Thinking of moving to Finland? Many people might say “you don’t need to learn Finnish / Swedish”, but there are varying requirements to meet depending on whether you need a visa, a residence permit, or citizenship. We’ll clear that up.
Do you need to speak Finnish to live in Finland?
No, there are no legal requirements for learning Finnish or Swedish to apply for a visa or a residence permit.
Do you need to speak Finnish to work in Finland?
In some professions, yes. For example, nurses and doctors are required to successfully complete an official intermediate-level examination, YKI, in Finnish or Swedish language before they are given the right to practice their profession.
For most professions, there are no legal requirements for learning Finnish or Swedish to work in Finland with a residence permit. However, in some organisations and some jobs, they might require an intermediate or fluent level of either Finnish or Swedish language.
Do you need to speak Finnish to become a citizen?
To become a citizen of Finland you must demonstrate that you have sufficient levels of either Finnish or Swedish. The official YKI test is used to do so. However, there are some exceptions to be found.
Why you should learn Finnish:
- Knowing Finnish or Swedish will allow you to engage and interact with the Finns in any situation, without needing to rely on anyone else.
- Such independence will also allow you to not be treated like a tourist, or an expat.
- Learning the language will allow you to gain increased insights and understanding of the culture.
- Both your work and personal life will be benefited when you can communicate with locals, in their own language as your relationships will only be stronger. The Finns are often very appreciative when people put the time and effort into learning their language.
- Knowing one of the local languages will offer you more opportunities in the job market.
- Learning Finnish or Swedish will also offer you an improved quality of life. You’ll be more relaxed as you find it easier to navigate your daily life. You will also be able to experience the Finnish culture at its fullest, creating a stronger connection with the place you’re in.
- Even if you don’t feel the benefits mentioned above, learning another language creates a strong sense of accomplishment and pride. It will help build confidence in your ability to create and maintain a life abroad.
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