Marrying and Sponsoring a Finnish Citizen
Marriage to a Finnish Citizen
Every country has laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a Finnish citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps. The Finnish government imposes strict requirements on foreigners who marry Finns as an indirect way of discouraging Finnish citizens from moving to other countries.
You must demonstrate to Finnish officials that they are not currently married to anyone else – either you have never been married, or all divorces are finalized – that your identity is proven and that you have never committed any crimes in Finland. This is done by providing various documents, including an Affidavit of Single Status, to the Finnish government either in Finland or via a Finnish embassy.
If you want to bring your Finnish spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our eTA article.
Finnish Marriage Basic Requirements
Before getting married in Finland, several conditions must be met in order to be legally married and issued with a marriage license or certificate. These are:
- Visa (if applicable)
- Divorce decree if married before
- Certificate of no impediment, meaning no reason to stop the marriage
- 2 witnesses
When all the documents and conditions are met, the next step is to go to the registrar’s office and make an appointment for the wedding.
The chosen names must be submitted to the registrar. The couple is interviewed to make sure the marriage is not condemned by other people.
Same sex marriage is permitted through registered partnerships which allow custody over children.
If your Finnish spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Finnish Marriage document application.
If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a Finnish citizen.
List of Finnish Consulates in Canada
Calling Finland from Canada
- The exit code for Canada is 011
- The calling code for Finland is 358
- Dial 011 – 358 – area code – local number
Area Codes for Major Centres of Finland (landlines only)
Cell phones use the prefix 4x or 50.
Calling Canada from Finland
- The international dialling code is 00
- The calling code for Canada is 1
- Dial 00 – 1 – area code – local numbers
List of Area Codes in Canada
|Alberta||403 / 587 (southern Alberta)
587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)
|BC||236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)
236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)
|Ontario||226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)
249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)
289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)
343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)
416 / 647 (Toronto)
807 (northwestern Ontario)
|Manitoba||204 / 431||PEI||782 / 902|
|New Brunswick||506||Quebec||418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)
438 / 514 (Montreal)
450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)
819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)
|Newfoundland and Labrador||709||Saskatchewan||306 / 639|
|Nova Scotia||782 / 902|
Finland is in Eastern European Time (GMT+2). They observe Daylight Saving Time but due to a difference between Europe and North America in this practice, there are a few weeks each year when the time difference changes (during late October and late March). Please note that Saskatchewan does not participate in DST so please add an hour to the time difference in the summer.
|Canadian Time Zone||# of Hours Finland is Ahead|
|Pacific (BC, Yukon)||10 hours|
|Mountain (Alberta, western Nunavut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan)||9 hours|
|Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario, Saskatchewan)||8 hours|
|Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec)||7 hours|
|Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec)||6 hours|
The official currency of Finland is the Euro which is used in other 27 member states. The predecessor currency before the Euro was the Markka which was discontinued in 2002.
The Euro is the second largest currency in the world after the American dollar with more than 700 Billion Euros in circulation.
Coins are distributed in denominations of 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2 and bank notes are distributed in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500.
The euro is distributed by the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), which is comprised of the European Central Bank (ECB) and a combination of Eurozone central banks.
The headquarters are in Frankfurt, Germany and the ECB is the sole authority that sets monetary policy.
Emergency Information for Canadians in Finland
Embassy of Canada in Helsinki
Telephone: 358 (9) 228-530
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In the ancient times in Finland, young people got married when they were young 14 years for boys and 13 for girls.
Nowadays marriage occurs when the couples are a little older 18 years but in some cases parents can allow a woman to get married at 17.
In the old times, a formal proposal of marriage was a discreet affair to cushion rejection. The proposal was usually made at dusk except in Karelia where the whole village was involved and there were lots of festivities.
The suitor was accompanied by a spokesman who was an older person and a friend of the man’s family. In Karelia it was the suitor’s father or a relative.
At the meeting when the girl made her appearance, a bottle of liquor and gifts like money, a ring, scarf, etc. were given, if the proposal was rejected then the gifts could be returned.
If the marriage proposal was accepted, the girl and her parents visited the suitor’s home. The future daughter-in-law would also stay with the future in-laws for a week to help with the household work.
Preparing for Marriage
It used to be the custom after the proposal for the bride and an older woman to visit relatives and neighbours in order to collect gifts like linen, wool, cloth, and money.
In western Finland the house that was to be used as the wedding venue was decorated with arches, maypole and flags. The walls of the feast room were draped with woven fabrics and mirrors, garlands and wreaths.
It was still customary in the 19th century for the bride, and sometimes the groom, to take a sauna bath in the evening on the eve of the wedding day.
Most weddings were done in October, November and December. In eastern Finland weddings consisted of two parts mainly the party at the bride’s home and the wedding feast in the bridegroom’s home.
In western Finland and some parts of Ostrobothnia the actual wedding ceremony took place in either home.
The first part of the wedding was held at the bride’s home. The relatives of the bride and groom gathered in separate groups and the groom’s party went to the bride’s home in the evening.
Two of the groom’s friends went ahead as peace-seekers. When the groom’s party arrived, the spokesman explained the reason for their mission.
The groom then had to look for the bride who would probably be somewhere in the house. After a joint meal the wedding festivities began that night at the groom’s home.
The marriage was done in the wedding room, in the centre of the room stood two stools on a rya rug. During the ceremony the bridesmaids and pages held a red or sometimes white canopy over the heads of the couple.
Brides in the 18th and 19th centuries were married in their local costumes but by the 19th century they began to wear black dresses.
After the ceremony the guests were served wine and toasts were made to wish the couple well. There was plenty of food for guests which was washed down with coffee that was served much later.
After the meal, the bride and groom were first to take the floor to officially open the dance floor. Then the male guests danced with the bride and the groom danced with the females.
In Ostrobothnia the bride was given money after the dance. The bridal pair, spokesman, folk musicians and wedding guests made a trip to the groom’s house.
The bride’s head and upper body were covered by a veil as a symbol of purity. The bride brought her chest full of presents to present to the groom’s relatives. In some places it was the custom after the arrival to lift the bride and place her on a cushion or mat then carry her into the house.
On the first evening the bridal couple was escorted to the bridal bed although his custom wasn’t widespread in western Finland and was slowly abandoned.
Rutabaga is a Swedish tulip like vegetable consumed in the Scandinavian countries. This dish is by cutting the rutabaga into cubes and sautéing it in butter and brown sugar or pancake syrup.
This is a Finnish cranberry whip that is served as dessert on any occasion including wedding reception. It is made from cranberries simmered in water and mixed with granulated sugar and farina.
These traditional fritters are one of the many Finnish delights served as dessert on many occasions and festivals.
They resemble American funnel cakes and they are made from eggs, butter and vanilla.
Onion Soup with Crust
This is the Finnish version of the French onion version but has a crust. When the soup is ready it is poured into a casserole and covered with bread slices then sprinkled with cheese before baking.
This pie has a crust, filling and glaze in one. The filling is made with mushrooms, butter, thyme and cheese.
The crust is made with flour, baking powder, sour cream and butter. The glaze is an egg. This is a great dessert recipe for a wedding reception.
This is a carrot soup cream made from beef broth, brandy, butter, flour, milk and nutmeg. The carrots are cooked into a broth together with the brandy, stock and the other ingredients.
It can be served with bread as a main dish or starter in a wedding reception or party.
This vegetarian salad is a famous Christmas delight but can also be served at other occasions like wedding receptions.
Beetroot, carrots, potatoes and apples are cooked before they are dressed with whip cream.
This famous bread is baked with cardamom seeds and can be served as a snack or breakfast.
Blueberry Yoghurt Pie
This pie is made with blueberries, yoghurt and vanilla extract. Because of the tangy taste sugar can be added to balance the flavour. This pie is served as dessert or snack.
Dried whole peas are used to make this soup together with ham that has bone. Soup is a great starter or appetizer before the main course at any event or function.
This dish is made with mushrooms cooked in heavy cream butter and stock. It can be served with pasta, beef or other foods as an entrée.
Potatoes and anchovy fillets are fried together with onions and heavy cream and dill. This dish is usually served as an entrée or starter on special occasions like wedding receptions.
This is delicious Finnish cinnamon rolls made with ground cardamom.
This is a Finnish cocktail made from Vodka, grapefruit and ice. This is the perfect cocktail to serve at special occasions like wedding parties and other celebrations.
Dijon Pork Loin with Cognac Cream Sauce
This is a delicious dish made with pork loins marinated with cream sauce and cognac.
Finnish Bologna and Vegetable Casserole
This is a healthy vegetarian casserole made with carrots, leeks, peas, cauliflower and bologna cut up into chunks.
A la Kolibri
This is a classic Finnish alcoholic drink served hot. A variety of ingredients are used from Vodka to ginger to cardamom seeds.
This is a perfect drink to get any party going from wedding reception to celebrations of any kind.
This is a Finnish sour cream cake made with sour cream and cinnamon; almonds can be added for flavour.
This is a Finnish rice pudding baked cake made by mixing rice, milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, and salt then baked in a casserole. Almonds are also added for flavour.
This is a Finnish sweet potato made with potatoes and topped with melted margarine then topped with granulated sugar. It can be served as dessert.
Religion in Finland
Most Finnish are Christians however a small percentage of the population are pagans. The most dominant religion is Lutheran with 77% of the population as followers, second is a group of people with no religion at 20%, Orthodox Church commands 1.1% and Islam 1%.
About 0.5% of the population belongs to unspecified, unknown or undocumented religious groups. According to recent research, 33% of Fins believe there is a God, 42% believe there is some sort of spirit or supernatural power and 22% do not believe in either spirit or in God.
The Evangelical Church in Finland is a successor to the Church of Sweden. Later on an act of government separated Church and state thereby allowing it to have its own legislative body.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is legally a national church as provided in the constitution alongside with the Finnish Orthodox Church.
Finnish society has undergone a general secularization, and Church membership has decreased in recent decades, nevertheless, the Church retains the title of the Church with majority of the population.
This position gives it the right to collect tax from its members on behalf of the governmental. The church also allows its members to join the military, judiciary, or other forms of civil service. But it strictly condemns extra-marital sex.
The Lutheran Church has 9 dioceses and the biggest is the archdiocese Turku which is also the biggest in Finland.
Russian Orthodox Church
In 1809, Finland became a Grand Duchy of Imperial Russia, the Orthodox Church was the Emperor’s church and part Russian state church. Orthodox Church spread to other parts of Finland mainly through Russian soldiers and traders.
In the late 19th century, attempts were made to try and use the Orthodox Church as a vehicle for Justification, however after the Russian Revolution which saw Finland attain independence in 1917, the church’s ties with the Patriarchate of Moscow were affected, and in 1923 it received autonomous status under the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
During World War 2 the Orthodox Church lost its monasteries and 90% of its assets, and more than two-thirds of its members had to flee their homes.
There is freedom of worship in Finland according to the constitution, the different religions and religious groups all co-exist peacefully.
Apart from the major religions, others are Islam that was introduced in the late 19th Century by the Tatar merchants from Russia.
Pietism is a religion that has an emphasis on individual conversion and a journey to personal spirituality. It has an appeal to the emotions, this religion gained a reasonable following at the beginning of the 18th century.
Romantic, Scenic and Historic Places in Finland
Attractions and Historic Sites
Aleksanterin teatteri – Helsinki
This is performing arts theater in the downtown in Helsinki 10 minutes’ walk from the railway station.
Hameenlinna – Helsinki
Hame is a castle in Kustaa in Helsinki that has accommodation as well. Visitors can expect to learn a bit about the history of the castle as well as Finnish ancient history.
Kaisaniemen Puisto – Helsinki
This is the oldest public park in Helsinki popular for concerts, evening walks and hikes. It is also located a few minutes’ walk from the city center.
Kaivopuisto – Helsinki
This is a recreational and Wellness Park located South of Puistok in Helsinki. The park is also a historical site with scenic views that carry the history of Finland.
Pihlajasaar – Helsinki
These are islands that have parks, recreational areas and outdoor adventures.
Seurasaari – Helsinki
This is an open air museum on an island outside of Helsinki. Activities offered are hikes, walks and cultural artefacts that contain the history of Finland. This place is rich in history dating back to the 1600s. Some of the attractions include an old style church. There are tour guides in every house on the island dressed in peasant clothing ready to guide tourist round the island.
Tallink Silja Ferry – Helsinki
This is a cruise ship and ferry that takes tourists on tours of Finland and other places.
Vuosaari – Helsinki
This is a paddling and kayaking facility in Helsinki which is popular with water sports enthusiasts. Couples on a honeymoon can enjoy self -guided adventures on hired canoes and kayaks.
Yrjonkadun – Helsinki
This is a swimming pool that is in a city hall building located in Helsinki, it is a heated pool and patrons can swim naked or with costumes.
However there are different times for men and women.
Espoo Museum of Modern Art – Espoo
Espoo Museum of Modern Art is one of the largest art museums in Finland. The exhibition area is divided in two, one half is a permanent exhibition of a selection from The Saastamoinen foundation art collection and the other half hosts domestic and international exhibitions.
EMMA is located in the Exhibition Center WeeGee in Tapiola, Espoo.
Dianordia Oy – Joulumaanite
This is a landmark in Napapiiri at the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi which is a mythical ‘office’ believed to be Santa’s stop over while globe-trotting the globe to deliver presents.
Sapokka Water Garden – Kotka
This is a beautiful and peaceful garden located in Tallinnankatu where visitors come to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
There are cruises on Lake Paijanne in the summer so couples on a honeymoon in Finland can take advantage and enjoy the sites and views of this Lake.
Brunberg Candy Factory – Poorvoo
This factory is located in Porvoo and is one of the most visited places. Visitors get to learn about the history behind candy making in Finland.
German Soldier’s Cemetery – Rovaniemi
The mausoleum is the resting place for German soldiers who died in the Second World War located 18 km north of Rovaniemi.
Visitors can learn the history behind the war enjoying walks through the green cemetery.
Pilk Science Centre – Rovaniemi
The Pilke Science center is an exhibition that showcases scientific studies that touch on the environment and topics.
SantaPark – Rovaniemi
This is a theme park that is a Christmas holiday destination for the whole family complete with underground caves among other attractions.
Luvattumaa – Sirkka
A one of its kind gallery, Luvattumaa is an architectural wonder because it’s a gallery built of ice. Visitors get to enjoy the ice experience and Finnish hospitality.
Teivon ravirata – Tampere
Teivo is a racing track, the second biggest trotting track in Finland. There is a betting counter and visitors can try their luck and win prizes.
Heureka – Vantaa
Heureka is a science centre in Vantaa Helsinki. There are numerous exhibitions that showcase inventions and scientific discoveries that are interactive.
VM Karting Centre – Vantaa
One of the most fun places to visit in Vantaa, Helsinki is the karting centre. Karting is the perfect activity for couples on a honeymoon in Finland looking for a fun activity to do together or get that adrenaline rush.
Linna Golf Oy – Harviala
Linna is one of the best 18-hole golf courses in Finland located in Vanajanlinnantie. Couples on a honeymoon can enjoy the peace and tranquillity in the country club as well as a lush green environment.
Langinkosken Imperial Fishing Lodge – Kotka
This is a quiet and tranquil location in Kotka, Helsinki away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city, couples can retreat here and enjoy fishing.
Ruka – Rukatunturi
Ruka is a winter sports holiday resort that attracts hiking, skiing and snow-shoeing enthusiasts. Couples on a honeymoon trip in Finland can enjoy the snow-capped mountain views.
This island is a famous tourist destination for outdoor, fishing and camping enthusiasts
Bringing Gifts to Finland
Duty Free Items
From within the EU:
- 800 cigarettes
- 400 cigarillos
- 200 cigars
- 1kg smoking tobacco
- 10 litres of liquor over 22%
- 20 litres of alcoholic beverages less than 22%
- 90 litres of wine, 60 litres of sparkling wine
- 110 litres of beer
From without the EU, for persons over 17 years:
- 1 litre alcohol not exceeding 22% or 80% ethyl alcohol
- 2 litres alcohol not exceeding 22%
- 4 litres still wine
- 16 litres of beer
- Personal items of non-commercial nature worth up to 430 Euros by sea
- Personal items of non-commercial nature worth up to 300 by land
- Personal items of non-commercial nature worth up to 150 for persons under 15 years
- Pets should have identification and vaccination certificate
- Maximum 10 kg of meat, milk and other dairy products from Croatia, Faeroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland
- Powdered milk for babies
- Fish without bowels exceeding 20kgs
- Coats, fur, and leather shoes made from protected animals
- Meat and milk from EU countries except for a few countries
- Protected species and products e.g. ivory
How to Sponsor Your Finnish Spouse to Canada
Sponsoring your Finnish spouse to Canada can be a lengthy and complicated process. To learn more about it, click the button below:
Immigroup will review your completed spousal sponsorship application.. Immigroup will make sure you have not made any mistakes on your application or in gathering the documentation of your relationship. We will assess your sponsorship letter and give you peace of mind that you are submitting an application with a very good chance of success. Don’t lose sleep at night worrying about whether you’ve done enough. Call us at 1-866-760-2623 for a review.