Working abroad as a self-employed worker

As a rule, when you work as a self-employed person abroad, you are covered by the social security laws of the country in which you work. If you work temporarily in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you can remain covered by Finnish earnings-related pension and social security laws. If you go to work as a self-employed person to one of the social security agreement countries, you can be covered by the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act in Finland for a fixed period of time, providing you meet the conditions for posting.

If you are a grant recipient working abroad, the same rules will apply to you as to the self-employed.

You are a posted self-employed person if:

  • as a rule, you do your self-employment in Finland;
  • the work you do abroad as a self-employed worker is similar to the work you do in Finland as a self-employed worker;
  • you have worked as a self-employed person in Finland before going abroad (in practice, this means that you have been insured under the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act or the Farmers’ Pensions Act for at least 4 months before you went abroad; this conditions does not apply if you are a grant recipient);
  • you work abroad temporarily (for no more than 2 years).

As a posted self-employed worker, you have to apply for an A1 certificate from the Finnish Centre for Pensions. The certificate proves that you are covered by Finnish social security while you work abroad. With the certificate you do not have to pay social insurance contributions to the country in which you work. That means that you pay all your social security contributions to Finland only.

If you are posted for more than two years, you need an exemption. Apply for the exemption using the same form as when applying for the A1 certificate.

Self-employed worker in a non-agreement country

If you go abroad to work as a self-employed person in a non-agreement country (for example, in Russia or the countries in Asia), you can continue to be insured under the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act (YEL) in Finland if

  • you will work abroad for  less than one year, and
  • you intend to return to Finland after that.

If you know that you will work abroad for more than one year, you have to end your YEL insurance before you go abroad. Since there is no social security agreement, you may have to insure yourself also in the country in which you work.

For more information on insurance, contact the Finnish Centre for Pensions:

  • weekdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
  • phone: +29 411 2110,
  • e-mail: ulkomaanasiat(at)etk.fi.