It’s easy to simply hop on a plane and go some place, despite increased security restrictions, but when you are on a Fulbright, it is best to be prepared with a checklist for the various government organizations you will be dealing with. In Finland, the process is straightforward, but there are key departments you need to go through in a particular order. Some of this information is contained in the Fulbright Center Finland Orientation Guide. This guide will only cover day of arrival tasks for individuals in Helsinki.
Before you arrive
- Have you received your residence permit card?
- Do you know where you will be staying?
- Do you have a valid passport?
- If you are a student, do you have a letter stating you are affiliated with the school and address of housing?
Day of Arrival
Depending on when you arrive and how awake you are, you could get most of this done in a single day.
- Head to an R-Kioski and purchase a prepaid phone card (Saunalahti) and some credit (20 EUR is sufficient)
- Activate the SIM card and remember the number
- Head to the Maistraatti to register/active your new residence permit
- If you arrive at opening (09:00), you should be done in less than one hour. Their staff speak English and are more than happy to help.
- No appointment is needed to register.
- Make sure you get a social security number. It does not add any additional time.
- If you are a student, you need to have your support letter from the school. Try requesting this ahead of time or asking them to prepare it before arrival along with your address.
- Head to the Nordea International Branch Office in Helsinki to setup your bank account using your address and social security number
- The Fulbright Center will also assist you with this during orientation