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Investigation of impediments to marriage

Investigation of impediments to marriage  

An investigation of the possible impediments to marriage is carried out for all couples who are 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. Impediments to marriage are investigated primarily by means of the information available in the population register.

You can request for a marriage impediment investigation at any local register office. Once the impediments to marriage have been investigated, the local register office will issue you a certificate stating that an investigation has been conducted (a Marriage non-impediment certificate). You can specify on your request form whether you want to pick up your certificate from the local register office, have it mailed to your home address, or have it stored at the local register office until the marriage is to be officiated. You will receive your certificate no earlier than seven days after you have submitted your request for the investigation. The certificate is valid for four months. If the original certificate has been delivered to you, you must remember to bring it with you to the ceremony.

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

Finnish nationals are obligated to notify the Finnish Population Information System about any changes to their personal data (e.g. change of marital status) during their stay abroad. If a person’s marital status has not been entered into the Population Information System or the information in the system is incorrect, this information must be updated before the marriage impediment investigation is to take place. A marital status certificate issued by the authorities of the person’s latest country of residence must be delivered for this purpose. In addition, a Finnish national who has lived all of their life or adult life abroad must submit a marital status certificate issued by the authorities of their latest country of residence for the impediment investigation. The certificate must be authenticated. If necessary, the certificate must be translated, and if the translation is carried out abroad, the translation must also be authenticated. In Finland, a translation that has been made by an authorised translator does not need to be authenticated. The original document must be attached to the translation.

More information on the authentication process.

For a list of authorised translators in Finland, select the following link.

 

Marriage comes with various legal effects.

More information on the Marriage Act.

 

More information on how the surname of a spouse and child is determined (in Finnish).

 

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When both fiancé(e)s are Finnish and they are to be married in Finland 

You can initiate the marriage impediment investigation online by using the suomi.fi service. The online service uses strong authentication and requires that you identify yourself with e.g. your online banking credentials. Once you have submitted your request online, the system will provide you with a submission number. Do not lose this number.

You can also initiate the marriage impediment investigation at any local register office. This will require you to confirm your identity with a valid form of identification (passport, identification card or a driver’s licence that has been issued in Finland after 1 October 1990).

You can also fill in the form at home and mail, fax or email it as an attachment to the local register office where the marriage is to take place. If you fill in the request form at home, the signatures of two witnesses are required. Any person who is at least 15 years old can act as a witness.

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When both fiancé(e)s are Finnish and they are to be married abroad 

If you are planning to get married abroad, you should first consult with the authorities of the country in question on what documents are required for the marriage and how they must be authenticated. Several countries require that you present e.g. your birth certificate in addition to an impediment to marriage certificate. Your local register office can provide you with your birth certificates upon request.

Upon your request, your local register office will provide you both with a “Certificate of capacity under Finnish law to contract marriage before a foreign authority”. The certificate is multilingual and can be written in Finnish, English, Swedish, German, French or Spanish. You can request for this certificate by following the procedure outlined in the section titled When both fiancé(e)s are Finnish and they are to be married in Finland. Depending on how you submit your request, remember to inform the local register office about the country where the marriage is to take place in and what language the certificate should be written in in the additional information section, when visiting the local register office, or in the separate cover letter. You will receive your certificates on the next working day and they will be valid for four months.

If your certificates need to be certified with an Apostille certificate, this certification can be attached to the original documents in the local register office. For a list of countries that have joined the Hague Convention and recognise Apostille certificates, see the following site: Hague Convention.

Before the marriage is to take place, remember to check how a marriage certificate that has been issued abroad should be authenticated so that the change in marital status can be registered in the Population Information System in Finland. See Registering a marriage that has been performed abroad in Finland

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When one or both fiancé(e)s are foreigners and they are to be married in Finland 

If you are a foreign national and your marital status has not been registered in the Population Information System, you must submit a marital status certificate issued by the authorities of your country of residence for the impediment investigation. The certificate must be the original copy and under four months old, unless another period of validity has been specified in the certificate. The certificate must be authenticated.

You can also request a marital status certificate from the embassy or consulate of your country of residence. This type of marital status certificate does not need to be authenticated.

Marital status certificates that are in Finnish, English or Swedish are accepted. In other cases, the certificate needs to be translated into one of the aforementioned languages and the translation must also be authenticated. If the translation is made by a translator authorised in Finland, the translation does not need to be authenticated. The original document must be attached to the translation.

If neither of you is a Finnish national and neither of you has a place of residence in Finland, in addition to the marital status certificate, you must also present a statement issued by your country of nationality or residence that proves that you are allowed to marry in Finland. The statement must be authenticated. If necessary, the statement must be translated, and if the translation is carried out abroad, the translation must also be authenticated. If the translation is made by a translator authorised in Finland, the translation does not need to be authenticated. The original document must be attached to the translation.

You must submit the documents to the local register office personally with both parties present, and you will also be required to confirm your identity with a valid form of identification (passport, EU citizen’s identification card or a driver’s licence that has been issued in Finland after 1 October 1990). If the documents are submitted by only one of you, or they are delivered by mail, as a scan in an email or by fax, the request form must be signed by two witnesses. Any person who is at least 15 years old can act as a witness. In such cases, attach a copy of your foreign passport or EU citizen’s identification card. Please note that you must always submit the original copy of your marital status certificates to the local register office. The impediment investigation process can take several weeks for foreign nationals, so we recommend starting the process well ahead of time.

More information on the authentication process.

For a list of authorised translators in Finland, select the following link.

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When a Finn or a foreigner who has lived in Finland for a long period of time on a permanent basis is to be married abroad 

If you are planning to get married abroad, you should first consult with the authorities of the country in question on what documents are required for the marriage and how they must be authenticated. Several countries require that you present e.g. your birth certificate in addition to an impediment to marriage certificate. Your local register office can provide you with your birth certificate upon request.

Upon your request, your local register office will provide you with a “Certificate of capacity under Finnish law to contract marriage before a foreign authority”. The certificate is multilingual and can be written in Finnish, English, Swedish, German, French or Spanish. You can request this certificate by submitting a request form and notification form to your local register office. You will receive your certificate on the next working day and it will be valid for four months.

If your certificates need to be certified with an Apostille certificate, this certification can be attached to the original document in the local register office. For a list of countries that have joined the Hague Convention and recognise Apostille certificates, see the following site: Hague Convention.

Before the marriage is to take place, remember to check how a marriage certificate that has been issued abroad should be authenticated so that the change in marital status can be registered in the Population Information System in Finland. See Registering a marriage that has been performed abroad in Finland.

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Registering a marriage that has been performed abroad in Finland 

To have your marriage recorded in the Finnish Population Information System, you must submit the original authenticated marriage certificate to the local register office in your home municipality. Marriage certificates that are in Finnish, English or Swedish are accepted. In other cases, the certificate needs to be translated into one of the aforementioned languages and the translation must also be authenticated. If the translation is made by a translator authorised in Finland, the translation does not need to be authenticated. The original document must be attached to the translation.

More information on the authentication process.

For a list of authorised translators in Finland, select the following link.

If you live abroad, you can submit the original authenticated marriage certificate to your nearest Finnish mission. Remember to also fill in the Notification of marriage of a Finnish citizen outside Finland form and attach it to the original certificate. The embassy will submit the documents through official channels to Finland.

If you have changed your surname in connection with the marriage and you are about to submit your marriage certificate directly to your local register office, remember to attach the Information for registration of marriage abroad form to your submission.

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