The name of a German national is governed by German law.
If a child of German parents is born abroad, the child's last name is not automatically evident according to German law, even if the foreign (e.g. Australian) birth certificate already contains a surname of the child. Depending on the circumstances, 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 are married when the child is born
A child whose parents are 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 are married, but do not have a married name, the parents will have to make a name declaration in order for the child to obtain a birth name, even if the child has already been registered abroad under a certain name. If the parents have already made a name declaration for the first child, choosing German law and the father’s or mother’s name for their child, all future children will automatically receive this name. No further name declaration is needed. When applying for a passport, please provide the name certificate for the first child.
2. The parents are not married when the child is born
A child whose parents are unmarried at the time of the child’s birth will usually have the mother’s surname as birth name. Therefore, if you want the child to have the mother’s name, a name declaration is not necessary.
3. Name declarations opting for the law of one parent’s nationality
In cases where one parent has another nationality, it may be possible to opt for this law to become applicable to the child’s name. The name will then be governed by the law of that parent’s nationality, so a double name may be possible if that law permits it. However, you should bring documents showing that the name you would like to declare for your child is accepted by the foreign law (e.g. birth certificate or passport). If the parents chose foreign law for the name of their child, the name declaration will be only valid for this child.
Please note that the Bundesgerichtshof has recently decided that Australian law can no longer be chosen for the child's name.
In order to make a name declaration for your child, please book an appointment for a name declaration. Both parents and children of 14 years or older must be present since their signatures on the name declaration form must be certified. If you are of age and do not bear a name according to German law yet, you can make the name declaration on your own. The parents do not need to be present in this case. However the documents listed below are necessary for your application.
It is highly recommended to lodge the name declaration as part of an application for a German birth certificate.
The following documents are required:
- Completed name declaration form (please only fill out the first page of the form and do not sign the declaration yet)
Name declaration form
Please provide the original and two photocopies of the following documents:
- Valid passports for both parents (or German identity card/Personalausweis)
- Child’s passport if applicable
- Birth certificates of both parents
- Child’s birth certificate
- If you wish to make a name declaration by choosing the foreign law of one parent (see above nr. 3), proof that the child bears the intended name under the law of the respective country (passport or birth certificate issued by the authorities of that country)
- If you are married: your marriage certificate
- Divorce order for divorcees
- Naturalisation certificate and “Beibehaltungsgenehmigung” for naturalised German nationals or “Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis” if you 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.