live, and if your drivers do not have any other employers, their social security contributions should be paid to the country in which your company is registered, that is, to Finland. In that case, you should pay the social security contributions for your employees to Finland.
A considerable part means at least 25% of the work.
If your drivers work in several countries, they need an A1 certificate. As a rule, you should apply for the certificate from the country in which your drivers live, but you can also send it to the Finnish Centre for Pensions. We will forward it to the authorities of the country in which your employees live.
Working in another EU country for a local employer
Question: I will go to Germany to work for a German employer for half a year. After that, I will return to Finland. I will pay my taxes to Finland all the time. Will I also continue to be covered by Finnish social security?
Answer: The main rule within the EU/EEA area and Switzerland is that the employee is covered by the social security laws of the country in which they work, regardless of where they live or to which country they pay taxes. That is why your social security will be defined by German law while you work there.
You do not have to inform the Finnish Centre for Pensions of the transfer of your social security to Germany. But you must notify Kela. You must also contact Kela again once you return to Finland.
Regular short-term work in another EU country for a local employer
Question: As a rule, I work for a Finnish employer in Finland, where I live. In addition, I work for a few days per month in Estonia for a local employer. Should my social security contributions be paid to both countries?
Answer: Any statutory social security contributions paid in the EU area are paid to one country at a time.
Since you usually work in several countries and a do a considerable part of your work in the country in which you live (Finland), you are covered by Finnish social security laws. Both your Finnish and your Estonian employer must pay your statutory social security contributions to Finland.
To show that you are covered by Finnish social security laws, you must apply for an A1 certificate from the Finnish Centre for Pensions.
Posted for more than five years
Question: I have been posted to Germany. I have received an A1 certificate for the period 1.4.2012-31.3.2016. I was supposed to return to Finland at that time, but the project continues here and my employer wants me to continue working in Germany until the end of June 2017. Can I be covered by Finnish social security throughout my period of posting?
Answer: Based on an agreement (a so-called exemption) between the authorities of the EU countries concerned, you can be covered by the social security of the sending country (Finland) for a maximum of five years.
You have worked in Germany already for four years. In total you will be posted for five years and three months. Since your posting will last for only a little more than the maximum limit of five years, the Finnish Centre for Pensions can apply for an exemption from the German authorities. Your employer should state (in writing) the reason for the extended period of posting and confirm that you will return to Finland after that. If the German authority agrees to the exemption, we will issue an A1 certificate for you.
Self-employed worker working temporarily in another EU country
Question: I have a business involving forestry equipment. I have established my business recently. So far, I have worked as a contractor in Finland, but now I will be going to Germany for six months for forest harvesting. After that, I will continue working in Finland again. Can I be covered by Finnish social security while I work in Germany? Do I have to apply for an A1 certificate?
Answer: According to EU regulations, as a self-employed worker, you are covered by the social security of the country in which you work. However, as a self-employed person going to work as a self-employed person in another EU country on a temporary basis (for less than two years), you can be covered by the social security of your country of departure (Finland).
This is possible if you, as a posted self-employed worker, have engaged in considerable activities in the home country of your business already before you go abroad to work , and if you will continue working as a self-employed person in the home country after the posting ends. You must have been covered by a pension insurance for self-employed workers (under the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act) for at least four months before going abroad. If your self-employment has lasted for less than four months, your work cannot be insured under the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act.
If your self-employment has lasted for at least four months before you go to Germany and you have a valid statutory or voluntary pension insurance under the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act, you can continue to be covered by Finnish social security also while you work in Germany. You need to apply for an A1 certificate from the Finnish Centre for Pensions to prove that. Use application form 2142e to apply for the certificate.
Does receiving a wage from abroad meet the requirements of posting?
Question: We are going to post our employee for two years to our subsidiary company in Hungary. The contract of posting states that our employee’s salary is paid by the subsidiary company. Our employee will return to his former job here in Finland when the posting ends. Can he receive an A1 certificate for a posted employee?
Answer: Who pays the salary is not significant on its own. Your employee is considered a posted employee if his employment relationship with you (the sending employer) continues throughout the period of posting and if there is a permanent connection between the two of you throughout his period of posting. Issues that make a difference in this case include issues such as who your employee has signed a work contract with, who has the right to fire your employee and whether you (a Finnish employer) have agreed on your employee’s return to Finland after the period of posting, If you (the sending company) have made a posting agreement with your employee, or if you have made a tripartite agreement (between your employee, yourself and the receiving company), your employee can be a posted employee, even if his salary is paid by the foreign, receiving company. In such cases, you can apply for an A1 certificate for your posted employee.
Changing country of work
Question: Our employee has worked for us first in China for two years and then as a posted employee in the United States of America for five years. After that she will be posted to England for three years. After that, she will work for us here in Finland. Can she be covered by Finnish social security throughout these periods of posting?
Answer: With a so-called exemption (an agreement between the authorities in EU countries), your employee can be covered by the social security of Finland (the sending country) for a maximum of five years. This five-year limit is country-specific. When your employee moves and works in another country, we can apply for an exemption to have her covered by Finnish social security while she works in England. We have to consider the whole picture when assessing whether she meets the conditions for an exemption. In addition, the authority of the country of work (in this case England) has to agree to the exemption. You should apply to us for the exemption well ahead in time with form 2132e.
Question: I live in Finland and work in Sweden. My employer is Swedish. Why can I not receive a health insurance card (a Kela card)?
Answer: You are considered a cross-border worker. A cross-border worker is employed or works as a self-employed person in one EU country but lives in another EU country.
As a rule, as a cross-border worker, you are covered by the social security laws of the country in which you work. This means that your social security contributions are to be paid to the country in which you work. That country will also grant your social security benefits.
Since you live in Finland, you may have the right to certain benefits, such as the child benefit or the child day care subsidy, paid by Kela. For more information on the social security benefits of cross-border workers, contact Kela.
- Working abroad / Cross-border worker
Musician working in several EU Member States
Question: I am a freelance musician who lives in Finland. I usually perform in Finland for Finnish employers. Now I have been invited to Italy to perform at a festival during three days in the summer. The festival arranger, who is my employer, has asked me to get an A1 certificate. Can I get one? I will do a few gigs in Italy next summer, as well. This year, in the autumn, I will do a gig in France and another in the Netherlands for foreign employers.
Answer: The A1 certificate is granted by the country whose social insurance laws are applied to you.
If you work for Finnish and foreign employers in at least two other countries, you will be covered by Finnish social security laws since you live here. Whether you do a considerable part of your work in Finland makes no difference in this case.
This means that your foreign employers have to pay the statutory social insurance contributions to Finland, the country in which you live.
You have to apply for an A1 certificate from the Finnish Centre for Pensions using form 2132e. The certificate can be granted for one or two years when you know that you will work in several EU countries. The countries that you state that you will work in will be listed on the certificate.
If you work as a self-employed person in several EU countries, contact the Finnish Centre for Pensions.
Insuring performers at a music festival
Question: We had an Irish performer at our one-week long music festival. She had an A1 certificate issued in Ireland for one year. Does this mean that she has been insured in Ireland and we are not to take out earnings-related pension insurance or other social security insurance for her in Finland?
Answer: Since the performer has an A1 certificate from another EU country for the period in questions, you are not to take out earnings-related pension insurance or other social security insurance for her in Finland. However, her certificate may mean that you must pay social security contributions to Ireland.
You have to pay social security contributions to country that issues the A1 certificate (Ireland) if:
- the performer ually works in two or more countries (point 3.2 on the A1 certificate). For more information, contact the Finnish Centre for Pensions.
You do not have to pay any social security contributions to any country if:
- the musician is a self-employed person who is insured in the country in which she lives (point 3.3 or 3.4 on the A1 certificate), or
- the musician is a posted employee (point 3.1 on the A1 certificate) whose sending employer is listed in point 4 on the certificate.
Insuring foreign workers
Question: Our company hires construction site cleaners from Estonia for temporary work. The work lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Do we need to insure them in Finland?
Answer: If your Estonian workers do not have an A1 certificate issued in Estonia for the period in question, you must insure them in Finland (earnings-related pension insurance, accident insurance and unemployment and group life insurance).
Whether you have to pay the Estonian cleaners’ social security contributions and they the health insurance contributions depends on whether the Health Insurance Act is applied to the cleaners in question. In general, work in Finland must last for at least four months in order for the Health Insurance Act to apply. Kela issues the decision in this matter. For more information on these contributions, contact the Tax Administration.
Employee posted to a non-agreement country (for example, Russia)
Question: We have employed a person in Finland for six months. Now we are about to post him to Russia. Should we to continue to take out pension insurance for him in Finland?
Answer: As a Finnish employer posting your employee to Russia, a country with whom Finland does not have a social security agreement, you must insure your employee under Finnish earnings-related pension law. Your employee must be insured for the entire period of posting, regardless of how long or short it is.
While your employee is posted abroad, your and your employee’s share of the insurance contribution is determined based on a so-called salary for insurance purposes. It should correspond to the amount that would be paid for similar work in Finland or which would otherwise be considered to correspond to the work your employee does. When you agree on the posting with your employee, you must determine your employee’s salary for insurance purposes together with your employee. You will then report the salary to your pension provider.
Since Finland has no social security agreement with Russia, Russia can also charge insurance contributions.
When the work is done in a country that lacks a social security agreement with Finland, we cannot issue an A1 certificate of coverage by Finnish social security. However, your employee should apply to Kela to be covered by Finnish residence-based social security.