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Ajankohtaista 13.9.2019

Brexit tips: advice for UK citizens living in Finland

Finland and the EU are aiming to ratify an agreement in Brexit negotiations that would ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the negotiated agreement does not enter into force, the withdrawal will be without an agreement. A no-deal Brexit is possible and it is good to prepare for it in advance. This would mean that the EU Treaties and EU legislation will cease to apply to the United Kingdom.

A no-deal Brexit would bring changes to both Finns living in the United Kingdom and UK citizens living in Finland. In this article, we give examples of the effect of a no-deal Brexit and explain how UK citizens living in Finland should prepare for it.

UK citizens permanently residing in Finland will need to exchange their UK issued driver’s licence for a Finnish one.

“We have been living with my British husband in Finland for a couple of years. We don’t need to do anything special because of Brexit, or do we?”

“All UK citizens living in Finland should ensure a few things before the United Kingdom’s possible withdrawal date from the EU,” says Jarmo Tiukkanen, Chief Specialist from the Ministry of the Interior. The three most important things to remember are:

  • UK citizens living in Finland should ensure that they have registered their right of residence as EU citizens with the Finnish Immigration Service before the withdrawal date. On the basis of this registration, UK citizens living in Finland may continue to stay, live, work and study, and to receive social security benefits after a no-deal Brexit, until the end of 2020. More information can be found on the Finnish Immigration Service’s website.
  • In addition to registration, UK citizens should contact their nearest Local Register Office to ensure that their municipality of residence is entered in the Population Information System. If you have a municipality of residence in Finland, you have the right to access the municipal health and social services.
  • For tourists temporarily staying in Finland, a driving licence issued in the UK is accepted for driving in Finland. UK citizens permanently residing in Finland, on the other hand, will need to get a Finnish driving licence. The exchange of a private car or motorcycle driving licence must take place within two years of the start of permanent residence in Finland, but always before the expiry of the driving licence. If the driving licence to be exchanged has expired or the person has been permanently resident in Finland for more than two years, a driving examination (theory and driving test) must also be completed. A driving examination is always required for those exchanging lorry or bus driving licences. More information about this is available from the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom.

The student financial aid paid under EU law to UK citizens studying in Finland will cease.

“I’m a UK citizen living in Finland and I am studying at a Finnish university. I have registered my right of residence and have also exchanged my driving licence. So this Brexit doesn’t really concern me anymore, does it?”

“There are also matters related to studies that UK citizens living in Finland should be aware of. Being prepared is also worthwhile here,” says Henrik Ruso, Coordinator for EU Affairs from the Ministry of Education and Culture.

  • If a no-deal Brexit takes place, the freedom of movement of UK citizens within the EU area will end.
  • The student financial aid paid under EU law to UK citizens studying in Finland will cease.
  • In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK citizens studying in Finland will have to pay tuition fees for education that is provided in a foreign language and leads to a higher education degree.
  • More information is available on the website of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

“I’m a UK citizen living in Finland and while studying, I also work part-time as a coder in a gaming company. What is the connection between my job and Brexit?”

  • An employer can verify a UK citizen’s right to work in Finland by asking the employee to provide proof of the registration of his or her right of residence, if the person is a UK citizen who was residing in Finland before the withdrawal date. More information is available from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

More information about preparing for withdrawal without an agreement: