The impact of Brexit on UK citizens in Finland

Driving licence

Exchanging a UK driving licence for a Finnish driving licence before the UK leaves the EU

Before the UK withdraws from the EU, permanent residents that have registered in Finland or those who have been studying in Finland for at least six months may exchange their UK issued driving licence for a Finnish licence according to the rules of exchanging EU driving licenses (External link). If your UK issued licence has expired, you must enclose a medical certificate with your application. Passing a new driving examination is not required if less than two years have elapsed since the expiry date of your Group 1 car or motorcycle driving licence. Driving licences should be exchanged at an Ajovarma service point. You should make an appointment in advance (External link) and bring the following items with you:

  • your UK issued driving licence or, in case you do not have it, a driving licence extract from the UK driving license authority
  • your passport or other official ID
  • two photographs, unless you already have a valid Finnish passport or an ID card that bears the same photograph.

A UK issued lorry or bus driving licence can be exchanged for a Finnish licence in accordance with EU country rules. If your UK issued licence has expired, you must enclose a medical certificate with your application. Passing a new driving examination is not required if less than one year has elapsed since the expiry date of your driving licence. Driving licences are exchanged at an Ajovarma service point. You should make an appointment in advance (External link)

If you have diplomatic status or work for an international organisation or EU agency in Finland, you can exchange your driving licence according to the current practice even after a potential no-deal Brexit. In this case, please contact the Protocol Services of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Exchanging a UK driving licence for a Finnish driving licence after 30 of March in case UK leaves without agreement

Once the UK has left the EU, the recognition and exchange of UK issued driving licences is regulated by the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. Applications must always include a medical certificate.

In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, a permanent resident in Finland can exchange a UK issued car or motorcycle driving licence for a Finnish driving licence without having to pass a new driving examination. In order to make the exchange without the driving examination, you must exchange your driving licence before it expires and within two years of becoming a permanent resident in Finland. 

If your driving licence has expired or you have been a permanent resident in Finland for over two years, you must also pass a Finnish driving examination (theory and driving test), and a handling skills test for a motorcycle licence. If your driving license has been lost or stolen, you must provide a driving license extract and take a driving examination.

To exchange a driving licence for a heavy goods vehicle, you will always need to pass a driving examination (theory and driving test).

When a UK driving license must be exchanged for a Finnish driving licence

A driving licence issued in the UK is valid in Finland when visiting as a tourist until the licence expires, but permanent residents in Finland must exchange their UK driving licence for a Finnish driving licence within two years from the date they became a permanent resident.

Driving licences are exchanged at an Ajovarma service point. You should make an appointment in advance (External link). Bring the following items with you:

  • your passport or other official ID
  • two photographs
  • medical certificate
  • your foreign driving licence or a driving licence extract.

In addition, drivers with foreign driving licenses must meet the enforced age and driver health requirements in Finland. The age limit for a car licence is 18 years, 16–24 years for a motorcycle licence (depending on the power of the motorcycle), 21 years for a lorry licence, and 24 years for a bus and coach licence. 

Learn more about exchanging a foreign driving licence for a Finnish licence (External link)

Importing new and used vehicles

If the UK leaves the EU and the EEA without a deal, this will entail changes to the import of vehicles type-approved by the UK Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA). After the UK leaves the EU, approvals granted by the VCA are no longer valid in the EEA. Vehicles may be type-approved by VCA even if they are imported from outside the UK. The type-approval numbers of vehicles approved by VCA begin with e11. This number can be found in the registration certificate or manufacturer's plate.

Importing used vehicles after Brexit

If a vehicle type-approved by VCA has been taken into use or registered in the UK or the EEA before a no-deal Brexit, it can be approved based on the VCA approval without evidence of it being placed on the market. The date when the vehicle was taken into use or registered can be found on the vehicle's foreign registration certificate.

If a vehicle type-approved by VCA has been taken into use or registered in the UK or the EEA after a no-deal Brexit, you must present evidence of the vehicle being placed on the market. This evidence may include, for example, commercial documents, such as sales agreements, invoices or consignment notes. A certificate of conformity (CoC) alone is not considered sufficient evidence. Compliance with technical requirements can be proved with documents on component approval. These can be obtained from the vehicle manufacturer or VCA.

Importing new vehicles after Brexit

Vehicles type-approved by VCA before a no-deal Brexit can be granted individual approval in Finland after Brexit, if they meet the relevant technical requirements. This can be proved with documents on component approval. These can be obtained from the vehicle manufacturer or VCA.

Type-approvals granted by VCA after a no-deal Brexit are not valid in Finland. Individual approval and evidence on conformity is required in Finland. For more information on the documents required for the vehicle in question, please contact a vehicle inspection station that grants individual approvals.

Brexit’s impact on travel 

The UK leaving the EU can have an impact on aviation and passenger rights (External link).