Name Declaration after Dissolution of a Marriage (divorce or death of a spouse)

Heart with barbed wire Enlarge image Divorce (© dpa/pa) The name of a German citizen does not change automatically by divorce or death of a spouse. After the dissolution of a marriage, it is possible to change the last name back to the birth name or a previous married name by name declaration. 

Effective November 1, 2017, there is a change in German law concerning the jurisdiction of registrar's offices for the registration of birth and further family matters. To read more, please click chere:  Jurisdiction of registrar's offices (Nov 1, 2017)

Please note that a name change by US court order is not valid for German citizens!

What do I need to fill out?

Form for Name Declaration after Dissolution of a Marriage [pdf, 255.51k]

Please print out the application form and complete it carefully (do not use block capital letters because this could result in deviating spellings!).

In case you got divorced outside of Germany, the divorce will first have to be recognized in Germany by the competent court before you can reassume your birth name or previous last name. For example: If you got divorced in the US, your divorce will not automatically be recognized in Germany, even if you are a dual citizen.

For divorces in EU member states (except divorces in Denmark) you can order the certificate referred to in Article 39 of the Council Regulation (EC) No. 2201/2003 of November 27, 2003 concerning judgments in matrimonial matters from the court which issued the divorce decree, if the application for the divorce was filed after March 1, 2001. This certificate along with the divorce decree absolute are recognized EU-wide as sufficient proof of a valid divorce.

For information on the recognition of a divorce, please click here: Divorce recognition (in German language only)

What documents do I need?

In addition to the completed application form, the following documents have to be submitted as certified copies with one set of simple copies:

  • your passport; for Non-US citizens proof of legal status in the US (visa or Green Card)
  • your birth certificate
  • your marriage certificate (the Registry Office I in Berlin requires a marriage certificate issued by the registrar/clerk of the court)
  • divorce decree absolute or death certificate of your spouse
  • if applicable, name declaration certificate as proof of your married name (“Ehename”) issued by a German Registrar’s Office
  • if applicable, proof of divorce recognition (“Scheidungsanerkennung”) in Germany
  • in case of dual citizenship, US Naturalization Certificate with "Beibehaltungsgenehmigung"
  • if applicable, German Naturalization Certificate or “Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis”
  • if applicable, deregistration from Germany („Abmeldebescheinigung”)

If the documents to be submitted are not in German or English, a translation must additionally be submitted. Further documents may be required on an individual basis.

What does it cost?

Your signature must be certified on the application form (please sign the application form with your current legal name!). The certification of a signature can be done either by a notary public or at the competent German mission. The fee for the signature certification at the German missions is € 25.00 and can be paid in cash at the daily exchange rate in US dollars or by credit card in euros (Visa or Mastercard only).

Euro Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/chromorange) The registrar’s office in Germany requires the submission of certified photocopies of the supporting documents. Copies may be certified by a notary public. Please ensure that the notary public him-/herself states on the document that the copy corresponds with the original (certified true copy). Alternatively, the copies may also be certified for a fee of € 10.00 at the German missions, if the documents are submitted in original with two sets of copies. The fee can be paid in cash at the daily exchange rate in US dollars or by credit card in euros (Visa or Mastercard only).

Once the application is complete, it is forwarded to the competent registrar’s office in Germany, where it will be processed.

A certificate about the validity of the name declaration can be ordered, which is recommended for future passport applications. The fee for the issuance is € 10.00 each. The registrar’s office will forward the necessary account information upon receipt of the application.

How long will it take to process the name declaration?

The processing time depends on the registrar's office and varies from city to city.

Given the ever increasing number of applications, please be advised that processing at the Registrar’s Office I in Berlin usually takes two to three months. Once the last name has been confirmed the German passport with the new name can be issued.

Where do I have to go?

To find out which of the nine German missions in the US is responsible for you, the correct mailing address or whether you need an appointment to personally submit the application, please use our interactive consulate finder.

German Missions in the United States

Consulate Finder

Nine German Missions throughout the US offer consular services. Each Mission covers a specific geographic region. To find out which Mission can assist you, please use our Consulate Finder.