Living in Finland


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According to Finnish law, marriage (avioliitto) is a statutory relationship between two people. It is entered into through a marriage ceremony. It is common for couples to live together in a common-law relationship before they get married. Read more on the InfoFinland page Common-law relationship.


Before marrying, a couple may get engaged. This signifies a promise of marriage. Engagement is voluntary and not required by law. Engagement can be kept as private information or it can be announced to others.

Who can get married?

In Finland, marriage can be entered into by anyone

  • who is 18 years old or more and
  • who is not married or under guardianship. A person who is under guardianship is unable to take care of their own affairs. A trustee takes care of their business.

Marriage between two persons of the same sex has been allowed in Finland since 1 March 2017. Only registered partnerships were possible before this date. New registered partnerhips can no longer be established in Finland, but the old ones remain in force. A registered partnership can be changed to a marriage at a Local Regsiter Office.

Marriage is prohibited between the following near relatives:

  • children and parents
  • siblings or half-siblings
  • adopted children and adoption parents, and
  • with one’s sibling’s children (for example, uncle and niece).

In the two latter cases, a special permission may be granted by the Ministry of Justice.

Marriage is always a voluntary choice and nobody can be forced into it. When the legal provisions of marriage are fulfilled, a couple can marry. They are not required to ask for permission, for example, from relatives.

The Ministry of Justice’s website describes in short the regulations governing the contracting and dissolution of a marriage, as well as the legal effects of marriage. The Marriage Act can be found in its entirety on the Finlex website.

linkkiMinistry of Justice:
The brochure "Information on the Marriage Act"Finnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Arabic

Marriage ActFinnish | Swedish | English