Road Conditions and Safety: Finland has an extensive network of highways and excellent public transportation services throughout the country. Driving in Finland is on the right side.
- A valid U.S. driver?s license may be used while visiting Finland, but drivers must be at least 18 years of age.
- Traffic approaching from the right has priority, even if entering a primary roadway from a secondary one. Stop signs are rarely used in Finland.
- It is common practice in Finland, including in large cities, to turn off traffic lights at certain intersections in the early morning hours.
- Road signs use standard international symbols and Finnish text.
- Many urban streets have traffic lanes reserved for public transportation only.
Winter driving in Finland can be hazardous. Daylight hours are very short and drivers should be comfortable driving in darkness.
- Icy road conditions are common.
- Your vehicle must have snow tires from December through February. Engine heaters are strongly recommended.
- When driving at night, drivers must be alert to moose wandering onto major roadways. Striking a moose can severely damage a vehicle and even fatally injure its occupants.
- If you are in a car accident, you must have your insurance paperwork with you.
Traffic Laws: Unless otherwise noted on traffic signs, the speed limit varies from 30 to 40 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on open roads, and 120 km/h on expressways during summer (100 km/h in winter).
- Vehicles must use headlights at all times.
- Use of seatbelts is mandatory for drivers and all passengers.
- Children under 135 cm (approximately 53 inches) in height must be seated in approved child or booster seats or use appropriate safety equipment as stated on the Finnish Police website .
- Drunk driving laws are strict.
o Police strictly enforce all traffic laws and institute random roadside breath-analyzer tests. Drivers who register a 0.05% or higher blood-alcohol content are subject to immediate arrest. For more information, please review the Finnish Police website.
Public Transportation: Public transportation in Finland is of good quality and is the recommended method of travel.
- Passenger trains, intercity buses, and air flights provide regular service over longer distances.
- Public transportation in urban centers includes buses, subways, trams, suburban trains, and taxis.
- Taxis are more expensive than in major U.S. cities. Rates vary widely depending on the company providing the transportation service.
- Most local residents use public transport in Helsinki as parking is expensive and can be hard to find.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Finland?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Finland?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Finland should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.
Medical facilities and staff are generally excellent and widely available for emergency services. English is commonly spoken by Finnish medical personnel. The public hospital system and many private hospitals accept foreign credit cards.
- Local medical centers, clinics, or first-aid stations are located at hospitals and will provide a full range of services to tourist and temporary visitors.
- For emergency services in Finland, dial 112.
Ambulance services are widely available.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription. Check with the government of Finland to ensure the medication is legal in Finland.
- You may bring a 90-day supply of most personal prescription drugs with a formal doctor?s note.
- Prescribed narcotics may only be brought into Finland for your personal use for a maximum of 14 days and must be accompanied by a medical certificate stating why you need them.
- Finnish customs regulations prohibit you from receiving medication shipments from abroad. Local physicians may be reluctant to prescribe equivalent quantities or dosages. For more detailed information, please visit the Finnish National Tourist Board website or contact the Embassy of Finland.
Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information, go to:
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Finland.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Laws mandating access to buildings for persons with disabilities are generally enforced, but many older buildings remain inaccessible. Some public transportation systems are less adapted to individuals with disabilities. You should check ahead with your hotel/destination to learn more about options to accommodate disabled traveler needs before visiting Finland.
- Most forms of public transportation are accessible, but geographically-isolated areas can be especially problematic for travelers with disabilities.
- Call ahead to restaurants, museums, and other facilities to find out if they are wheel-chair accessible.
- Assistance for train travelers is available at most stations but must be requested in advance. For more information, visit the Finnish National Tourist Board?s website.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack ? including knives, firearms, and vehicles ? to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:
- High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
- Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
- Places of worship
- Shopping malls and markets
- Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)
European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
Crime: Finland has a low rate of crime and violent crime is uncommon. Keep an inconspicuous profile and remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
- The most common criminal threat is petty street crime such as pickpocketing. Avoid leaving personal possessions unattended while in public. The most serious criminal threat is a lone-wolf terrorist attack. Finland had one such attack in 2017, resulting in two fatalities and eight injuries.
- Motorcycle gangs and Russian organized crime have a limited presence in Finland, but expatriates are unlikely to encounter them. Remain vigilant with regard to your personal security and exercise caution.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police by dialing 112, and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (358) 9-616-250. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
For information on shelters in Finland please see Shelters For Victims of Domestic Violence page published by the National Institute for Health and Welfare.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- Help you find appropriate medical care
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Provide general information regarding the victim?s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
- Provide a list of local attorneys
- Provide our information on victim?s compensation programs in the United States
- Provide information on victim?s compensation programs in Finland
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Visit the Embassy of Embassy of Finland website for the most current visa information.
- Students and prospective students must apply for a residence permit if you plan to study at a Finnish educational institution for more than 90 days. More detailed information is available on the Finnish Immigration Service website.
Traveling Through Europe: If you are planning to visit or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement.
- Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay if you plan on transiting a Schengen country review our U.S. Travelers in Europe page.
- You will need sufficient proof of funds and a return plane ticket.
- For additional information about visas for the Schengen area, see the Schengen Visa page.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Finland.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Finland for information on U.S.-Finland relations.