Moving to Finland from the US

There are so many reasons to move to Finland: its scenic landscapes, it’s laid-back work ethic, and on top of all that, it’s even been ranked as the happiest place to live in the world.

Whether you’re moving to Finland alone or with your family, you can rest assured there's something for everyone. In this article, we’ll cover all the need-to-know points before you start packing your bags – from healthcare to living costs.

We can also offer you free quotes for shipping your possessions. If you fill in this form, you can see how much moving your life to Finland would cost.

aerial view of Helsinki

A view of Finland's captial, Helsinki, glowing at sunset

Cost of shipping to Finland from the US

We’ve calculated the average international shipping rates for some of our most sought-after journeys from major US cities to popular destinations in Finland. 

The rates are sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the port-to-port transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture worth £40,000 – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance). The durations are sourced from Searates.com.

This information was last updated in July 2020.

Bear in mind these are estimates only. If you’d like a more accurate idea of how much shipping to Finland will cost you, just pop your details into this form, and our suppliers will get back to you.

RouteCostDuration
New York to Helsinki$897.41 - $991.8812 days, 21 hours
Los Angeles to Helsinki$2,097.74 - $2,318.5528 days, 14 hours
Houston to Helsinki$1,513.17 - $1,672.4519 days, 16 hours
New York to Tornio$1,085.28 - $1,199.5313 days, 20 hours
Los Angeles to Tornio$2,537.10 - $2,804.1729 days, 13 hours
Houston to Tornio$1,830.06 - $2,022.6920 days, 2 hours

Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.

Select the size of your move to get free quotes

Cost of flying goods to Finland from the US

These rates are also sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the airport-to-airport transportation of much lighter goods – 250kg of household goods, to be precise, worth £40,000, from a major origin city to three major cities in Finland.

Remember: air freight has its advantages when it comes to speed, but container shipping is 12-16 times cheaper than air freight, according to The World Bank – and in this specific case, shipping could save you more than £1,200.

RouteCostDuration
New York to Helsinki$2,311.24 - $2,554.5310 hours
Los Angeles to Helsinki$2,311.24 - $2,554.5312 hours
Houston to Helsinki$2,311.24 - $2,554.5311 hours
New York to Tornio$2,311.24 - $2,554.531 day, 6 hours
Los Angeles to Tornio$2,311.24 - $2,554.531 day, 7 hours
Houston to Tornio$2,311.24 - $2,554.531 day, 7 hours

Healthcare in Finland

Healthcare in Finland is fairly simple – there’s a publicly funded sector, along with a much smaller private sector. 

Public healthcare is available to all permanent residents in Finland, regardless of their financial situation. All EU/EEA nationals who are on a temporary stay in Finland are also entitled to state-provided medical treatment, as long as they provide their European health insurance card.

Although public healthcare in Finland isn’t free, charges tend to be very reasonable. The maximum out-of-pocket fee for treatment in primary health care, such as seeing a doctor at a health centre, is €20.60.

Private healthcare is also available for those who prefer it, but you might want to make sure you’re covered before using this service, as it can be quite pricey. 

That’s why we’ve partnered with Cigna for private medical insurance in Finland. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for more flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

Start building a customised plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.

northern light in finland

Finland's aroura skies - also known as the Northern Lights - will leave you speechless

Cost of living in Finland

According to a study by Eurostat, Finland is ranked as the eighth most expensive country in Europe. The study focuses primarily on the prices of food, beverages, and tobacco in 38 European countries.

And if you’re partial to a beer (or two), we’ve got some bad news for you – Finland has the highest price for alcoholic beverages in the EU, at 177 % of the EU average.

Good / serviceAverage cost
1 kg of rice€1–3
1 l of milk€1
1 kg of cheese€7.80
1 kg of potatoes€0.90
1 kg of beef joint€16
1 toothbrush€2
1 swimming hall ticket€6
1 movie ticket€12
Internet connection€15–20 per month
1 litre of petrol€1.50

Data from infofinland.com

Transferring money to Finland from the US

Speaking of living costs, if you’re thinking of moving to Finland, you’ll probably need to convert some of your savings into Euros. 

However, it’s best to avoid using high street banks for this process, as you’ll usually have to pay high fees, and you won’t get the best exchange rate. 

That’s why we’ve done our research and compared all the major money transfer services on the market, so you can choose the right one. Check out our expert ratings and find the best money transfer provider today.

Working in Finland

Finland is praised for its working conditions in various polls and studies. If you already have a job waiting for you over there, you can look forward to excellent work-life balance, close attention to equality in the workplace, and strong investment in employees’ skills and knowledge. 

But before you get settled in, you’ll need to sort out the following documents.

 

Getting a work visa for Finland

To work in Finland, you’ll need a residence permit that entitles you to work  – and the type of permit will depend on what kind of work you will be doing. Although there are a fair few options to go with, we’ve listed the most common permits below:

  • Residence permit for an employed person - This permit is not necessary for all jobs but is usually necessary for cooks, cleaners, and childminders. You can check on what kind of residence permit you need on the Finnish Immigration Service website.

 

  • Job-specific residence permits - For some jobs, you will not need a residence permit, but will need a permit for a specific job. Typically, this will apply to jobs such as specialist posts, researcher posts, and work in the field of science, culture, or the arts.

 

  • Seasonal worker’s residence permit - If you’re moving to Finland for seasonal work, you’ll need a seasonal work permit, which can last up to nine months

 

If you need more information on work visas in Finland, click here.

 

Average salary in Finland

According to Statistics Finland, the average salary for residents in Finland is 3,259 ($3,832) per month  – mounting up to 39,108 ($45,989) per year. To compare, the average wage for workers in the US in the first quarter of 2020 was $49,764 per year.

You should also bear in mind that there are other differences between the US and Finnish salaries  – the biggest one being that there is no universal minimum wage in Finland.

Income tax in Finland

If you’re living in Finland for at least six consecutive months, you’ll have to pay tax on your income.

The rates below mean the average annual salary – which is currently 39,108 per year – will come under the 17.25% tax bracket.

Taxable earned income
(€)
Taxable earned income
($)
Tax on income above the lowest tax bracket
(%)
17,200 — 25,70020,226 - 30,2216
25,700 — 42,40030,221 - 49,86017.25
2,400 — 74,20049,860 - 87,25521.25
Over 74, 20087,25531.25

Job-hunting in Finland

Finland’s economy is ranked 11th among 45 countries in Europe – with its overall score soaring above the regional and world averages.

Similar to a lot of other countries, the coronavirus pandemic has caused a slight spike in unemployment rates – but Finnish job prospects are looking much more chipper than the US’s, for the time being. 

Plus, there are plenty of websites out there to help you get a job in Finland, including Monster Finland, Jobs in Helsinki, Duunitori, and Indeed Finland

Climate in Finland

Famous for its snow-laden landscapes and shimmering aurora skies, Finland boasts one of the most enchanting climates in the world. 

From mid-November to late March, expect the temperature to remain almost constantly around or below freezing (0°C or 32°F). There will be long, cold winters ahead! 

A lot of people tend to overlook the beautiful summers that Finland has to offer, with temperatures hovering in the low-70s to 77°F. During the summer months, you’ll also get to witness The Midnight Sun. This natural phenomenon occurs in Finland when the tilt of the Earth's axis places regions above the Arctic Circle in almost constant daylight for up to 70 consecutive days.

 

Does it snow in Finland?

Yes, get ready to pack your snow boots! The snow season in northern Finland begins in November and lasts until at least May. 

If you’re planning on moving to northern Finland, expect to wade through up to a meter or more of snow – whereas further down south, you might only see a few inches. 

The best places to live in Finland

Whether you’re looking for a bustling city or tame village, a family-friendly home or a place to build a career – Finland’s got it all.

 

Helsinki: best for work

The 2019 Work-Life Balance Index has listed Helsinki as the best city for work-life balance. The study compared 40 of the world’s most attractive cities, ranking them based on 20 different factors related to work intensity, society and institutions, and ‘liveability’.

This vibrant city is praised for its innovative atmosphere, laid back work-life balance, excellent gender equality, and eclectic nightlife. 

 

Tampere: best for students 

As the third-largest city in Finland, Tampere is a great city for students looking for fun somewhere outside Helsinki. Here, every fifth resident is a student, meaning you’ll have plenty of people to mingle with and lots of student events to go to.

Plus, the cost of living is much lower than you’d expect to pay in the capital – and you can have just as much fun (whilst studying, of course)

 

Espoo: best for families

Despite being the second-largest city in Finland, Espoo has been ranked as the second safest place to live in the country. 

If you’re a working parent, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s an array of public transport running to and from Helsinki – the working hub of Finland. 

Plus, you can rest assured that your children will be getting top-tier education here. In fact, four upper secondary schools in Espoo made it to the top fifteen Finnish school rankings in 2019.

7 Quick Facts about Finland

  1. Finland is the happiest country in the world, according to a 2019 UN report
  2. Speeding fines in Finland are calculated on the violator’s total income – meaning millionaires can face fines of up to €100,000 when driving faster than the speed limit
  3. There are 187,888 lakes in Finland
  4. Finland has free education, even at the university level – which also applies to international students from EU/EES
  5. Finland was the first country in Europe to give women the right to vote
  6. The coldest temperature measured here was -51.5°C (-60.7°F)
  7. When it comes to eccentric past times, Finland is a gold trophy winner. Strange sporting events include the Wife Carrying World Championship, mosquito hunting, and the Air Guitar World Championship.

Next steps

Now that you’re up to date on all things Finnish, strap on your snow boots and prepare for months of wintry landscapes, and long summer days. 

You can take the next step by filling in this form for free shipping quotes from trusted specialists who can move your belongings to your new home.