Establishment of paternity

A decision of paternity issued and valid in a foreign country is, as a rule, recognised in Finland without a separate legal establishment. The competent authority is the Local Register Office.

As a rule, paternity should be confirmed in the child's country of residence in accordance with the legislation in the country in question. When a decision of paternity issued in a foreign country is valid in that country it can be recognised in Finland without a separate legal establishment.

A decision on paternity refers to a decision by a court of law or other authority and the confirmation or registration of a legal act that establishes the relation between the child and man as one of paternity in the country in which the registration or other act took place.

Where necessary, the Helsinki District Court may confirm, by application, whether a decision on paternity issued in a foreign country is recognised in Finland.

A child born outside marriage having a Finnish mother


If the child is born out outside marriage, the child’s paternity must be first confirmed, and only after that it can be added in the Finnish Population Register, i.e. the child’s father can be registered in Finland.

A paternity confirmation can be, for instance, a ruling issued by a court or another state authority, as well as a confirmation or registration of a legal action. A U.S. birth certificate cannot be considered a valid paternity confirmation.

The U.S. paternity decision must be legalized with an Apostille certificate and must be attached to the birth registration. You will find instructions for obtaining the Apostille certificate by following this link. The authority in charge of issuing paternity decisions varies by state.