Name Declaration / Naming Law

German citizens are subject to German law with respect to their use of a name. The possible names which may be used under German law may deviate from those entered in US vital records or identification documents.

Heiratstermin am Silvestertag

Name Declaration for Spouses

The name of a German citizen does not change automatically by marriage alone. Therefore, a name declaration might be necessary before a German passport can be issued in the new name.

Heart with barbed wire

Name Declaration after Dissolution of a Marriage

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

Baby

Name Declaration for a Child

The name of a German citizen is governed by German law, even if his or her last name is already shown on a foreign birth certificate. Therefore, a name declaration might be necessary before a German passport can be issued to your child.

Young people enjoying summer in the park

Name Declaration for a Child 18 years or older

In cases where the parents were married when the child was born, but did not have a common last name (“Ehename”), the child never obtained a birth name according to German law, even if the child has already been registered abroad under a certain last name. Therefore, a name declaration by the child, who is 18 years or older, is necessary.

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.