Moving to Finland as an American

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celluloidandvinyl
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:21 pm

Moving to Finland as an American

Post by celluloidandvinyl » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:10 pm

Hi everyone,

I've been to Finland a couple of times, with a third trip probably happening in December, and after some research and my experiences there, I've decided that I'd really, really like to live and work in Finland, preferably in Espoo or Helsinki, with citizenship being the ultimate goal. That being said, I have some questions for anyone who might be willing to answer them.

1) I know that as an American I can stay there up to three months just fine. However, if I'd like to stay longer, which I fully intend to do, I need a residence permit. It seems that legally I won't be able to get a job or housing without a residence permit, yet from what I understand I also need a job first in order to qualify for a residence permit? Can anyone explain this to me? It seems like a bit of a Catch-22, but maybe there's something I'm missing or not understanding. I have also read that a residence permit takes a couple of months to process; should I apply for one as soon as I get there and have the necessary requirements? I'd hate for my three months to expire while the permit is still being processed.

2) I pay about 700 dollars a month for my one bedroom apartment here in America, which is expensive, but between two restaurant jobs, I work about thirty-five to forty hours a week in total, and I am quite frugal, so I am able to live comfortably and still pay my bills. It seems that the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Helsinki or Espoo is about the same, but what is the average work week like in Finland in terms of hours? I don't have a degree which puts me at a disadvantage, but I have a good resume in terms of restaurant work (both back and front of house) and I figured that I could at least start out by working in the kitchen at a McDonald's or something. I have read that the average fast food worker in Finland makes about fourteen or fifteen euros an hour, but is this accurate? Would I be able to get enough hours to pay my rent? A McDonald's in America will hire pretty much anyone, but how would a Finnish McDonald's compare? I've thought about contacting one online to see what my options are and if I can lock down some sort of employment before I head over there. Is this feasible?

3) Are there any sort of classes or programs for people transitioning to Finland? I'm thinking specifically of classes that can help me learn the Finnish language - my only language right now is English, but I have begun teaching myself some Finnish through the Venla website. I'd like to be able to learn it as soon as possible, since I know that not being fluent in Finnish puts me at a disadvantage.

4) Where online should I look for housing? What sites are reliable?

5) Banking and municipalities - here in America, you pretty much have to have an account open with the electric company before you move into a residence, and you definitely have to have a bank account before you can qualify for a job. How would I go about this in Finland in relation to getting a job and a residence?

Sorry, I know that's a lot of questions, but the possibility, not the difficulty, of living in Finland is my main concern. I'm doing quite well currently in America, but I've gotten by on next to nothing before, so I don't necessarily need the best job, or the best apartment - I just need to be able to get by long enough to obtain my residence permit and go from there. I know something like this takes a lot of time and money, and I'm raising the money faster than I expected, but I'd like to have as many arrangements as possible already set in place by the time I cross the pond, ideally a job and housing at least, so if that's something that can be done, I'll do it. However, if there's absolutely nothing I can arrange in advance, my plan would be to buy a one-way ticket and stay in an airbnb or something until I can make the necessary arrangements.

Again, I am immensely grateful for any answers you may be able to provide. Kiitos! :D



Moving to Finland as an American

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FinnGuyHelsinki
Posts: 936
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:52 pm

Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by FinnGuyHelsinki » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:03 am

1) It's not illegal to hire someone without a residence permit, it's just that from an employer perspective there's often not much point in hiring someone that might be leaving shortly. And there's the rule to favor EU residents over non-EU in hiring, i.e. the employer has to make a case that no suitable candidate was available from within the EU.

2) ~40 hours/week is typical for a full-time job. As I've understood, you don't speak Finnish, which is a major disadvantage in customer facing jobs. There are e.g. some bars that have bartenders not speaking Finnish, and I think in Hard Rock Café a part of the staff are from abroad (their internal rotation scheme or something like that), but usually it's a negative as people predominantly speak Finnish.

4) "Reliability" is a non-issue, there are two major sites (they're not an agency themselves) for ads for rental housing: https://www.vuokraovi.com/ https://asunnot.oikotie.fi

3), 5) Do a search on this site, likely those have been asked and answered many times. Also, there have been some US citizens wondering about moving to Finland, with similar questions.


Upphew
Posts: 10201
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:55 pm
Location: Lappeenranta

Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by Upphew » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:35 am

celluloidandvinyl wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:10 pm
Hi everyone,

I've been to Finland a couple of times, with a third trip probably happening in December, and after some research and my experiences there, I've decided that I'd really, really like to live and work in Finland, preferably in Espoo or Helsinki, with citizenship being the ultimate goal. That being said, I have some questions for anyone who might be willing to answer them.

1) I know that as an American I can stay there up to three months just fine. However, if I'd like to stay longer, which I fully intend to do, I need a residence permit. It seems that legally I won't be able to get a job or housing without a residence permit, yet from what I understand I also need a job first in order to qualify for a residence permit? Can anyone explain this to me? It seems like a bit of a Catch-22, but maybe there's something I'm missing or not understanding. I have also read that a residence permit takes a couple of months to process; should I apply for one as soon as I get there and have the necessary requirements? I'd hate for my three months to expire while the permit is still being processed.

2) I pay about 700 dollars a month for my one bedroom apartment here in America, which is expensive, but between two restaurant jobs, I work about thirty-five to forty hours a week in total, and I am quite frugal, so I am able to live comfortably and still pay my bills. It seems that the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Helsinki or Espoo is about the same, but what is the average work week like in Finland in terms of hours? I don't have a degree which puts me at a disadvantage, but I have a good resume in terms of restaurant work (both back and front of house) and I figured that I could at least start out by working in the kitchen at a McDonald's or something. I have read that the average fast food worker in Finland makes about fourteen or fifteen euros an hour, but is this accurate? Would I be able to get enough hours to pay my rent? A McDonald's in America will hire pretty much anyone, but how would a Finnish McDonald's compare? I've thought about contacting one online to see what my options are and if I can lock down some sort of employment before I head over there. Is this feasible?

3) Are there any sort of classes or programs for people transitioning to Finland? I'm thinking specifically of classes that can help me learn the Finnish language - my only language right now is English, but I have begun teaching myself some Finnish through the Venla website. I'd like to be able to learn it as soon as possible, since I know that not being fluent in Finnish puts me at a disadvantage.

4) Where online should I look for housing? What sites are reliable?

5) Banking and municipalities - here in America, you pretty much have to have an account open with the electric company before you move into a residence, and you definitely have to have a bank account before you can qualify for a job. How would I go about this in Finland in relation to getting a job and a residence?

Sorry, I know that's a lot of questions, but the possibility, not the difficulty, of living in Finland is my main concern. I'm doing quite well currently in America, but I've gotten by on next to nothing before, so I don't necessarily need the best job, or the best apartment - I just need to be able to get by long enough to obtain my residence permit and go from there. I know something like this takes a lot of time and money, and I'm raising the money faster than I expected, but I'd like to have as many arrangements as possible already set in place by the time I cross the pond, ideally a job and housing at least, so if that's something that can be done, I'll do it. However, if there's absolutely nothing I can arrange in advance, my plan would be to buy a one-way ticket and stay in an airbnb or something until I can make the necessary arrangements.

Again, I am immensely grateful for any answers you may be able to provide. Kiitos! :D
1) you can get a job, but you can't start working before you have your RP. To get RP based on work you must have the job and officials must see that your employer has first offered the job for locals. In case of McD locals is pretty much Finland (as you'll need Finnish to land that job), but in many cases it means that the worker should come within EU and if that fails then from elsewhere. You can stay here while the RP is being processed, but you can't work until you have your permit.

2) McD might want to hire you, but you'd have to have the residence permit first and hygiene passport wouldn't hurt either: https://hygieniapassi.fi/english Job at McD and rents in capital region would be tough combo. You would most likely look at 700€ for rent and 13€/h from flipping burgers... hope you get enough hours. And you'll likely start as a trainee so -20% to your wage.

3) Have you looked at infopankki.fi?

4) HAve you looked at housing section in this forum?
http://google.com http://translate.google.com http://urbandictionary.com
Visa is for visiting, Residence Permit for residing.


betelgeuse
Posts: 2858
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:24 am

Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by betelgeuse » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:27 pm

celluloidandvinyl wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:10 pm
I have also read that a residence permit takes a couple of months to process; should I apply for one as soon as I get there and have the necessary requirements? I'd hate for my three months to expire while the permit is still being processed.
The expected way to apply is in the Finnish embassy / consulates in the US. See section 49.

https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/kaannokse ... 040301.pdf

There are plenty of exceptions but since you can't start working before the decision, it's financially more safe to work in the US while the application is being processed.


Rasikko
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:16 pm

Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by Rasikko » Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:26 pm

The rent, even after converting to dollars, is way higher than the US.

As for Finnish, fluency will come with time(this can't be rushed at all), and the difference between the two languages is vast, also you will need a way to maintain your native language - you may have been told that every Finn knows english, but this is not true at all. I think lot of people that came to Finland with high aim to learn Finnish forgets that they still need to take care of their native language or they will start undergoing language attrition.

I'm not sure about your 5) statement. It depends on the state you are from. The state I'm from, you don't need a bank account to get a job.

-a fellow american

btw, americans appear to be rare here, compared to other nationalities that have come/moved to Finland. I've only met ONE another american in all my time here. From a familiarity point of view it's depressing.. Most folks from the middle east, and parts of Africa come here, and have established cultural circles. As an american, you will feel alone in Finland, due us being so rare.


Upphew
Posts: 10201
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:55 pm
Location: Lappeenranta

Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by Upphew » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:15 am

Rasikko wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:26 pm
btw, americans appear to be rare here, compared to other nationalities that have come/moved to Finland. I've only met ONE another american in all my time here. From a familiarity point of view it's depressing.. Most folks from the middle east, and parts of Africa come here, and have established cultural circles. As an american, you will feel alone in Finland, due us being so rare.
You are about as rare as...Syrians, Iranians, Filipinos or Nepals.
http://google.com http://translate.google.com http://urbandictionary.com
Visa is for visiting, Residence Permit for residing.


MeAndmE
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:21 pm

Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by MeAndmE » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:03 pm

I think the easiest way for you would be to come here as an au-pair. Families here prefer to hire native English speakers. You would have an accommodation, some free time to learn Finnish and just settle down without stressing out. That would give you the opportunity to find out more about Finland and Finnish culture and actually realize that you do not want to live here. :wink: That said, I´m not sure what are the conditions for US citizens coming as au-pair. It´s super easy process for EU-citizens.


Tallasstraveler
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:35 am

Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by Tallasstraveler » Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:41 pm

I’m going to follow this post. You seem similar to me and my situation. I’ve started learning Finnish, through Pimsluer, and every Finn I encountered was quite surprised I wasn’t butchering their language with a terrible American way of pronouncing things. However, it can be a little costly to keep buyin the lessons, it is a great tool to learn, but helps absolutely zero with reading. Also teaches you the very formal way, as my ex girlfriend liked to jokingly point out all the time how much of a gentlemen-esque speaker I’d be if I talked like that all the time. Which is fine, since I’d make fun of all her English blunders lol.

Your story echoes mine, except I originally came out to be with a Finnish woman, but it proved to be too much too fast for her sensibilities. However I fell in love with the country quickly in contrast to most other European countries I visited. So I’m going to come back out in the dead of winter like you, this year, so I can see if it’s tolerable or not. The darkness and dreary weather I don’t see bothering me much more than Portland and Seattle’s weather has the past 7 years. Helsinki surprisingly reminds me a lot of Baltimore where I grew up.


Upphew
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Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by Upphew » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:42 pm

Tallasstraveler wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:41 pm
The darkness and dreary weather I don’t see bothering me much more than Portland and Seattle’s weather has the past 7 years. Helsinki surprisingly reminds me a lot of Baltimore where I grew up.
I'd say the darkness might still bite you. Especially if you work during days in winter. You won't see sun during week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTjyt-6hJQw
http://google.com http://translate.google.com http://urbandictionary.com
Visa is for visiting, Residence Permit for residing.


Tallasstraveler
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:35 am

Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by Tallasstraveler » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:50 pm

Truthfully you’re right, as I have no way, in any capacity to genuinely understand what that’s like, since only Alaska in the US shares this with you guys. The daylight into 3am in Iceland blew my mind. However, I think I could adapt to a degree pretty well with tanning beds. But, we’ll see, it’s a process after all.


Upphew
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Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by Upphew » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:02 am

Tallasstraveler wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:50 pm
Truthfully you’re right, as I have no way, in any capacity to genuinely understand what that’s like, since only Alaska in the US shares this with you guys. The daylight into 3am in Iceland blew my mind. However, I think I could adapt to a degree pretty well with tanning beds. But, we’ll see, it’s a process after all.
Forget tanning beds and get light therapy lamp if you are affected by SAD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_ ... e_disorder
http://google.com http://translate.google.com http://urbandictionary.com
Visa is for visiting, Residence Permit for residing.


Tallasstraveler
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:35 am

Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by Tallasstraveler » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:26 am

Upphew wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:02 am
Forget tanning beds and get light therapy lamp if you are affected by SAD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_ ... e_disorder
If the darkness is bad enough, sure, I got used to it after a couple years in Seattle.


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Cory
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Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by Cory » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:24 pm

Tallasstraveler wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:26 am
Upphew wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:02 am
Forget tanning beds and get light therapy lamp if you are affected by SAD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_ ... e_disorder
If the darkness is bad enough, sure, I got used to it after a couple years in Seattle.
:lol: Seattle? Not even close to length of daylight we have in the southern tip of Finland. I'm from just over the border in BC and if I'm "home" at Xmas, it's really like I've traveled to a tropical paradise compared to Xmas here. :flowerhat:
Image


Upphew
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Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:55 pm
Location: Lappeenranta

Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by Upphew » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:44 pm

Cory wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:24 pm
Tallasstraveler wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:26 am
Upphew wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:02 am
Forget tanning beds and get light therapy lamp if you are affected by SAD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_ ... e_disorder
If the darkness is bad enough, sure, I got used to it after a couple years in Seattle.
:lol: Seattle? Not even close to length of daylight we have in the southern tip of Finland. I'm from just over the border in BC and if I'm "home" at Xmas, it's really like I've traveled to a tropical paradise compared to Xmas here. :flowerhat:
What is couple of hours between friends.
http://google.com http://translate.google.com http://urbandictionary.com
Visa is for visiting, Residence Permit for residing.


elle86
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:03 pm

Re: Moving to Finland as an American

Post by elle86 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:43 pm

celluloidandvinyl looks like you are going to change your life completely :) good luck!


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