In order to work as a medical doctor or specialist in Finland, you must have an authorisation (licence to practice a profession) from Valvira. You may be granted a licence to practice your profession as a medical doctor or specialist on application, and you will also be entered in the Central Register of Health Care Professionals (known as Terhikki) upon application.
Please note, that the license to work as a student is not valid longer than 30 days after graduation, even if the license would still be visible in Terhikki register. Graduation information is not available for Valvira regarding those studying abroad, and therefore license can be erroneously visible in the Terhikki register after the 30 days has expired. If University gives a temporary diploma, the graduation date shall be the one marked on the temporary diploma.
Practicing as a health care professional without a licence in Finland is a criminal offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment.
In order to be licenced to practice your profession as a medical doctor or specialist, you must submit an application to Valvira. Your application must specify which profession it concerns. If you are applying to be licensed for more than one profession, you must submit a separate application for each one.
Your application must be in Finnish, Swedish or English. The application may also be in free format.
The application processing time is roughly 3–4 months and it begins to run once Valvira has received all necessary documents.
Valvira may verify the language skills of all applicants who have completed their professional training related to the application or their general education in a language other than Finnish or Swedish. You must submit a certificate of language proficiency to prove your language skills.
When the applicant submits the certificate of language proficiency with the application, Valvira may on a single occasion recognise the applicant’s professional qualifications and grant the licence to practice the profession as a licensed professional. In such a case, the applicant is only charged a fee for a single decision, as two separate decisions are not required.
If the applicant cannot append the certificate to prove the required language skills to the licensing application, Valvira can only recognise the applicant’s professional qualifications. The recognition of professional qualifications does not entitle the applicant to act as a health care professional in Finland. A two-stage process is required in such a case:
Recognition of professional qualifications
Grant of licence to practice the profession
If the applicant submits the certificate of language proficiency at a later date, the applicant is charged a fee also for the grant of the licence.
Appendices to the application
A copy of your valid passport or similar official document to verify your identity and citizenship
A document certifying your change of name if any of your appended documents were issued under a name that is different from your current name
A copy of your original qualification certificate and any appendices demonstrating the content and scope of the qualification (e.g. diploma supplement or transcript of records)
Certificate of a licence to practice your profession issued by a competent foreign authority if you have been licensed to practice your profession in a country other than Finland. This certificate must be no more than three months old and it must indicate that the licence is valid and not subject to any restrictions. If you have been licensed to practice your profession in more than one country, you must submit the certificates from all those countries in either the original or as a copy);
If you cannot provide the certificate mentioned in point 4, the proof that practitioners of this profession are not registered in said country must be established by means of a certificate to that effect issued by the competent authority of the said country or a proof by other reliable means.
Certificate issued by a competent authority verifying that your qualification complies with EU requirements, either in the original or as a copy.
Translations into Finnish, Swedish or English of the aforementioned documents made by a translator certified or authorised in Finland or another EU/EEA member state. The translations may be submitted in the original or as copies.
Applicants who have completed their professional training related to the application or their general education in a language other than Finnish or Swedish must submit a copy of their National Certificate of Language Proficiency or Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate.
Copies of employment certificates on practicing your profession after qualification. Translations of these certificates into Finnish, Swedish or English made by a translator certified or authorised in an EU/EEA Member State must also be provided. The translations may be submitted in the original or as copies.
Formal requirements for application documents
In the interests of speeding up the processing of your application, Valvira asks that you submit all documents appended to your application as authenticated copies. Valvira must verify the authenticity of any document which is appended to an application as a non-authenticated photocopy. This slows down the process considerably.
Authenticated copies may be obtained from notaries public in Finland and other EU/EEA Member States and from Finnish missions abroad. The copies submitted to Valvira must bear the original stamp and signature of the notary public or Finnish mission. Copies issued by a foreign authority are acceptable if endorsed with an Apostille.
Translations of the documents into Finnish, Swedish or English must be appended to the application. The translations must be made by a translator certified or authorised in Finland or another EU/EEA Member State. The translations must be submitted either in the original bearing the translator’s original stamp and signature or as authenticated copies bearing the original stamp and signature of a notary public or a Finnish mission.
Valvira will not return your application documents and does not make copies of documents.
The licensing of medical doctors and specialists follows Directive 2005/36/EC.
Valvira may authorise you to practice as licensed medical doctor if you have completed basic medical training as specified in the Directive.
Valvira may further authorise you to practice as a licensed medical specialist if you have completed specialist medical training as specified in the Directive.
All medical doctors and specialists practicing in Finland must have a doctor ID. This is issued by Valvira in connection with legalisation. The doctor ID must always be written or stamped on prescriptions, for example.
As a health care professional, you must have sufficient spoken and written language skills to be able to carry out your duties. The official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish.
Applicants must submit with their application either their Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate or National Certificate of Language Proficiency. The Civil Service Language Proficiency Test must be passed with a level of Satisfactory or higher in all subject areas. For the National Certificate of Language Proficiency, an intermediate level (levels 3–4) or higher is required.
Certificates of studies in the Finnish or Swedish language, e.g. language course certificates, will not be accepted as proof of language skills by themselves. For further information on language examinations and certificates, please see the website of the National Board of Education (www.oph.fi).
Aptitude test and adaptation period
If your training does not comply with the requirements specified in Directive 2005/36/EC, you may demonstrate your professional qualification by taking an aptitude test or undergoing an adaptation period. Valvira will determine whether applicants need to take an aptitude test or undergo an adaptation period.
Professional practice rights decisions are subject to a fee, and the fee will be charged also fromthe negative decisions. Half of the application processing fee will be charged for the cancelled application. Currently valid fees.
The decision on your licence to practice your profession will be issued in Finnish or Swedish.