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Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?

A very effective public transport system is available in the capital city region. In Helsinki, you can choose from buses, trams, the metro and trains. Buses and trains are available in Espoo and Vantaa. Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen, Vantaa, Kerava, Kirkkonummi and Sipoo have an integrated public transport ticket system. HSL’s tickets are valid on buses, trams, the Metro, commuter trains and Suomenlinna ferry. You can also transfer from one vehicle to another with the same ticket. The price of a ticket depends on whether you travel within one municipality or between municipalities. Children’s tickets are for children aged 7 – 16 years. Children under 7 years of age may travel free of charge. Pensioners receiving national pension, full-time students and disabled persons are entitled to reduced rate tickets.

A separate electronic travel card (matkakortti) is available for use on all public transport, for which one can buy credit or a season. Additional credit or time can be purchased from kiosks and vending machines at many train and bus stations.

Loading a season ticket is recommended to all regular users of public transport; for example, commuters and students. You are free to choose the length of the ticket from 14 to 366 days. The longer uninterrupted period you load in one go, the more economical is the traveling.

The price of a season ticket consists of the 14-day basic fare and the price of extra days for the 15 - 352 days following. You can calculate prices for periods of varied duration with the price calculator.

The amount of value loaded into the card can be between 5 and 400 euros. Loading value is a good option if you do not use public transport daily. Value tickets bought with a Travel Card are cheaper than single tickets bought from the driver or conductor.

You can load both a season ticket and value into the same card. Helsinki has a good pedestrian and bicycle road network. Bike lanes are available in the city center as well.


How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?

Driver’s licenses issued in another EU or EEA country and interim driver’s licenses issued in the Nordic countries entitle the holder to drive motor vehicles in Finland equivalent to those indicated on the non-Finnish license. The driver must be at least 18 years old. The right to drive is valid regardless of whether the person is in Finland as a tourist or residing permanently.

A person residing permanently in a country that has signed the Geneva or Vienna Road Traffic Convention and who holds a national or international driver’s license or an official Finnish or Swedish translation of a national driver’s license is entitled to drive motor vehicles equivalent to those indicated on the non-Finnish license, provided that the person fulfills the Finnish age requirement to drive such vehicles. The aforementioned driver’s license is valid in Finland for two years from the start of the holder's period of permanent residence in Finland, provided that the license is valid and no other reason exists for the termination of its validity.

The above also applies to driver’s licenses issued in Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan under the regulations of the area and international driver’s licenses.

The right to drive is based on the possession of a driver’s license issued to a person living permanently in a country that has signed the Convention. A driver’s license acquired in such a country during temporary residence (for example as an exchange student) does not entitle the holder to drive in Finland.

Exchanging a foreign driver’s license for a Finnish driver’s license:

A person who lives permanently in Finland or has been studying in Finland for at least six months may apply to exchange a driver’s license issued in another EU or EEA country, excluding temporary driver’s licenses, for an equivalent Finnish driver’s license without having to take a new driving test. A driver’s license permit application must be submitted to the police in person.

When applying for a driver’s license permit, the following must be submitted:

  • 2 photographs (preferably black-and-white)
  • confirmation that the applicant is not banned from driving in another EU or EEA country
  • a valid driver’s license (if the driver’s license has been lost, a written account of how it was lost is needed)

At the police station, the applicant must fill in a driver’s license application form and a form asking whether he or she already has a driver’s license or is banned from driving in another EU or EEA country. Fee for exchanging a foreign driver’s license (at time of writing 4/2012): EUR 53


What side of the road do people drive on?

Right-side traffic


Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.

Many expats generally live in Helsinki city center, so the most effective mode of public transport is the tram. Buses are also convenient for inner city commuting. For people living outside the city center, the train is a convenient option if a station is nearby. Otherwise, the metro or bus can be used.

Public transport service is available Monday – Sunday. Some bus and train routes also operate through the night, though a night surcharge applies.


Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.

Long-distance buses and trains are an easy way to move around Finland as distances can be rather long. Regular flights are also available to major cities in Finland and prices are competitive against other options.


In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?

Public transport is a very safe and reliable way of getting around. Buses, trains, etc., are also commonly very modern and clean. During weekends and night shifts, security personnel are regularly also present, especially on trains.


Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?

More information can be found on the Helsinki Region Transport website.

Tickets and Fairs:


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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Please contact your closest embassy or consulate for confirmation.


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