It is easy to claim a pension from abroad. If you live in Finland, the Finnish Centre for Pensions will forward your claim abroad if you are claiming a pension from one or several of the following countries:
- EU/EEA countries,
- Great Britain,
- Switzerland, and/or
- countries with which Finland has a mutual social security agreement.
EU’s social security regulations and the bilateral social security agreements that Finland has signed with certain countries make sure that pensions are paid between Finland and these countries. Finland has signed bilateral social security agreements with Australia, Canada, Chile, China, India, Israel, Japan, Quebeck, the U.S and South Korea. In addition, EU has agreed with Switzerland that EU’s social security regulations are applied to Switzer-land. As for the United Kingdom, the Withdrawal Agreement or the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Ag-reement is applied.
Countries from which pensions are paid to Finland based on the EU regulation or a social security agreement:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States
Right to pension from abroad usually based on work
In general, you have the right to a pension from abroad if your work abroad has been insured there.
Each country has its own regulations on the length of employment relationship for which pension accrues. The countries may also require that the pension claimants have a certain amount (varies from country to country) of total working years. As a rule, work done in Finland or other EU/EEA countries are included in the total amount of working years.
In general, other countries do not have residence-based pension provision similar to our national pension. Some countries have minimum pensions that guarantee a minimum income but, as a rule, they are not paid from one country to another.
If you have lived in the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Israel or Canada, you may also have to right to receive a pensions from those countries simply because you have lived there. As of 1 January 2023, due to an amendment of the law, the Swedish residence-based pension is no longer paid to people living abroad.
Retirement ages vary
The retirement ages vary in different countries. Depending on the country, you may also be able to draw an early old-age pension.
Many countries are raising their statutory retirement ages. For more information on the different countries’ retirement ages, contact the foreign pension providers.
Pension decision based on national laws
Each country issues a pension decision based on its own legislation. For example, even if you were granted a disability pension from Finland, you would not necessarily be granted one from another EU/EEA country or a social security agreement country. However, you may have the right to disability or old-age pension from the country in question at a later point. Foreign pension providers issue their pension decisions in their own national language(s) and pay your pension directly to your bank account. The day of the month that the pension is paid varies from country to country.
A pension from abroad may affect social benefits that you receive in Finland. A pension from abroad can reduce your Finnish unemployment benefit, sickness allowance and income support. A foreign pension can also prevent these benefits from being paid at all. In addition, you may be asked to pay back benefits that you have already received.
If you get a statutory pension from abroad, it does not prevent you from getting a partial old-age pension in Finland. However, if you get a part-time pension, note that receiving a foreign statutory pension means that you cannot be paid a part-time pension in Finland.
If you are self-employed, your obligation to take out insurance ends when you are granted a statutory old-age pension from Finland or some foreign country. However, you can take out voluntary pension insurance for self-employed persons or farmers.
Before you claim a pension from abroad, find out how it will affect the social security benefits you receive from Finland.
When you have retired, remember to notify your foreign pension provider if your circumstances change, for example, if you marry, move, start working or your bank account number changes.
Some foreign pension providers send a form each year that you have to fill in and return to them. The purpose of the form, which is also known as a certificate of life, is to make sure that your foreign pension provider has your correct contact information and that pensions are not paid to deceased pension recipients. Fill out the form and send it abroad as instructed.
As a rule, if you do not return the form, your pension payments will be interrupted.
As a rule your pension from abroad will be paid into your bank account each month. In some cases, you may get a bank cheque instead.
To reduce bank or cheque processing fees, you can contact the foreign pension provider and ask them if they can pay your pension less frequently.
If you want your pension from abroad to be paid out less often than once a month, contact your foreign pension provider to discuss the matter.
You must always report the pension you receive from abroad when you file your tax return. For more information on how pension from abroad affects your taxation in Finland, contact the Finnish Tax Administration’s tax services for specific international situations. You may have to pay tax also to the country that has granted you the pension. For more information, contact the institution that pays your foreign pension or the tax authorities of the country in question.