Finland

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Friday, 06 December 2013.   It has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Finland.

Finland overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Finland.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • Australia has a Consulate in Helsinki headed by an Honorary Consul which provides limited consular assistance (not including visa and immigration services or the issue of passports). The Australian Embassy in Sweden provides full consular assistance to Australians in Finland.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

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

Finland is a party to the Schengen Convention, along with 25 other European countries, which allows Australians to enter Finland without a visa in some circumstances. See our travel bulletin on the Schengen Convention for further information.

People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) carrying 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency) will be required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

Civil unrest/Political tension

Civil disturbances or protests may occur in Finland. You should avoid all such demonstrations and public gatherings.

Crime

Finland has a low incidence of serious crime. Pickpocketing and purse snatching are common, particularly during the warmer months (May – September). Pickpocketing can occur at popular tourist attractions, museums, railway stations, restaurants, hotels and other public places.

In an emergency, call 112 for police, fire or ambulance services.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Check with your bank whether your ATM card will work in Finland.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

When driving, headlights must be on at all times. Roads can be dangerous in winter due to icy conditions and winter tyres are a legal requirement from 1 December to 28 February. The Finnish Road Administration's travel and traffic website provides detailed information on road conditions across Finland. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Finland, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

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

Drivers caught with a blood alcohol level reading above the legal limit of 0.05 are subject to immediate arrest.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australian overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Australian/Finnish 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.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information for dual nationals.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. 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 a traveller’s medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The standard of medical facilities in Finland is comparable with Australia, although emergency services are limited in remote areas. Main hospitals are located in the Helsinki area. English is widely spoken.

Australia and Finland are signatories to a reciprocal health care agreement which covers travellers who visit Finland for fewer than 90 days. The Agreement provides Australians with access to emergency medical services but does not provide for ongoing treatment of existing health conditions. The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement does not replace the need for private travel health insurance. See Medicare Australia's website for more information.

Travel in rural 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).

Where to get help

Australia has a Consulate in Finland headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides only limited consular assistance (not including visa and immigration services or the issue of passports). Contact details for the Consulate are:

Australian Consulate, Helsinki

Ms Anja Aalto
Honorary Consul
C/- Tradimex Oy
Museokatu 25 B
00100 Helsinki
FINLAND
Tel: +358 10 420 4492
Fax: +358 9 492 225
Email: Australian.consulate@tradimex.fi

You can obtain full consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Sweden:

Australian Embassy, Stockholm

Klarabergsviadukten 63, 8th Floor
111 64 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Telephone: +46 8 613 2900
Facsimile: +46 8 613 2982
Email: reception@austemb.se
Web: www.sweden.embassy.gov.au

If you are travelling to Finland, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

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

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional Information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Finland experiences extremely cold winters and heavy snowfall. This may cause delays to public transport. Storms, floods and rockslides may occur.

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.