German Law Governing the Use of Names
German nationals are subject to German law with respect to the use of a name. The possible names which may be used under German law may deviate from those entered in American vital records or identification documents.
Use of a Name in a Marriage
From the German perspective, each spouse is subject to the law of his/her native country with respect to the use of a name (Art. 10 (1) Introductory Act to the German Civil Code).
This means that the German spouse is subject solely to German law with respect to the use of his/her name. The name he/she uses does not change if no application for name change is submitted upon or after marriage. If a common family name (married name) has been selected, this name will extend to common children who have not yet reached five years of age. No deadline applies in this case.
Further information about changing a family name
Form for a Name Declaration in a Marriage [pdf, 16.77k]
You will find additional regional information on the website of the German mission in the United States that is responsible for your district (currently not available for all German foreign missions). To find out which mission is responsible for your district, please use our consulate finder.
Please Note: Although the information on this website has been prepared with utmost care, we can not accept any responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein.