Social welfare professionals trained outside the EU/EEA
In order to work in Finland as a social worker, social service professional (‘sosionomi’), professional of applied gerontology (‘geronomi’) or rehabilitation councellor, you must be granted a right to practice by Valvira. In order to be allowed to use the title of practical nurse (‘lähihoitaja’) in a social welfare occupation, you must register this protected occupational title with Valvira. Valvira grants rights to practice and protected occupational title registrations on application, also on the basis of degrees completed abroad.
Applying for the right to practise
Fill in the application form (pdf) (in finnish). Send your application with attachments to Valvira. If you submit all the relevant documents with your application, the application process will be quicker. The processing period is calculated from the time when Valvira has received all the required documents and reports. Please do not send your application or attachments by e-mail in advance, because this will slow down the processing of your application.
Send your completed application and appendices by mail to:
National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira)
PO Box 43
You must supply officially certified copies of the documents listed below (1–6). Copies can be officially certified by a notary public in Finland or in another EU or EEA Member State, or by a Finnish mission in other countries. Copies issued by a notary public outside the EU/EEA and furnished with an Apostille or Grand Legalisation are also acceptable (valvira.fi). You must submit to Valvira, by mail, the copies that bear the original stamp and signature of the notary public or Finnish mission.
Please attach the following documents to your application:
- Passport, identity card, alien’s passport or refugee travel document (proof of your identity and nationality)
- Degree certificate and the official e-mail address and mailing address of your educational institution.
If you give the contact details, Valvira may verify the legitimacy of your degree. This verification may delay the processing of your application. You do not need to submit an officially certified copy if Valvira verifies your degree directly with your educational institution. If Valvira is unable to obtain the required information directly from your educational institution, you must submit your degree certificate, verified by Apostille or Grand Legalisation.
Please have your original degree certificate (diploma) legalised in the country in which you completed your training, using the Apostille or Grand Legalisation procedure. This procedure must verify that your degree certificate is legitimate. Find out from the foreign ministry or other body in your country of education how to legalise your degree certificate (diploma).
- Your degree certificate appendix (e.g. transcript of records, academic transcript).
- A certificate verifying that your right to practise the profession in question has not been restricted or revoked (e.g. Certificate of Good Standing). This certificate must be no more than three months old when received by Valvira. You must submit such a certificate from every country where you have been legalised to practise your profession. If you have practised your profession in a country where practitioners of that profession are not registered, then you need to submit an affidavit from the competent authority in that country stating that practitioners of your profession are not registered in that country, or some other reliable testimonial of the matter.
- Translations into Finnish, Swedish or English of all the aforementioned documents. The translations must have been produced by an authorised translator in Finland or in another EU/EEA Member State. Authorised translators in Finland can be found through the online service of the National Agency For Education. If the translator is not an official or authorised translator in an EU/EEA Member State, the translation may nevertheless be acceptable if the translator’s status is confirmed with an Apostille or Grand Legalisation.
- Freeform consent stating that Valvira has your permission to submit your application documents to a Finnish educational institution for an expert opinion if necessary.
The appendices listed below in points 7–9 are not mandatory, but they are recommended, because they may be necessary for obtaining an expert opinion. Please submit these appendices, as it will be in your interest when Valvira evaluates your education and training in comparison with the relevant Finnish qualification.
- Report issued by the educational institution detailing the learning outcomes, contents and scope in hours of the units included in your degree and the operating environments in which you completed your practical training and your duties therein.
If the educational institution supplies a general study programme to provide this information, the institution must separately confirm that you have completed the units required. The educational institution may deliver the report directly to Valvira by e-mail. It is in your interests to supply information on your training in as much detail as possible, because Valvira will compare the content of your training to the corresponding training given in Finland.
- Employment certificates for work in the profession following completion of your training. Employment certificates must have been issued by your employer, and they must state at least your job title, your job duties and the duration of your employment.
- A certificate of any supplementary professional training and continuing education.
- Translations into Finnish, Swedish or English of all the aforementioned documents.
The translations must have been produced by an authorised translator in Finland or in another EU/EEA Member State. Authorised translators in Finland can be found through the online service of the National Agency For Education. If the translator is not an official or authorised translator in an EU/EEA Member State, the translation may nevertheless be acceptable if the translator’s status is confirmed with an Apostille or Grand Legalisation.
Valvira may request further explanations as necessary. Please note that Valvira will not return any documents submitted or make copies.
Valvira may request you to submit a certificate of sufficient language proficiency in Finnish or Swedish when you apply for your final right to practise. Please visit our website for further information on how to demonstrate language proficiency.