Moving to South Karelia


Matters to see soon after the move.

This section provides information on matters that new residents of the South Karelia region should attend soon after the move.

New Resident's Guide to Lappeenranta
Magisterate​ (Local register office)

A home residence will be registered for a person if they are planning to stay in Finland permanently and if they have housing and a residence permit for at least one year. In South Karelia, home addresses are registered at the Magistrate of South-East Finland’s Lappeenranta unit, Pormestarinkatu 1A. The information to be registered includes name, date of birth, nationality, family information and address.

At the Magistrate, you must present your passport, residence permit, and original certificates and their official and legalized translations, if any, such as marriage certificate, divorce certificate, death certificate, and own and children’s birth certificates. You must also complete and personally sign the Registration of Foreigners form. 
Documents must be original and legalized. Official documents (identity documents, marriage certificates) must be translated into Finnish. Especially persons moving into the region from Russia must make sure to obtain Apostille certification for these certificates, as registration cannot be completed otherwise. Refugees and returnees from the former Soviet republics can request assistance for the registration from Eksote’s immigration services. After registration the person will receive a social security number.
A notification of change of address must also be submitted. Forms for this purpose ​​are available at the magistrate and at post offices. 

Social Security Number

In Finland, a social security number is needed for dealings with the authorities. It is needed in hospitals, banks, and various offices. Social security number is a means of proving one’s identity, as it is more unique than a name. No two persons with the same name can have the same social security number.
The social security number remains the same throughout one’s life. Therefore people can be identified everywhere where identification is needed despite changes in their name. A Finnish social security number consists of the person’s date of birth, an identification number, and a control character, which can be a number or a letter. Persons who move to the South Karelia Region must register at the South Karelia Register Office’s Lappeenranta unit to receive a social security number.
More information on social security numbers can be found here.

Kela Card

Once you have a social security number, you are eligible to apply for a social insurance (Kela) card.

​​​The Kela card provides evidence that the bearer is entitled to Finnish social security. In Finland, matters relating to social security are managed by Kela, the National Social Insurance Institution. 
Situations that entitle a person to request financial support from Kela include:
  • ​​Securing Income​
  • ​Looking after a child at home (child home care allowance) 
  • Having children under 17 years of age (child benefit for each child)
  • Being unemployed and registered as a jobseeker with the Employment and Economic Development Office (unemployment allowance) 
  • Having low income and being in need of financial support to pay the rent (housing benefit) 
More information on Kela’s services is available here. To be eligible for Finnish social security benefits, the person must complete the form Y77 (Application concerning Finnish residence-based social security and health insurance). The Kela card must always be presented at healthcare centres, hospitals, and pharmacies. The card is also important because it entitles the bearer to discounts on certain prescription medicines listed in the Sickness Insurance Act, and to partial reimbursement of private sector medical fees. 
In Lappeenranta, Kela has offices in the centre, in Sammonlahti, and in Joutseno. The addresses and opening hours of Kela’s other service points in South Karelia 
can be found here

Bank Account

In Finland, living without a bank account is difficult, as it is needed for the payment of salaries and benefits/allowances. Bills are also normally paid from a bank account and when an ATM card such as a bank or debit card connected to your bank account is issued, it may also be used to draw cash from a cash machine.
There are several banks in Lappeenranta and in other municipalities in the South Karelia region where a bank account can be opened. 
You must provide the following information when opening a bank account: 
  • ​information of income (such as salaries, child benefit)
  • proof of identity (such as a police issued identification card or national passport)
  • social security number
  • address and domicile in Finland 

Tax Card

In Finland, income taxes are deducted directly from salaries and some from Kela benefits (for example, child home care allowance)and paid to the State and the municipality in which the taxpayer is resident. On taking up employment of any duration you will need a tax card, which can be acquired from a tax office. More information on income taxation can be found in the
Information Bank​ and on the Tax Administration’s website (in Finnish, Swedish, and English). The Tax Administration’s website includes for example an application for an income tax card for persons who have been living abroad.
The principal office of the South Karelia Tax Office​ is in Lappeenranta.​ 
Address: Villimiehenkatu 2, 53100 Lappeenranta
Switchboard: +358 (0)20 612 000