FAQs on Working Abroad
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.
Question: I’m planning to go to Spain for six months and do remote work there as my employer no longer requires that I work at the office in Finland. My family will come with me. What should I do, are there any forms I need to fill out?
Answer: Before you go abroad to do remote work, you have to agree with your employer of doing you work remotely from abroad. Even if you can do it in practice, you have to agree with your employer of working remotely from abroad. If you work abroad, your employer must apply to the Finnish Centre for Pensions for an A1 certificate for you. The A1 certificate shows that you are covered by Finnish social security while working remotely from Spain. That means that you earn pension in Finland and receive Kela benefits from Finland (your family must notify Kela separately of their moving abroad). If no A1 certificate is applied for, you are covered by Spanish social security while working abroad. That means that you and your employer must pay the social insurance contributions to Spain.
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. Statutory social insurance contributions are paid only to the country that issued the A1 certificate.
In Finland, the Finnish Centre for Pensions issues A1 certificates, providing you meet all the conditions. You can apply for the certificate via our eServices.
Question: I am posting workers to a construction site in Sweden and urgently need A1 certificates for them so they can get their ID06 cards in Sweden. What is an ID06 card and how can we get the required A1 certificates as quickly as possible?
Answer: Workers on construction sites in Sweden are required to have a mandatory ID06 card that functions as an electronic identity card and an attendance certificate. To get the card, the worker must either have statutory insurance in Sweden or an A1 certificate issued by the Finnish Centre for Pensions. You can print out a certificate of a pending A1 application from our Customer Services for your application for an ID06 card. The applications for A1 certificates are handled in order of arrival, so please apply for the A1 certificate in time. The requirement of an ID06 card on a construction site does not, on its own, expedite the application for an A1 certificate.
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.
Question: I have agreed with my Finnish employer that I will do remote work from France for 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: If you do remote work abroad for a Finnish employer, your employer must apply for an A1 certificate for you so that you are covered by Finnish social security laws. If no certificate is applied for, or the certificate cannot be granted (if you do not meet the criteria for the certicate) , you and your employer must pay the statutory social security fees to France under local laws and you will be covered by French social security.
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 of residence (Finland), the social security laws of the country in which your foreign employer is registered (Sweden) are applied to you. This means that your social security must be arrange under Swedish law. 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. Hand in your application to the Finnish Centre for Pensions, the competent authority in the country in which you reside, although in your case, Sweden will issue the certificate.
Question: We are a Finnish transport company. We have employed lorry drivers who reside 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 (at least 25%) 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 reside and they do not have other employers, their social security contributions should be paid to the country in which their employer’s company is registered, that is, in your case to Finland. This means that you must pay the social security contributions for your employees to Finland.
If your drivers work in several countries, they need an A1 certificate. As a rule, you as the employer must apply for the certificate from the country in which your drivers reside, but you can also send the application to the Finnish Centre for Pensions. We will forward it to the authorities of the country in which your employees reside.
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. Will I also continue to be covered by Finnish social security?
Answer: The main rule within the EU/EEA area is that an employee is covered by the social security laws of the country in which they work, regardless of where they reside or to which country they pay taxes. That is why your social security will be defined by German law while you work there.
You don’t have to inform the Finnish Centre for Pensions of the transfer of your social security to Germany. But you must notify Kela.
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Question: I’ve worked only in Finland for several years already. Before coming to Finland, I worked as an engineer in Greece. The Greek authorities demand that I pay occupational-specific fees to Greece and state that I can be exempted from paying the fees only if I submit an A1 certificate to them to prove that I am insured in Finland. Can I have an A1 certificate even though I work in Finland only?
Answer: The Finnish Centre for Pensions can issue an A1 certificate also to a person who works only in Finland if the A1 certificate is needed to attest to the authorities in the country where you used to work that you are now covered by Finnish social security laws.
As a rule, however, the A1 certificate is not needed if you work only in Finland and are not a posted worker from another country.
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 private employer. Are my social security contributions to 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 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 only.
To show that you are covered by Finnish social security laws, you must apply for an A1 certificate from the Finnish Centre for Pensions.
Question: I have been posted to Germany. I have received an A1 certificate already for four years. I was supposed to return to Finland, but the project continues here and my employer would like me to continue working in Germany for another year and three months. Can I be covered by Finnish social security throughout my period of posting?
Answer: As a rule and 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 consider requesting 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 can issue an A1 certificate for you until the end of your period of posting.
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 or do I have to apply for some 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. in Finland, we require that you 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 must apply for an A1 certificate from the Finnish Centre for Pensions to prove that.
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 get 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.
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 directly 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) usually 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 for the exemption well ahead in time via our eServices.
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 paid by Kela, such as the child benefit or the child day care subsidy. For more information on the social security benefits of cross-border workers, contact Kela.
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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 also do a few other gigs in Italy, France and the Netherlands.
Answer: Apply for the A1 certificate from the Finnish Centre for Pensions for your gigs abroad. The A1 certificate is granted for a year or two when you know that you will be working in several EU countries. List all gigs abroad that you know of on the application.
If you do most of your work in Finland in addition to some work in at least two other countries, you will be covered by Finnish social security laws since you live here.
With the A1 certificate you can show that you are covered by Finnish social security. Base on the A1 certificate, your foreign employers, such as the organiser of the Italian festival, must pay statutor social security contributions to the country in which you live, that is, to Finland.
If you work as a self-employed person, you must have valid insurance under the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act.
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: Yes. If 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 the country in which the person lives (in this case, Ireland).
You have to pay social security contributions to the country that issues the A1 certificate (Ireland) if:
- the performer usually 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.
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 need to pay the statutory social security contributions to Finland, regardless of for how long the work lasts.
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Question: We have employed a person in Finland for six months. Now we are about to post him to Brazil. Should we to continue to take out pension insurance for him in Finland?
Answer: As a Finnish employer posting your employee to Brazil, 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 Brazil, Brazil may 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 contact Kela.
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