Living in Finland


Sukunimestä päättäminen
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Deciding on the family name

If your place of residence is in Finland, your last name is determined according to Finnish law. This is done even if you are not a Finnish citizen.

When you get married, you and your spouse must decide your last name.

You can

  • adopt a common last name, or
  • keep your own last names, or
  • combine your last names into a double last name.

A double last name will show both of your last names, such as Virtanen-Smith. The last names can also be written separately without a hyphen.

You can also choose a completely new last name as your common last name. Apply for a new last name from the Local Registry Office with a change of name application.

A family name which one of the spouses has gained in a previous marriage cannot be chosen.

Choose a last name before requesting the examination of the impediments to marriage. Inform the Local Registry Office about it. This form is available at Local Register Offices or the Local Register Office’s website.

linkkiMinistry of Justice:
The brochure "Spouse's Surname and Child's Surname"Finnish | Swedish | English

Changing family name during the marriage

If you have a double last name, such as Virtanen-Smith, you can relinquish either of these names during your marriage. You can also adopt a double last name during your marriage. Submit a written application to the Local Registry Office.

Informing the authorities of your own country (foreign citizen)

If your surname changes, you must also inform your own country’s Diplomatic Mission about it so that you can get a passport with your new name and the authorities in both countries have the same information. Ask for more information at a Diplomatic Mission of your own country. The contact information for Diplomatic Missions can be found on the website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Read more about the child’s last name on the page When a child is born in Finland.

Read more about the last name in case of divorce on the page Divorce.

linkkiMinistry for Foreign Affairs:
Foreign diplomatic missions in FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English