Name declaration and name change
Before a German passport can be issued, the name of a person according to German law must be checked. If a name is listed on a German birth certificate, there are usually no issues. Many times, a birth name according to German law is not automatically the name that is listed on the non-German birth certificate. In such cases, a person might not have a last name yet according to German law and has to declare a name first. Another possibility is that the name in non-German documents is different from the one according German law. Sometimes, a name change according to German law is possible which is done by a separate name declaration.
A name declaration is also needed if a person wants to take on a new family name after marriage or give up a previous family name after a divorce.
Any name changes done by Canadian authorities are not valid for the use in Germany for German citizens and have to be re-done in front of a German authority.
This page provides information for most routine cases presented to the German Missions in Canada. Due to the complexity of the German name law and the multitude of conceivable case scenarios each individual case may have to be treated differently. This information is therefore meant only as an orientation and neither substitutes legal advice based on a detailed case nor does it foreclose the decision of the registrar, which remains reserved in all cases. Should your case not be covered, please contact the competent German mission.
Please be advised that any name declarations only refer to a person’s last name. The first name of a person, unless in exceptional cases, is determined with the birth registration abroad by the parents.
If the parents of a child are not married at the moment of the child’s birth, the paternity of the child’s father can only be established by the acknowledgment of paternity.
Declaration of consent
Parents of a German child born abroad are not legally required to register the birth in Germany. A German birth certificate is not necessary for a passport application and is also no proof of German citizenship.
You were married outside of Germany and would like to change your name after marriage?
To change your name according to German law, a name declaration is required. You can apply for a new passport under the married name only after you have received the name certificate stating your new name.
Name change after marriage
You have a name from a former marriage, are divorced by now, and would like to go back to your maiden name or the name you carried before your marriage? In order to change your name, you have to give a name declaration in accordance with German law.
Name change after divorce