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

Carimbo sobre documentos de divórcio

Carimbo sobre documentos de divórcio, © picturedesk.com


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.

You have a name from a former marriage, are divorced by now, and would like to go back to your maiden name or the name you carried before your marriage?

In order to change your name, you have to give a name declaration in accordance with German law. You can apply for a new passport under the new name only after you have received certificate confirming the change of name.

Please note: If you were divorced outside of Germany, the foreign divorce decree has to be acknowledged by a German court before you give any name declarations. Until then, your divorce is not considered valid according to German law. You can find more information here: Recognition of a foreign divorce decree

What do I need to fill out?

Download the application form here:
Application Form

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

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:

  • Valid German passport of the applicant
  • If last German passport was issued in Germany: Proof of de-registration (Abmeldebescheinigung)
  • Birth certificate (If born in the U.S.: “long form”/“registration of life birth”)
  • Official marriage certificate (marriage certificates issued by religious institutions or marriage license / proof of solemnization of marriage are not sufficient - marriage must have been registered with the court)
  • Official, absolute divorce decree or divorce order
  • If applicable: proof of recognition of the divorce by a German court (if divorce order was ruled outside of Germany, the divorce always has to be recognized by a German court)
  • Valid Permanent Residence card or valid visa for the U.S.

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. 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 € 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 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.

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