The name of a German national is governed by German law. If a child of German parents is born outside of Germany, the child's last name is not automatically evident according to German law, even if in the foreign (e.g. Australian birth certificate of the child a surname is already indicated. in certain situations, a child might not automatically have a last name in German law. In these cases, the parents have to do a name declaration.
1. The parents were married when the child was born
A child whose parents were married at the time of the child’s birth and who bear a married name (Ehename) will obtain the parents’ married name as birth name. No name declaration is needed. If the parents got married outside of Germany and made a name declaration abroad please email us in advance to check if this married name might be recognised.
In cases where the parents were married, but do/did not have a married name,the child did not automatically acquire a birth name - even if the child has already been registered abroad under a certain name.
If the child is now 18 years or older, he/she can choose the mother's name or the father's name as his/her birth name. The child's name can, however, only be governed by German law. This means that a double name (e.g. father's last name and mother's last name) is not possible.
2. The parents are not married when the child is born
A child whose parents were not married at the time of the child’s birth will have the mother’s surname as birth name. A name change under the Civil Code (BGB) is not possible.
You might be able to change your name under public law. Find more information here:
If you are 18 or older and want to make a name declaration, please make an appointment online:
It is highly recommended to lodge the name declaration as part of an application for a German marriage certificate.
To the appointment, you have to appear in person as we need to certify your signature on the name declaration form. You don't have to bring your parents, but have to bring the documents mentioned below.
At the appointment, the following documents are required as originals and two photocopies each:
- Completed name declaration form (please only fill out the first page of the form and do not sign the declaration yet)
Name declaration form
- Valid passports for both parents (or German identity card/Personalausweis)
- Your German and/or other passport
- Birth certificates of both parents
- Your birth certificate
- If your parents were married at the time of your birth: Their marriage certificate
- if your parents are/ were divorced at the time of your birth: Divorce Order
- Naturalisation certificate and “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung” for naturalised German nationals or “Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis” if you or your parent/s have one
- proof of residence in Australia (e.g. driver's licence)
- German deregistration certificate (Abmeldebescheinigung) from your last German place of residence or current registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung) from your most recent address in Germany
- Translations of foreign documents (usually not required for English or “international” documents, for example international birth certificates)
- Birth certificates of all other children of the parents including older siblings
- Name certificates of other children of the parents if applicable
Depending on the case more documents can become necessary or may subsequently be requested by the relevant registry office (Standesamt) in Germany.
It is recommended to contact the competent registrar beforehand in order to find out more about the local requirements.
Two different fees incur;
1) Fees to be paid at your appointment at the (Honorary) Consulate for certifying your signature on the application form (25 EUR) and certifying the copies to be sent to the Registry Office in Germany (10 EUR per document). All fees to be in paid in AUD according to current exchange rate.
2) Fees charged by the Registry Office in Germany for processing your application and issueing a name certificate. These fees are to be paid directly to the Registry Office per bank Transfer, they cannot be paid to the Consulates in Australia. Once your application is processed in Germany, you will receive an email with payment details.