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Name declaration under public law

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If you want to change your name and none of the name change possibilities in this section applies to you, you might be able to change your name “under public law”.

The German name law is comprehensively regulated by the provisions of the Civil Code (BGB). Any name change under public law can only be an exemption and is used exclusively to eliminate incalculable hardships in individual cases. It is not a viable means of preserving the name bearer from any kind of inconvenience and difficulty which may entail the management of a particular name.

A name change under public law can only be justified by an “important reason”.

An important reason for a name change may be, for example,

  • If the name sounds obnoxious or ridiculous
  • If the name causes significant difficulties in spelling or pronunciation
  • If the name is one of the so-called collective names (e.g., Meyer, Müller, Schmidt)

Even if your name is changeable, the application is usually rejected if you are entered into the debtor directory, criminal proceedings against you are pending or if you have a significant criminal record. In these cases public interest in retaining the existing name prevails due to of the identification function of the name.

The following documents are required (original documents):

  • Completed name declaration form (please fill in legibly with a computer or block letters and do not sign the declaration yet)
  • current passport
  • if you don't have a German passport (yet): Proof of German citizenship (naturalization certificate, citizenship certificate), passport of German parent(s)
  • your birth certificate
  • if applicable: marriage certificate
  • if applicable: 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)
  • Any documentation that show why you want to change your name (proof of your “important reason”).

Fees

Two different fees incur:

1) Fees to be paid at your appointment at the German mission in Australia for

  • certifying your signature on the application form: 56,43 EUR
  • making and certifying the copies to be sent to the Registry Office in Germany: on a case-by-case basis, if possible all documents will be certified together which will incur costs of 24,26 EUR (Embassy Canberra) / 24,83 EUR (Consulate General Sydney and Honorary Consuls).

Only at the German Embassy in Canberra, at the German Consulate General in Sydney, and at the office of the Honorary Consul in Adelaide can fees be paid either in cash (in Australian Dollars, please enquire the current fee at the Embassy/Consulate) or with credit card (Visa or MasterCard - transaction will be processed in Euro). Other payment methods (e.g. with smart watch, mobile phone) are not accepted.
At the other offices of the Honorary Consuls fees can only be paid in cash (in Australian Dollars at the current exchange rate of the German Missions).

2) The registry office charges an additional fee for the processing of your application and the issuance of a name change certificate a which needs to be transferred directly to the register office’s account. The fee can reach a maximum of 1.022 EUR. We will send you an email with further details once your application has been processed.

Application form and data protection information

Please fill in legibly with a computer or block letters and do not sign yet

Please fill in legibly with a computer or block letters and do not sign yet

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