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Finland

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour as you would in Australia. Monitor the news and other sources for changes to local conditions.
  • Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Europe. The Finnish government assesses the domestic terrorism threat level to be 'elevated', level two of four. Report any suspicious activity to police and follow the advice of local authorities. See Safety and security.
  • Carry your passport and/or Finnish residency permit when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area. See Entry and exit.
  • Australia has a Consulate in Helsinki headed by an Honorary Consul. It provides limited consular assistance. The Australian Embassy in Sweden provides full consular assistance to Australians in Finland.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Visas

​Finland is part of the Schengen Area, along with a number of other European countries. This allows you to enter Finland without a visa in some circumstances.

Monitor border conditions by checking local news sources and asking transport providers directly.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Finland for the most up-to-date information.

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

Ensure you get an entry stamp in your passport from border control staff when you first enter the Schengen area.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Always carry your passport and/or Finnish residency permit when in Finland, as you may be asked to verify your identity. Carry a valid passport when entering or leaving Finland, even if you’re travelling from another Schengen country.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

​Money

The currency of Finland is the Euro (€).

Declare cash of €10,000 euros or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you are travelling between Finland and any non-European Union (EU) country. This includes notes and coins, money orders, cheques and traveller's cheques. If you fail to declare your cash or you give incorrect information on entry to, or exit from, Finland, you will be fined. You do not need to declare cash if you are travelling to or from another EU country. 

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Europe. Recent attacks in European cities have targeted airports, public transport, places of worship, sporting venues, and public places frequented by foreigners.

The Finnish Security Intelligence Service assesses Finland's terrorist threat level to be 'elevated' (level two on a four-point scale).

In August 2017, a fatal stabbing attack occurred in central Turku. Finnish authorities consider the incident as terror related.

  • ​​Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
  • Exercise particular caution around locations that could be terrorist targets.
  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
  • Monitor the news for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.

More information: Terrorism threat worldwide

Civil unrest and political tension

You might encounter protests or demonstrations in Finland.

  • ​​​Monitor the news and other sources for information about possible demonstrations.
  • Avoid crowds, protests and demonstrations as they may escalate into violence.
  • Follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime

Finland has a low incidence of serious crime. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, is common. Credit card theft and skimming has occurred.

  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings and don't leave them unattended, particularly at popular tourist attractions.
  • Carry only what you need for the day. Leave other valuables, including your passport, in a secure location.
  • Check for card skimming devices before using ATMs.
  • Monitor local sources of information on crime.

Local travel

Road travel

Finland's roads are generally in very good condition but can be dangerous in winter due to icy conditions. Long, dark nights during winter can reduce visibility on the roads.The Finnish Road Administration provides detailed information on road conditions.

Finland has some road rules Australian drivers may not be familiar with:

  • ​​​​vehicle headlights must be on at all times, including during daylight hours
  • winter tyres must be fitted from 1 December (or the first onset of snow, whichever is earlier) until 31 March, or beyond if roads are still icy.

The blood alcohol limit is 0.05. If you’re caught driving over the limit, you can be arrested immediately.

More information:

Public Transport

Public transport, including buses and trains, is considered generally reliable and safe. Use officially marked taxis.

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Finland.

More information: Air travel

Laws

Local Laws

You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

More information: Arrested or in prison

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences, even for possession of small amounts, include heavy fines and imprisonment.

More information:   

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • ​​​bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Finland recognises dual nationality.

Dual nationals who are registered residents of Finland may be required to complete national service obligations. For further information, visit the Finnish Defence Forces website.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • ​​what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy, including any adventure or extreme sport activities
  • you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • ​​At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor. Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to.

You can bring into Finland up to a three-month supply of medicine for personal use. This includes prescription medicines, self-cure medicines and homeopathic products. Take enough prescription medicines to cover your entire stay in Finland (up to three months) so you remain in good health. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only. If you plan to stay in Finland beyond three months, identify early in your stay a doctor and pharmacy that can re-supply your prescription medicines when needed.

Before you leave Australia check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and what you need to do to take that medication into the country.

Prescribed narcotics are more highly restricted. Visit the Finnish Customs Authority for more information.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Travel in forest areas and to the Aland Islands brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn (March to November).

Protet yourself against tick-borne illnesses by:

  • avoiding insect bites, always use insect repellent and wear long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • checking your body for ticks during and after visiting forested areas
  • removing any ticks from your body as soon as possible, being careful to remove the whole tick
  • monitoring the tick site afterwards for any signs of infection.

Medical facilities

The standard of medical facilities in Finland is comparable with Australia. Emergency services are limited in remote areas. The main hospitals are located in the Helsinki, Tampere and Turku area. English is widely spoken.

A Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) between Australia and Finland allows Australians who visit Finland for fewer than 90 days to access emergency medical services for free. It does not provide the same breadth of cover as Medicare in Australia. It doesn’t cover ongoing treatment of pre-existing health conditions, medical evacuation, prescription medicines or elective surgery.

To access emergency treatment, you’ll need to present an Australian passport and a valid Medicare card. You may also need to mention the RHCA. If you can’t provide your passport and Medicare card, you may need to pay the fees applicable to non-residents.

This arrangement does not replace the need for private travel health insurance.

More information:

Natural disasters

Finland experiences extremely cold winters and heavy snowfall, including in major metropolitan areas. This may cause extended transport delays and a temporary shutdown of infrastructure.

You could also encounter severe storms, rockslides, floods and strong winds.

If there is a natural disaster, use common sense, monitor the media, and follow the advice of local authorities.

More information: Severe weather.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer, or airline. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 112
  • Medical emergencies: 112
  • Police: 112 - always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas. 

Australia has a Consulate in Finland headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular assistance. It doesn't provide visa and immigration services, nor does it issue passports. You can get full consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.

Australian Consulate, Helsinki

Ms Anja Aalto
Honorary Consul
Museokatu 25 B 23
00100 Helsinki
FINLAND
Tel: +358 10 420 4492
Email:  australian.consulate@tradimex.fi

Australian Embassy, Stockholm

Klarabergsviadukten 63, 8th Floor
111 64 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Telephone: +46 8 613 2900
Facsimile: +46 8 613 2982
Email: reception.stockholm@dfat.gov.au
Web: sweden.embassy.gov.au
Facebook: Sweden Embassy Face​book

Check the Embassy website or Facebook page for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision. 

If you are unable to contact the Consulate or Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia. 

Additional information

Additional resources