With evening sunshine to keep your company, driving in Finland may feel like holidays with traffic-free roads. You may hear complaints about “heavy traffic” from Finn but not from a visitor. It is because “few minutes of traffic” is deemed “heavy traffic” for any Finns. Before that, you need to get a license. To get a Driving License in Finland, you can expect to follow certain guidelines.
EU or Nordic Countries:
If the driving license is of any EU or Nordic country, there is no need to apply for a new driving license in Finland. If the driver wants to take permanent residence in Finland, then s/he must exchange his/her driving license for a Finnish driving license before the expiration date (there is no need to appear for a Finnish driving test).
However, if the individual obtained a driving license from his/her country by exchanging a driving license from another country, it might not be accepted according to the law.
Vienna & Geneva Road Traffic Conventions signatory country:
If the license holder is a permanent resident of one of the nations, she/he can drive in Finland for one year from the date of arrival. However, a license holder will be restricted to obtain a class “B” license afterward without any examination.
An application must be made for a Finnish driving license within 18 months of arrival to the country, or else the person needs to appear in the Finnish driving test.
If your driving license has been issued by any country other than the categories mentioned above, you can be granted a “Provisional Driving License” for a year. After one year, one must appear for a driving License in Finland.
Interesting things to keep in Mind While Driving
Traffic Jams are rare: Unlike any other urban cities worldwide, traffic jams in Finland are very rare.
Beautiful Scenery along the way: Prepare yourself to enjoy the peaceful scenery along the way in any part of Finland.
Speed Limit: The speed limit in Finland is 50km/h in residential/built-up/urban areas and around 80km/h outside. You can drive 1000km/h in the summer and 120km/h on motorways. However, the general speed in winter is reduced to 80km/h everywhere. Note that there are both mobile and fixed cameras in Finland to track your speed. Don’t be careful if you want to donate a few bucks to the local government. In 2015, a Finnish man was fined euro 54k for traveling 103km/h in an 80km/h zone.
Keep your headlights on. Yes, always keep your headlight on regardless of the winter or summer weather. It is legally required to keep your headlights when driving, even in midday light.
Flashing Headlights: Flashing headlights from an oncoming vehicle may mean few things. Your headlight is off, or there’s a moose or an accident ahead.
Roadside scam: Want to help a man waving down cars after having trouble with their vehicle? Well, think twice before you do. Fake police have become an increasing problem in Finland. Legitimate Finnish police can issue spot fines that you can pay later. Fake police, however, don’t do that. They ask for money immediately.
Compulsory Items: By law, you must have the following items in your vehicle when driving.
First Aid Kit
Reflective Jacket or Vest (This is necessary in case of emergency)
Alcohol Limit: The drink driving limit is 50mg of alcohol out of 100 mg of blood.
Driving During Winter:
Driving through snow-covered trees, mountains, houses, or frozen lakes, you may feel like going through perfect Christmas scenery. Winter days are usually short, and snowing can hinder visibility significantly. You must use studded tires during winter (Between 1st December and 31st March.
Your tire tread should be at least 3.00mm in winter and 1.6mm during summer as per legislation. Black ice is a real hazard. So better drive with caution and keep long distances between vehicles.
You can use a hands-free mobile telephone while driving.
The challenges of driving in Finland varies season to season. In spring, driving can be difficult due to dazzling bright sunshine from a low angle. So always have a clean windshield, use the sun visor of your vehicle and keep a pair of sunglasses with you. Also, be careful of slippery roads due to snow and leaves.
During spring and autumn, animals such as moose, reindeer, and elk wander at night or sunset. Every year roughly 1500 collisions with moose happen that results in 10 deaths and 300 injuries.
Please note that it is common practice to turn lighting off in large cities in the evening. So, better be careful during driving!
Documents to Carry:
Please carry these two documents while driving.
Certificate of Motor Insurance
Right of Way:
In Finland, trams have priority over cars. You also drive on the right side.
In Finland, the amount of fine depends on your income level. There’s no maximum or minimum level of fine. It is also important to note that the police are not authorized to collect fines on the spot.
You should always park your vehicle in the direction of moving traffic and at least 5 meters from any pedestrian crossing and intersections. Most Finnish cities use parking vouchers that you can buy from any vending machine. You need to show the voucher to the automated machine during parking entry.
At other times, you can use a parking disc that helps you park free for a certain period. Keep your parking disc in your dashboard that will show when you got here, and the time you will leave. Don’t exceed anything else; you will receive fines.
There are no toll roads in Finland.
Finnish Gas Stations:
In Finland, you will find both human-crewed and uncrewed gas stations. If you are using an uncrewed gas station, you need to pay using a credit card or cash. If you use a credit card, you need to type [in Euro] of gas/petrol you will pump. You will be billed proportionally to the gas/petrol pumped.
For example, you wanted to use Euro 30 equivalent gas/petrol, but only pumped euro 20 worth of gas/petrol. Then you will be charged euro 20. You may also use a chip-and-pin card as a credit card alternative. They work almost everywhere.
Please note that the petrol prices are shown in every gas station. There are three types of petrol: 95, 98 and Diesel. Be sure you know which kind of gasoline you want to pump.
Driving License Test:
To apply for your driving license test in Finland, you should apply to Ajovarma. They provide driving examination services. Before you can take your driving license test, you must have driving lessons from someone who has a valid driving license and a special instructor permit—[The vehicle has to have an extra set of brake pedals for the front passenger].
Twenty theory lessons are required before you can take your driving theory test in Finland. In the theory test, you will be given 15 multiple choice questions, 50 picture tasks, and five risk questions. To pass, you need to correct at least 11 multiple choice questions, 43 picture task questions, and four risk questions respectively.
The practical driving lessons include at least 30 hours of instructed driving. Each driving lesson is a minimum of 30 minutes. If you pass both theoretical and practical lessons, you can apply for a driving license test. The following documents must be submitted:
Written consent of your guardian if you are less than 18 years.
Passport or ID
Former driving license if you have it.
A doctor’s certificate for your driving license or comprehensive medical report (Dated no more than six months)
If you wish to take a driving license test in Finland, your exam fees would be euro 185 plus the cost of driving lessons (Costs between euro 1k to 3k). The cost of the Finland driving test would be the following:
Driving license permit application Euro 35
Driving license theoretical test Euro 35
Driving license application Euro 25
Practical part Euro 90
If you don’t show up during the exams, your fees will be 50% deducted.
Renewing Driving License:
If your driving license is about to expire, you can submit a renewal application to the police. When applying for a renewal of your driving license, you must bring the following documents:
A doctor’s certificate or comprehensive medical report(dated no more than six months)
Previous driving license
If you have a driving license from any EU/EEA countries, you can exchange your driving license for a Finnish one before it expires. You are not required to take a new driving license. Your application must be submitted to the police in person. You must bring the following documents:
Your valid driving license
Doctor’s certificate for a driving license or a comprehensive medical report (Dated no less than six months)
You can still exchange your driving license if your driving license has been approved from any of the following countries. [Plus Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. ].
The following conditions must be met:
You are living permanently in Finland. If you are a student, you can show your study permit/visa that proves you live in Finland for at least six months.
You have been driving in Finland for at least six months. You can prove this in a few different ways: 1. through some documents, 2. Two witnesses write a report.
Your driving license must be in Finnish, Swedish, or English. Else you need to submit a translated version of your driving license that is understood by police.
Note: You need to submit a national or international license to the police when you receive the Finnish one. To know more, click here.
Finnish Driving license Age Requirement:
You need to have the following age if you plan to apply for your driving license:
|Moped and Tractors||15|
|Motorcycles with max. 125cc||16|
|Cars, Motorcycles, and Trucks (A2)||18|
You can upgrade your A2 license to an A-class if you have an A2 license for more than two years.