Are you a newcomer?
Moi! We are happy to welcome you to your new home!
If you’re new in town, you probably have a lot of questions. The City of Espoo has adopted a chat service that you can discuss issues in real time by writing instant messages. We have also collected useful information and links to help you settle in Finland faster.
Step-by-step guide for your first journey in Espoo
1. Register as a resident
2. Register for social security
In Finland, the social security system aims to safeguard a person’s economic security in all life situations. The services are provided by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, also known as Kela.
- Please check out Kela’s quick guide on social security in Finland. Note that when you move to Finland from another country, you may or may not have the right to receive benefits from Kela. Your entitlement to benefits depends on the time you intend to stay in Finland, the country you come from and your reason for staying in Finland.
3. Register at tax office
4. Open a bank account
- InfoFinland’s brief guide to everyday life in Finland is a useful source if you plan to open a bank account. To do so, you will need a passport or an identity card for foreign citizens, and an address in Finland or abroad.
- After you open a bank account, you will get online banking credentials from your bank. These are very commonly used in Finland as a means of identification when you use government and municipal services online.
5. Get your mobile and internet subscription
6. Start using public transport
Espoo has a very good and efficient public transport system. The metro, trains and buses connect different areas in Espoo and provide easy access to Helsinki, Vantaa and Kauniainen.
Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) provides timetables, routes, ticket information, a journey planner and the latest information about metro, train, bus and tram transport in the metropolitan area. We recommend that you install the HSL mobile application on your phone to quickly look up routes and buy tickets.
Journey Planner – an easy way to plan your trips around the capital region.
Tickets and fares – information on ticket and travel card types and prices.
City bikes are a fast, sustainable and convenient way to commute in Espoo and Helsinki. In Espoo, there are a total of 105 city bike stations, most located near the metro line.
VR is a government-owned railway company. Its website offers timetables and information about fares. You can also buy train tickets online to travel to other cities in Finland.
- It is good to know the maps of Espoo and the Helsinki metropolitan area
- If you drive a car, you must have a driving licence. If you already have a driving licence from your home country, you should check the validity of foreign driving licences in Finland on Ajokortti-info.fi, a website provided by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom. In addition, the traffic rules in Finland must be observed carefully. Why not also read about parking rules in Espoo .
- You can read more about traffic in Finland on the InfoFinland website.
7. Get familiar with health services
8. Apply for kindergartens, schools and courses
Before you apply for a day care place for your child or enrol them to school, you should get familiar with the Finnish education system.
- In Finland, pre-primary education starts in the school year when the child turns 6. It is compulsory and provided by day-care centres and schools.
- After pre-primary education, the child – now 7 years old – starts comprehensive education. It is free of charge and covers grades 1 to 9. Espoo offers education in English, Finnish and Swedish. Bilingual education is also possible. The City of Espoo offers weekly mother tongue lessons to pre-primary and comprehensive school pupils free of charge.
- The nine years of comprehensive education are followed by upper secondary education. There are two options: general and vocational education. In Espoo, there are two general upper secondary schools that offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, 10 Finnish-speaking general upper secondary schools, a Swedish-speaking general upper secondary school and one adult general upper secondary school.
9. Apply for Finnish courses
Finland is a bilingual country (Finnish and Swedish). Although the people in Finland have very good English skills, learning Finnish will enable you to form networks and settle faster.
10. Make a new friend
The events will help you to integrate into Finland, build networks and be part of a community.
- You can request a culture companion, a volunteer to attend culture events with you. The volunteers are coordinated by the Cultural Unit of the City of Espoo.
- The Kivenkolo community centresin Espoonlahti and in Matinkylä offer a wide range of activities as well as advice on daily issues.
- The libraries organiseevents for networking.
- Find out about associations in Finland at InfoFinland.fi. There are sports clubs, cultural associations, friendship associations and religious associations.
11. Get a library card
Espoo City Library was chosen as the best library in the world at the London Book Fair in 2019.
- Espoo has several libraries, some of which also offer self-service hours. Two mobile libraries, Helmi and Välkky, serve schools, day care centres and areas with no local library. Espoo City Library includes open and innovative spaces for everyone. Or would you like to join one of the libraries’ reading challenges that are available for all age groups?
- You can get a library card from any library in the Helsinki metropolitan area. You will need to give your address and show a valid photographic proof of identity with your personal identity code. You need to have an address in Finland to get a library card.
- Check what libraries offer at their website: Helmet.fi
12. Join cultural activities & outdoor recreation
Event and Cultural Services
The City of Espoo offers cultural activities for everyone. You can also explore cultural services at Espoo Cultural Centre, Exhibition Centre WeeGee, Sello Hall, Karatalo, Kannusali and Aurora.
- The Espoo City Museum was established in 1958. Today, the Espoo City Museum family includes the Espoo City Museum KAMU in the WeeGee Exhibition Centre, the Glims Farmstead Museum, the Villa Museum Villa Rulludd, the Lagstad School Museum and the Pentala Archipelago Museum.
- You can enjoy orchestras and choirs or theatres and dance in Espoo, not forgetting all the festivals.
Harrastushaku.fi provides information about clubs, courses and other activities in Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa.
13. Emergency situations
- If you face an emergency situation, you can contact the city’s emergency services.
- Dial the emergency number 112 in genuine emergencies where someone’s life, health, property or the environment is threatened or in danger.
- In the event of sudden illness or an accident, book an on-call appointment at www.espoo.fi/ehealth or come to a health centre without an appointment. If you need advice, call 09 816 34500. The medical helpline 116117 is open when the health centres are closed.
- The City of Espoo also provides urgent social care and crisis support around the clock, tel. 09 8164 2439
Omatila is a low-threshold service that supports Espoo residents who have experienced or fear violence in intimate relationships or suffer from domestic violence.
14. Useful links
- The Local Register Office is the place for you to register as a resident
Kela - the Social Insurance Institution of Finland is a Finnish government agency that handles the payment of benefits under national social security schemes.
- The Finnish Tax Administration will give you a tax card if you receive any income in Finland.
Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) is the go-to source for information related to public transport in the capital region
Espoo.fi provides information about life and services in Espoo
- TheService Points of the City of Espoo provide advice and guidance on various services. Visit them in person or contact them via chat.
- The city’s Immigrant Services may be useful to you as a new resident.
- Tripsteri App Espoo is a travel application that brings Espoo’s top attractions to your phone screen regardless of time and place – install it for free from at the App Store or Google Play
Visit Espoo – get a glimpse into Espoo
International House Helsinki provides a wide range of information and public authority services for international newcomers in the metropolitan area (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen).
Living in Espoo – information about life in Espoo in 12 languages.