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Marriage

Investigation of impediments to marriage

An investigation of the possible impediments to marriage is carried out for all couples planning to marry. This is done to ensure that there are no impediments to the marriage of the couple as specified in the Finnish Marriage Act. Such impediments include an already existing marriage or registered partnership, close family relationship, being under 18 years of age, or an adoptive relationship.

You can request the investigation of impediments to marriage at your local register office. When the impediments to marriage have been investigated, the local register office will provide a certificate of this (Marriage non-impediment certificate). The applicants can have the certificate mailed to them at home, pick it up from the local register office, or have the local register office retain the certificate for the marriage officiation. You will receive the certificate no earlier than on the seventh day after the request for investigation. The certificate is valid for four months. The certificate must be submitted to the officiator before the ceremony.

The investigation can also be conducted by a parish of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church or the Orthodox Church to which both or one of the persons to be married belong.

Impediments to marriage are investigated primarily by means of the information available in the population register. Finnish nationals are obligated to file a notification of any changes to their personal data (i.a. change of marital status) to the population register. If the marital status has been marked in the population register, a statement from a foreign country is not needed for the investigation. However, if a Finnish national has lived all of his/her life or adult life abroad, he/she must deliver a statement of marital status provided by the authorities of his/her latest country of residence. The statement must be authenticated. If required, the statement must be translated, and if the translation is carried out abroad then the translation must also be authenticated.

Request for the investigation of impediments to marriage

You can initiate the investigation of the impediments to marriage using an online form. The use of e-services requires authentication with online banking codes, for example.  After submitting the e-form, the sender receives a delivery number by e-mail, which they should retain.

The parties can also initiate the investigation of impediments by visiting their local register office together and filling in the investigation request form there. The investigation can be conducted by any Finnish register office, regardless of the home municipalities of the couple.

You can also fill in the form at home and post it to the local register office where you will be married. You can order the investigation request form from the register office or print it out from our forms page. If you fill in the request form at home, the signatures of two witnesses are required.

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When a name changes as the result of a marriage

The Names Act is applied to a person who has a place of residence in Finland at the time of marriage. If a person does not have a place of residence in Finland, the surname is determined as per the surname legislation of his/her country of residence. The spouses must present an account of surname legislation of their country of residence if they plan on changing their surnames on the grounds of marriage. If an account is not presented and the foreign surname legislation is not known by the local register office, a common surname cannot be registered in the population register on the grounds of marriage.

If the Finnish Names Act becomes applicable as the spouses choose a common surname, the name of either one of them changes. The name changes if a previous surname is used before the common surname, as well. After the marriage, the name change will be registered in the population register. A couple may notify the local register office of any possible change in surname prior to the marriage by filling out the following Notification of the Choice of Surname Form.

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Marriage of foreigners

Before the marriage ceremony an investigation is carried out concerning possible impediments to marriage. This investigation must be requested at the latest one week before the marriage ceremony. If one of the spouses is a foreigner, this investigation of possible impediments may last several weeks, so it is advisable to start the process in good time.

For the foreigner a statement of marital status from his/her home country is required, or alternatively a statement regarding the foreigner's marital status may be obtained from his/her home country's accredited embassy or consulate located in Finland. The statement of marital status must be authenticated in accordance with the Marriage Decree. The only exceptions to this authentication requirement are those statements issued by officials of Nordic Countries, and those issued by accredited embassies and consulates located in Finland. If required, the statement of marital status must be translated, and if the translation is carried out abroad then the translation must also be authenticated.

Impediments to marriage are investigated primarily by means of the information available in the population register. If the foreign citizen is living permanently in Finland and the required information for investigating impediments to marriage (marital status) is recorded in the Finnish population register, then no statement from a home country official is required. In this situation the impediments to marriage are therefore investigated using only the information from the population register.

If neither of the spouses is a Finnish national and neither of them have a place of residence in Finland, they must present an account stating, that marrying in Finland is allowed in their country of nationality or residence, in addition to the statement of marital status. The statement must be authenticated. If required, the statement must be translated, and if the translation is carried out abroad then the translation must also be authenticated.

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