Living in Finland


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Common-law relationship

A common-law relationship is a relationship where spouses live together but are not married to each other. In Finland, beginning a common-law relationship, the rules of the relationship and ending the relationship, are each couple’s own private affair. Common-law relationships are not registered anywhere.

Unlike in marriage

  • a common-law husband and wife have no maintenance liability to each other
  • they do not inherit from each other
  • a common-law husband or wife cannot receive the surviving spouse's pension if their partner dies

You can adopt a common last name if

  • you have children together or
  • you have lived together for at least five years

If you want to have a common last name, send an application for a change of name to the Local Registry Office.

If you and your partner permanently live in the same accommodation, you belong to the same household. This is significant, for example, when applying for housing allowance from Kela.

Read more about housing allowance for unmarried cohabitants on the InfoFinland web page Housing allowance.

A common-law relationship entered into abroad

A common-law relationship can be a basis for getting a residence permit. The authorities always consider the granting of a residence permit case-specifically.