Getting married in Finland, a check list
Are you getting married? This page contains information on the investigation of impediments to marriage, deciding on a surname, wedding types and premarital agreements.
Examination of impediments to marriage
Before getting married you must request, in writing, an examination of possible impediments to your marriage. In the examination of impediments, the authorities clarify whether there are impediments to the marriage according to Finnish law.
You can request an examination of impediments from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. The examination must be requested in writing and in person. The examination takes approximately a week. When it is ready, you will receive a certificate. It is valid for four months. The examination certificate has to be taken along to the marriage ceremony.
The Digital and Population Data Services Agency examines any impediments to the marriage based on the information registered in the Finnish Population Information System. If there is no information about your marital status in the Finnish Population Information System, you must submit a marital status certificate (siviilisäätytodistus), provided by the authorities of your home country, to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. You can also obtain the certificate from the embassy or consulate of your home country in Finland.
If neither spouse is a Finnish citizen or lives in Finland, they must, in addition to the marital status certificates, submit to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency a clarification on whether the legislation in their home country allows them to get married in Finland.
Please note that it may take several weeks to examine the impediments if certificates from other countries are required.
Legalisation and translation of certificates
Foreign certificates usually have to be legalised and translated into Finnish, Swedish or English. The translation must also be legalised. If the translation is done by a translator authorised by Finland or another EU state, the translation does not need to be legalised.
Certificates provided by an authority of a Nordic or EU country do not need to be legalised. A certificate granted by an embassy or a consulate located in Finland does not need to be legalised, either.
If the certificate has been granted by an authority of an EU country and is supplemented with the form EU 2016/1191, the certificate does not need to be translated.
Digital and Population Data Services AgencyRequest for an examination of impediments to marriageLink redirects to another website
Deciding on the family name
In Finland, spouses can change their last name when they get married.
When you get married, you can
- keep your current last name
- adopt your spouse’s last name 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.
The spouses can also apply for a completely new name as their common last name. The new last name must be applied for at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. The application is subject to a fee.
A last name which one of the spouses has gained in a previous marriage cannot be chosen.
Choose a last name with your spouse already before requesting an examination of the impediments to marriage. If you wish to change your last name, notify the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. If you do not report that you wish to change your last name, your last name will stay as it is.
The marital contract is voluntary. With a marital contract, the marital right of each spouse to the other spouse’s property can be excluded partly or entirely in case of divorce or the death of either spouse. A marital contract can be made before or during marriage. Both spouses must sign the marital contract, and two witnesses must verify that the signatures are correct. The marital contract must be registered at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency in order to enter into force.
More information on the spouses’ property is available on the InfoFinland page Rights and obligations of spouses.
Choosing a manner of marriage ceremony
Civil marriages are performed at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency or District Court. Religious marriage ceremonies are performed in a church or other religious community that has the right to perform marriage ceremonies.
Both spouses must be present at the marriage ceremony. Furthermore, at least two witnesses who have reached 15 years of age must be present.
Book a time for the ceremony at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency or District Court well before the date of the marriage ceremony. A civil marriage ceremony is free of charge if it takes place during office hours on the premises of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency or District Court. The ceremony can also be performed elsewhere, such as at home or in a banquet hall. In this case, it is subject to a fee. Everyone is entitled to a civil marriage, including those who are members of a religion
Religious marriage ceremony
Every religious community determines for itself as to what stipulations are related to and what kind of an event the wedding ceremony is. If you wish to have a religious marriage ceremony, make the arrangements with the religious community in question.