Podcast 🎧 & blog: In a digital marriage – love, law, and a new e-service in Ukraine

18.10.2023 | Federico Plantera

Times of digital love, those we live in – as Daft Punk stated too. Practically, the entire supply chain of romance has somehow been impacted by societal digital transformation. Instant messaging, dating apps. So why not take online as well all the boring bureaucratic steps that would lead to the “yes, I do”.

A podcast episode on love, war times, and digital services. All elements that coexist in the roll-out of the marriage application e-service, a reality in Estonia and now also in Ukraine. Tune in for peak digital romance tales with Ihor Podolskyi, Administrative Assistant, and Anton Yermakov, Communication Expert at the e-Governance Academy.

Podolskyi recently used the service first-hand, while Yermakov shed light on the ins and outs of making digital marriage application a reality in Ukraine.


A journey through the new digital marriage application

Podolskyi embarked on the journey of using Ukraine’s digital marriage application service during significant challenges – namely, the ongoing Russian aggression to the country. The primary motivation behind his choice to use the digital service was the desire to marry his long-time partner, naturally. So why not doing it swiftly and efficiently, despite the obstacles created by the ongoing crisis.

“We thought that it may take quite a long time because you need to go to different administrative service centers, you have to sit in the queues, and then wait for months just to be registered. When I heard about the official release of the service, I decided to register online. Using the service developed by the people you work with is sort of exciting and encouraging, especially when they support you as it was with us,” Podolskyi says.

In Yermakov’s eyes, Podolskyi’s experience reflects well the digital marriage application’s ability to streamline complex processes, allowing couples to circumvent traditional bureaucratic hurdles. This makes the service better accessible and a practical solution in line with the more general plans of the Ukrainian government to make easier interacting with the public administration, even in war times.


A curious case, within a coherent digitalisation strategy

Elaborating on the origins of the digital marriage application service, Yermakov highlights Ukraine’s commitment to digitalisation. This initiative, in fact, was set in motion long before the current geopolitical challenges. The service is part of Ukraine’s broader goal to digitise 100% of its public services, aligning with a strategic vision to enhance citizen-centric and proactive service delivery.

Moreover, the ongoing war in Ukraine has underscored the service’s importance, given that marriage is not just a personal milestone but can also affect legal and administrative matters during times of crisis. The ability to swiftly change legal statuses in emergencies, such as military registration and access to critical information, has made this service especially relevant in today’s context.

The significant traction gained by the digital marriage application serves as further proof of that. On the first day of its launch on 27 February 2023, approximately 300 couples registered, and during the beta test phase, 900 couples participated. To provide context, “this means that every seventh couple got married online in Ukraine since the service roll-out,” signifying the service’s immediate popularity and effectiveness.


Service development and key players

On challenges and the development process of the digital marriage application, Yermakov reveals that legal changes were necessary to pave the way for digitalisation, and this required patience for the legislation to evolve. Collaboration with existing marriage registration centers and the willingness of these centers to adapt to new digital processes have been critical in enhancing the user experience.

“But the service has been up and running for seven months already, thanks as well to the contributions of eGA experts that are working on it within EU4DigitalUA project funded by the European Union. Stay tuned because EU4DigitalUAstill has some interesting aces up its sleeve, and with the new DT4UA project, even more interesting and revolutionary e-services are coming,” Yermakov says.

Ukraine’s digital marriage application represents a significant leap in transforming traditional processes into a modern, efficient, and user-centric system. Despite the wartime conditions the country faces, the service reflects a commitment to digitalisation and an impressive response to the changing needs of citizens. It also highlights the importance of international collaboration and the contributions of dedicated professionals in driving innovation.

Digital marriage applications are not only a practical response to a changing world, but also a symbol of resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity. Can love help overcome all obstacles, including bureaucracy, with the help of digitalisation? In Ukraine, and Estonia too, it does seem the case.