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Is a name declaration required?


If the parents are married when the child is born

If the parents are married to each other when the child is born and they have a common family name (married name), the child automatically receives this name as the maiden name. A name declaration according to German law is not required (ยง 1616 BGB). If a married name was declared during or after a marriage in Germany, this must be proven by a German marriage certificate or name certificate.

In cases where the parents are married to each other but do not have a common married name, the parents must submit a name declaration so that the child is given a maiden name. However, if you have already made a name declaration for a sibling and have chosen German law and the name of the father or mother, this choice of name also automatically applies to all other children without the need for a new name declaration. In these cases, submit proof of the name declaration for the sibling when applying for a passport.

If the parents are not married when the child is born

A child whose parents are not married to each other at birth is usually given the mother's surname at birth if the mother has sole custody at birth. If this family name is desired, no further name declaration is required. If the parents want a different family name, the name can be changed by declaring the name.

If the child's parents are not married to each other but have joint custody, a name declaration is usually required. For joint custody, an acknowledgment of paternity that is effective for German law is required.

Choice of foreign naming rights

A double name as a combination of the parents' two surnames is not permitted as a family name for the child under German law. However, if one of the parents has a different nationality than the German, the parents can also choose the law of the foreign parent's home country for the name of the child. The child's maiden name is then determined according to the provisions of the home law of the foreign parent, so that a double name (or any other combination) is possible if foreign law allows this. In this case, the name declaration does not extend to other children.

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The choice of US law can currently be made due to pending legal proceedings in this area and the associated legal uncertainty not recommended become. In this context, the responsible registry offices are currently examining whether US naming law, which allows fantasy names without any recognizable family connection as a family name, can still be selected. It is irrelevant whether a fantasy name has actually been determined in the individual case. The processing of applications with the choice of US naming rights is therefore suspended by the registry offices until a further court decision on the above question is available. Unfortunately, the duration of this procedure cannot be foreseen.

Name acquired in a member state of the European Union

Since January 29, 2013, a new legal regulation has been in place (Article 48 EGBGB), according to which surnames acquired during a habitual residence in an EU country and entered in a civil status register there are recognized for the German legal area, provided this does not contradict the essential principles of German naming law. If such a name is chosen for a child, a name declaration must be submitted.

The name is in no way automatically taken from the foreign birth certificate. As a rule, this can be used to declare the child's surname (also a double name) entered in the European birth certificate as the maiden name. A name declaration according to Art. 48 EGBGB does not extend to other children, i.e. a name declaration must be submitted for each child.

What do we need to fill in?

Download the statement here:

Name declaration German, barrier-free

Name declaration bilingual, not barrier-free

Please print out the declaration form and fill it out carefully (please use Not only capital letters, as this can lead to different spellings).

Instead of a name declaration, you can also have the birth of your child certified in the birth register at the responsible registry office in Germany and apply for a German birth certificate. The application form for the birth announcement includes the name declaration.

How is the declaration to be submitted?

The registry office at the child's last place of residence in Germany or, if the child has never lived in Germany, the last place of residence of a parent is responsible for processing your declaration. If neither the child nor both parents had a domestic residence at any time, the registry office I in Berlin is responsible.

The German diplomatic missions in the USA, on the other hand, do not process declarations themselves but, if you wish, forward them to the responsible registry office. However, the German diplomatic missions abroad can advise you on the consequences of the declaration of your name in the German legal field. You also have the option of your declaration directly to be sent to the responsible registry office. The signatures then have to be certified by a notary, for example.

Should you have to submit your declaration through a German diplomatic mission abroad both custodial parents personally Be present at the appointment, as your signatures must be certified on the declaration form. If your child is 14 years old or older, the child's presence is also required. For general information on naming declarations for children of legal age, please click here.

Which documents are required?

If you use the declaration formdirectly send to the registry office, please submit a fully completed Declaration form as well as the documents below as certified copy or original to the registry office. Copies can be certified by the embassy / consulate general or by Notary Public, see information sheet.

If, on the other hand, you submit your declaration via a German diplomatic mission abroad, please submit it two fully completed Declaration forms as well as the documents below as certified copy (+1 set of simple copies) or in the original (+2 sets of simple copies) in front.

  • American Birth certificate of the child (if the child's place of birth is only given as "county" in the birth certificate, in addition a "proof of birth letter" from the hospital or a so-called "long form" of the birth certificate)
  • marriage certificate of the parents (issued by the "Registrar / Clerk of the Court")
  • Passports both parents; for non-US citizens residence permit (visa or green card)
  • Birth certificates both parents
  • if the parents were not married to each other when the child was born, proof of an effective acknowledgment of paternity
  • in the case of dual citizenship, US naturalization certificate and retention permit
  • if applicable, German naturalization certificate or citizenship certificate
  • if applicable, divorce decree or death certificate
  • If applicable, de-registration certificate from Germany

This list consists of documents that usually have to be presented. Please note that it is up to the registrar responsible to decide on the form of the documents (original / certified copy; with / without translation; with / without apostille). It is therefore advisable to contact the registry office at your last German place of residence in advance in order to clarify these questions and to avoid delays in processing. The German diplomatic missions abroad are unfortunately unable to make any statements on these questions.

What does the name declaration cost?

When you make an appointment at the diplomatic mission abroad, you initially only pay the fee for the Certification of your signatures as well as the copies brought along. These can be paid in cash in US dollars at the current exchange rate or with a credit card in euros (Visa or Mastercard):

Authentication of the signatures on the declaration form

25.00 EUR

Certification of copies of the required documents up to 10 pages

every additional page

10.00 EUR

1.00 EUR

It is recommended to have a certificate of the validity of the name declaration issued as proof for future passport applications. The fee for the exhibition is paid by the respective registry office individually set and is usually around 12.00 euros.

Payment of this fee can be Not be done at a diplomatic mission abroad, but must be done directly to the responsible registry office. After receiving your declaration form, you will receive a payment request from the registry office.

How long does it take to process the name declaration?

The processing time depends heavily on the responsible registry office and varies from place to place.

The processing time for Registry office I in Berlin is currently at around due to the still increasing number of applications two to three months. As soon as the child's name has been confirmed, a German passport can be issued.

Which diplomatic mission is responsible for us?

Please use the interactive consulate finder to find out which of the nine German diplomatic missions in the USA is responsible for you, the correct postal address of the diplomatic mission or whether you need an appointment for submitting the name declaration.