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 a child who is of age already (18 years or older).
Is a name declaration necessary? What options do I have?
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.
The child who is over 18 years old may only choose the last name of the mother or the last name of the father as his or her birth name according to German law. A double last name combining the parents’ last names is not possible anymore. This option is only available to children who are still under 18 years old.
What do I need to fill out?
Download the application form here:
Please print out the application form and complete it carefully (do not use block capital letters because this could result in deviating spellings!).
Besides doing a name declaration, it is also possible to additionally register the birth of the child in the register of births at the competent registrar’s office (“Standesamt”) in Germany and have a German birth certificate issued. For general information on registering the birth of a child, please click here: Registration of a Birth
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:
- US birth certificate of the child
- if the place of birth has been mentioned as a county only, please additionally add a “proof of birth letter” issued by the hospital
- marriage certificate of the parents (the registrar’s office I in Berlin needs the marriage certificate issued by the registrar/clerk of the court)
- passports of the parents; for Non-US citizens proof of legal status in the US (visa or Green Card)
- birth certificates of the mother and the father
- if applicable, “Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis”
The Registrar’s Offices in Germany have the right to request apostilles and translations of all foreign documents. It is up to the discretion of the competent Registrar’s Office whether the documents are accepted with or without an apostille and translation.
Based on the experiences of the German Missions in the U.S., depending on the individual Registrar’s Office, the requirements for the documents that have to be submitted vary considerably. This applies to how the documents are being certified (notarized by a U.S. Notary Public or a German Consular Officer), as well as to what kind of documents need to be presented (certified copies or originals/with or without an apostille/with or without a translation into German). In order to expedite the processing of your application, we recommend that you contact the appropriate Registrar’s Office in Germany prior to submitting your application. This would also include inquiring about the possibility of sending the documents directly to the Registrar’s Office without involving the German Missions.
What does it cost?
The signature must be certified on the application form. The signature certification can be done either by a notary public or at the competent German mission if the child is present. 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).
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 € 12.00 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 set by each registrar’s office individually and is normally € 12.00 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 from 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 a German passport 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.