Living in Finland

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Marriage ceremony

A marriage ceremony can take place

  • as a civil marriage in a Local Register Office, or
  • as a church wedding.

Both the persons getting married must be present at the ceremony simultaneously. There must also be at least two witnesses present.

Civil marriage

The law stipulates that a civil marriage can be performed by a registrar working at a Local Register Office (maistraatti) or a chief justice or local court judge working at a District Court (käräjäoikeus). Book a time for the ceremony in good time before the wedding day at a Local Register Office or District Court.

A civil marriage ceremony is free if it takes place during office hours in the premises of a Local Register Office or District Court. If agreed separately, the ceremony can also take place elsewhere, for example, at home or in a banqueting hall. Then a separate charge is collected.

Everyone is entitled to a civil marriage, including those who are members of a religion.

The website of the Local Register Office gives basic information about the ceremony.

linkkiLocal Register Office:
Marriage ceremonyFinnish | Swedish | English

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

linkkiJudicial System:
Contact information of District CourtsFinnish | Swedish | English

Church wedding

A church wedding can take place

  • in an Evangelical Lutheran church (evankelis-luterilainen kirkko)
  • in an Orthodox church (ortodoksinen kirkko), or
  • in some other religious community that is registered in Finland.

Every religious community determines itself what stipulations are related to and what kind of an event the wedding ceremony is. If the spouses do not profess the same religion, the ceremony takes place at a Local Register Office and the marriage can be blessed in a church. Persons professing Christianity – for example, a Lutheran and an Orthodox – can be married in a Lutheran church.

linkkiEvangelical Lutheran Church:
Information about marriageFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Orthodox Church:
Finnish Orthodox ChurchFinnish | Swedish | Russian

linkkiAssociation of Freethinkers:
Registered religious communities with the right to officiate at weddingsFinnish

Foreign citizens

Local Register Offices also marry foreign citizens. In Finland, the examination of impediments is always performed before a marriage. You can find more information on the InfoFinland web page Examination of the impediments to marriage.

The effect on residence permit and citizenship

The wife or husband, or common-law wife or husband, or a registered partner of a Finnish citizen or a citizen of another country living in Finland may be granted a residence permit for Finland. They can get a permanent residence permit when the marriage has lasted five years.

Read more about the subject on the InfoFinland web page Residence permit for a spouse.

Finnish citizenship cannot be gained through marriage.

A marriage made abroad is registered at a Local Register Office

A marriage entered into abroad is not official in Finland until it has been registered here.

If the marriage has taken place abroad, a legalised and translated certificate of the marriage must be presented to a Local Register Office for registering. A Finnish citizen living abroad can also send the marriage documents to the local Finnish Diplomatic Mission, which then supplies the documents to a Local Register Office in Finland.

Basic information about persons living in Finland is recorded in the Population Information System. This information includes, for example, name, date of birth, citizenship, family relations and address. The law stipulates that a foreigner must present the same information for the register as Finnish citizens if their stay in Finland continues for at least a year.

linkkiLocal Register Office:
The form "Information about foreign fiancé/fiancée"Finnish | English