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The Basics

Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3, Apr - Oct)

Electricity: Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Standard European two-pin plugs are in use.

Money: The official currency of Finland is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. Banks, ATMs and bureaux de change are available in all cities and airports; banks are closed on weekends. American Express, Diner's Club, Eurocard, Access, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in hotels, restaurants and larger shops. ATMs are the easiest and most economical way to get cash.

Currency Exchange Rates

EUR 1.00 = AUD 1.62 CAD 1.49 EUR 1.00 NZD 1.70 GBP 0.90 USD 1.14 ZAR 16.12
Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: Finnish and Swedish share status as Finland's official languages. Sami is spoken by an isolated population group in Lapland. English is taught at schools and is widely understood.

Entry requirements:

Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Finland. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: British passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar, only need to be valid for period of intended stay in Finland. All other endorsements require at least three months validity beyond the period of intended stay in Finland. A visa is not required for passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day period for holders of passports with any other endorsement. Holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar authories, and endorsed 'Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom', do not require a visa to visit Finland.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Finland. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.
Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Finland. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.
Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the intended period of stay, and a valid Schengen visa, to enter Finland.
Entry requirements for New Zealand nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Finland. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

Passport/Visa Note:

The borderless region known as the Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned countries.

Additionally, travellers to Finland must hold sufficient funds for their duration of stay in the country, a return or onward ticket, and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination. Also note that joint passports must include a photograph of the spouse and, if issued after May 1, 2004, a photograph of each child over seven years of age and up to and including 15 years of age. Otherwise, a photo identification card showing the child's name, date of birth and nationality must be presented, together with the passport.

It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Travel Health: There are no health risks associated with travel to Finland. Visitors to the Åland Islands in the summer months should be cautious of tick-borne encephalitis. A tetanus-diphtheria vaccine is recommended for all travellers who have not received one within the last 10 years. Tap water is safe to drink in Finland. Medical care is of a good standard and medication is easy to find. British, and other EU nationals, should ensure they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles citizens to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Finnish citizens. Comprehensive travel insurance is advised.

Tipping: Tips are not expected in Finland because a service charge is generally added to restaurant, bar and hotel bills, but customers often choose to round up the bill when paying in cash. Taxi drivers also appreciate any small change or coins that are added to round up the fare.

Safety Information: Crime levels are low in Finland and visitors can be assured of a trouble-free vacation. Drug offences and drinking and driving are dealt with very harshly. The main danger in the country is driving during the winter months, when icy roads are a hazard and cars must be fitted with snow tyres.

Local Customs: A Finnish way of life, the sauna is a popular activity in Finland, so expect to encounter one. Words are taken seriously in Finland and people are held to what they say, so think before you speak.

Business: Business is conducted formally in Finland. A formal, understated sense of dress is important. Punctuality is also very important in Finland and being late is considered rude. Appointments should always be made and confirmed. Meetings are often strictly business and are not often over lunch. Finns do not require a strong relationship prior to doing business, and business often takes place over the phone, fax and via e-mail. However, the sauna is an important part of the culture and it is not unusual for business to be discussed in this environment on a more sociable level. Finns are very direct and prefer getting straight to the point. Often a verbal agreement may hold. At meetings business cards are exchanged and should have, on the alternate side, details in Finnish. Business hours are generally 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Communications: The international country dialling code for Finland is +358. Free wifi is available in hotels, cafes, restaurants and similar establishments in all major towns and cities. There are free wifi hotspots with high speed internet in Helsinki.

Duty free: Travellers to Finland arriving from the EU can enter Finland without restrictions on the quantity of purchases, provided they have been bought in the EU for personal consumption or as gift items. No restrictions are placed on meat and dairy products. Some restrictions may apply to selected tobacco products. Travellers over 20 years arriving from non-EU countries are allowed to bring in the following items without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of tobacco. With regards to alcohol, one litre of spirits with maximum 22 percent alcohol content, or two litres of alcoholic beverages not exceeding 22 percent alcohol content, and four litres of wine and 16 litres of beer is allowed duty free.

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