Cars and Driving in Finland

Bringing your car to Finland
Driving licence
Motor insurance
Annual inspection
Winter tyres
Child car seats
Parking
Renting a car
Road signs and driving tips

Bringing your Car to Finland

Buying and operating a car in Finland is fairly expensive.  The average price of a litre of petrol is about 1.45€ (Super 95). In addition to motor insurance policy and car tax, cars must be registered and annually inspected at the inspection stations. You are also required to purchase two sets of tyres: for winter and summer.

For more information on bringing a car to Finland as removal goods, see www.uef.fi/en/web/internationalstaff/transport-of-personal-possessions

Driving Licence

Driving licences from the EU/EEA member countries
If you have a driving licence issued by an EU country, it is valid as long as the license remains valid. If you take up permanent residence in Finland, you must exchange your driving licence for a Finnish licence before the validity of the foreign licence expires.

 

Driving licences issued by the signatory states of the Geneva or Vienna Road Traffic Convention
In addition, driving licences issued in a country that has signed the Geneva or Vienna Road Traffic Convention are valid for two years from the start of your permanent residence in Finland. If you hold such a licence, reside in Finland permanently, fulfil the health requirements and have been driving a car in Finland for six months,  you can obtain a Finnish driving license without having to take a new driver examination. Application for exchanging Geneva/Vienna convention driving licence must be applied for within two years of the date on which you have become a permanently resident in Finland. If your driving licence expires before the two year period, a new licence must be applied before the expiry date. Please note that in some cases you might be regarded as a permanent resident from the date that you have arrived in Finland. Therefore, it is advisable to apply for a new licence before the two year period ends.

NB! Driving licence acquired in a signatory state by a temporary resident (for example as an exchange student), does not entitle you to drive in Finland

 

Driving licences issued by other countries
Driving licences issued in any other country do not give entitlement to drive in Finland and a driver examination in Finland is required.

Further information:

Motor Insurance

Motor liability insurance is a statutory insurance and it is mandatory for all motor vehicles used in traffic. Motor liability insurance covers bodily injuries and property damage caused to the innocent party.

For vehicles from the members states of the European Economic Area, number plates are considered a sufficient proof of motor insurance. Vehicles from any other countries must have an international green card (certificate of motor insurance) or frontier insurance. 

Further information:

Annual Inspection (katsastus)

Vehicles must be inspected at regular intervals. Inspections are statutory and made by inspection stations (katsastusasema). The purpose of the inspections is to ensure that the vehicle is safe for use in traffic and to control the vehicle's environmental impact (exhaust emission measurements).  Payment of vehicle tax and other fees are also monitored in the annual inspections. 

You may consult the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) online service free of charge to find the next deadline for a periodic inspection for your vehicle.

 

Further information

Winter tyres

Winter tyres (studded or friction tyres) are compulsory in Finland as of 1 December. Studded tyres may be used on Finnish roads from 1 November. This rule also applies to cars and vans registered abroad when they are driven in Finland.

Before fitting tyres, it should be ensured that they are in good condition and compatible with the vehicle and that the tyre pressure is correct. The groove depth of winter tyres must be at least 3.0 millimetres measured in the principle grooves of the tyre pattern.

Winter tyres are compulsory until the end of February and may be used until 20 April.

See also www.liikenneturva.fi/en/road-safety/car-tyres

Child car seats

According to the Law on road traffic it is compolsory to use infant seat or child car seats determined by the child's weight for children who are less than 135 cm. Children over 135 cm tall can use the seat beats as the adults do. Children under 3 may not be transported at all, if there is no appropriate safety device available in the car.  The safest place for the child in the car is the backseat.

It is recommended that the child should face the rear until he/she is 3 years old because the child's head and neck are best protected in car crash situationswhen seated rear-facing.

Further information:

Parking

Most cities have metered parking areas. However, sometimes parking is free, but the parking time limited. In this case you need a parking disc, which can be obtained from petrol stations, kiosks and most shops. The time of arrival must be set first and then the parking disc must be displayed on the dashboard. The time of arrival is the following hour or half-hour depending on which one is earlier.

Parking on the university campuses usually requires a parking permit. Please see the UEF Intranet for further information on how to get a parking permit and see the parking area maps.

Renting a Car

In order to rent a car you need a valid driving licence and preferably at least one year of driving experience. Rental companies require the driver to be at least 20 years of age for passenger cars, but the age regulation may vary by car category. Drivers under the age of 25 may incur a young driver surcharge. Please also note that some car rental companies may require a credit card. Be prepared to show proof of your identity when renting a car, so take your driving licence and your passport with you.

See car rental offer for the university staff in the UEF intranet.  

Some car rental companies:

Avis
Budget
Europcar
Hertz
Scandia Rent

Road Signs and Driving Tips

Driving in Finland (lvm.fi)
Road signs in Finland (liikennevirasto.fi)
Driving tips-  A quick guide to driving in Finland (expat-finland.com)