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?
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.
Which documents do I need to complete?
Download the declaration form here:
Please print out the declaration form and complete it carefully . Do not use block capital letters because this could result in deviated spelling.
Besides doing a name declaration, it is also possible to 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.
How do I need to submit the declaration?
The Registrar’s Office in Germany that was your last place of residency is responsible for processing the declaration. If you never resided in Germany, the Registrar’s Office I in Berlin is the appropriate office for processing the declaration.
The German Consular Missions in the U.S. however do not process the declarations, but forward them, upon request, to the appropriate Registrar’s Office in Germany. You however also have the option to send your application directly to the appropriate Registrar’s Office. In this case, your signature would have to be notarized by a U.S. Notary Public.
If you wish to submit your declaration through a German Consular Mission, you need to be present during the appointment, since your signature on the form must be notarized.
What documents do I need?
If you would like to directly submit the declaration to the Registrar’s Office in Germany, please send in one completed declaration form, including the documents mentioned below as notarized copies or in the original. Copies may be notarized by the German Consular Mission or a Notary Public, see information leaflet.
If you would like to submit your declaration through the German Consular Mission, please present two completed declaration forms as well as the documents mentioned below as notarized copies (plus one set of simple copies), or in the original (plus 2 sets of simple copies):
- U.S. passport of the child
- U.S. birth certificate of the child
- if the birth certificate only states the county as place of birth, either a “proof of birth letter” with the town of birth, issued by the hospital must be presented, or a “long-form” of the birth certificate
- marriage certificate of the parents (issued by the “Registrar/Clerk of the Court”)
- passports of both parents; for non-U.S. citizens residence permit (visa or Green Card)
- birth certificates of both parents
- in case of dual citizenship, U.S. Naturalization Certificate and “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung”
- if applicable, German naturalization certificate or “Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis”
- if applicable, divorce decree or death certificate
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 declaration, we recommend that you contact the appropriate Registrar’s Office in Germany prior to submitting your declaration. This would also include inquiring about the possibility of sending the documents directly to the Registrar’s Office without involving the German Missions.
What is the fee for the name declaration?
During your appointment at the Embassy, you initially only pay the fee for notarizing your signature and for notarizing the copies of the supporting documents. You may pay the fee in cash in US-Dollars at the current exchange rate or with credit card (Visa or Mastercard, the amount will be charged in Euros):
|notarization of the signature on the declaration form
notarization of the copies of the required supporting documents, up to 10 copies
each additional copy
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 EUR each.
The fees cannot be paid at the German Consular Mission, but must be settled with the respective Registrar’s Office. The Registrar’s Office will send you a payment request after it received your application.
How long will it take to process the name declaration?
The processing time depends on the Registrar's Office in charge and varies significantly from city to city.
Given the ever increasing number of declarations, 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.
Which German Consular Mission serves my U.S. home state?
To find out which of the nine German Consular Missions in the U.S. serves your U.S. home state, which is the correct mailing address or whether you need to schedule an appointment to submit the declaration in person, please use our interactive consulate finder