Living in Finland


Sukunimestä päättäminen
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Deciding on the family name

If your place of residence is in Finland, Finnish law will apply in determining the family name. This is done even if you do not have Finnish citizenship.

When you are planning to get married you can decide whether you want to share a family name or keep your own ones.

If you want to share a family name, you can choose the family name of either spouse as your shared name. Inform the clergyman or registrar who will carry out the marriage ceremony of the family name you intend to use with the form “Choice of surname in marriage”. This form is available at Local Register Offices or the Local Register Office’s website. A family name which one of the spouses has gained in a previous marriage cannot be chosen.

The spouse whose family name will change can also decide to personally use a double-barrelled surname, for example, Virtanen-Smith. A double-barrelled surname cannot be used by both spouses.

A completely new name can also be chosen as the couple’s shared family name. In such a case, a mere notification is not sufficient; instead, the new family name must be applied for separately from the Local Register Office using a name change form.

If you both want to keep your surnames, you need not inform the clergyman or registrar performing the marriage ceremony beforehand.

The Ministry of Justice’s brochure Spouse’s Surname and Child’s Surname describes the ways in which family name can change when two people get married. The Names Act enacts on surnames in Finland. The Names Act can be found in its entirety on the Finlex website.

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

linkkiLocal Register Office:
The form "Choice of surname in marriage"Finnish | Swedish

linkkiLocal Register Office:
Name change formFinnish

Names ActFinnish | Swedish

Changing family name during the marriage

If you have a double-barrelled name, such as Virtanen-Smith, you can relinquish the first of these names during your marriage. You can also adopt a double-barrelled name during your marriage. You must make a written announcement of the fact to the Local Register Office.

linkkiLocal Register Office:
Notification of family nameFinnish | Swedish

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.

Find out more about children’s family names on the InfoFinland web page Checklist for parents.

For more information about family names in cases of divorce, go to the InfoFinland web page Divorce.

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