Living in Finland


Avioliiton esteiden tutkinta
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Examination of the impediments to marriage

Before getting married, you must request in writing an examination of the possible impediments to your marriage (esteiden tutkiminen). This examination is performed at a Local Register Office (maistraatti). The written request can be made to any Local Register Office. The examination is free.

If one of you is a member of an Evangelical Lutheran or Orthodox Church, you can ask for an examination of impediments also from your own parish.

The examination is compulsory and without it the marriage cannot take place. The examination reveals, for example, if someone is already married to someone else.

In Finland, this examination takes approximately a week. It is valid for four months. If the marriage does not take place in that time, the examination has to be repeated. The examination certificate has to be taken along to the marriage ceremony.

Coming to Finland as a spouse

The impediments to marriage are investigated according to Finnish law, if you are a Finnish citizen or live permanently in Finland and your data is recorded in the population register.

If a foreign person’s information cannot be verified from the population register, he or she must provide the local register office with documentation from the officials of his or her native country for the examination of impediments to marriage. This may take some time because different countries have different conventions. You can ask for more information on the necessary documentation from your local register office.

In addition, a foreign partner will require an identity card, a certificate of marital status (unmarried, divorced, widow/widower) and an apostille certificate for the aforementioned documents. The apostille certificate proves that the document provided by an authority has been granted by an authorised person.

Each Hague Convention country has an authority who hands out the apostille. A list of the Convention countries can be found in English on the website of Hague Conference on Private International Law. Documents brought from other countries must have a stamp that proves that the document is legitimate. This stamp has to be requested from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country in question and, in addition, a Finnish Diplomatic Mission in the country. Ask for more information at a Diplomatic Mission of your own country.

linkkiLocal Register Office:
Contact information for Local Register OfficesFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiLocal Register Office:
Request for an examination of impediments to marriageFinnish | Swedish

linkkiHague Conference on Private International Law:
Countries belonging within the Apostille conventionEnglish | French | Spanish | German | Portuguese