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General information on procedures and appointments

When do I need to make a name declaration?

Rules on names are very different in the UK and Germany. A name entered by a British registry office on the birth certificate of a German child or a German-British child born in the UK does not always have to conform with German law. This also applies to changing a name after marriage or going back to a former name; again the rules are different in Germany and the UK. This can become a problem especially if you apply for a German passport, because only a name conforming with German law can be entered on a German passport. However, it‘s usually possible to keep the same name under the law of both countries. To do this, it’s usually necessary to make a so-called name declaration. Please read carefully the information on our website about the different categories of name declaration. You will also find information on cases where a name declaration is not necessary.

Please note that a change of name by Deed Poll is not recognised by German law.

If you need more information – but please only if you can‘t find the information you are looking for here – you can contact the Embassy or Consulate General via contact forms.

Procedure

If you would like to make a name declaration, the procedure is as follows:

You will need to prepare the following documents:

  • Documents for the relevant application

These are listed on the page of the relevant category:

To make a name declaration for a child born outside Germany

For a name declaration after a marriage

For a name declaration after divorce or the death of a spouse

For a declaration of the adaptation of a name after naturalisation in Germany

For a name declaration to change the order of your forenames

  • The relevant form

Please complete the first page only, but send the whole form.

  • An accompanying letter with the following information:
  1. Name to be declared
  2. If you or another party to the application previously lived in Germany, but you do not have a certificate of deregistration from the local authority and cannot obtain one: most recent address in Germany
  3. Your address, telephone number, email address

Send one copy only of all the necessary documents by post to the mission where you would like to attend:

LONDON

Legal and Consular Department

Name Declarations

German Embassy

23 Belgrave Square, Belgravia

London SW1X 8PZ

EDINBURGH

Legal and Consular Department

German Consulate General

16 Eglinton Crescent

Edinburgh EH12 5DG

Please do not send originals. A self-addressed envelope is not necessary. 

If you have not gathered all the necessary documents, yet, we would ask you not to send us the incomplete application. 

Once we’ve received the documents we‘ll check they are complete and prepare the name declaration for you to come in and sign. Please note this may take some time. Requests concerning the state of affairs do not accelerate the process. When everything’s ready at our end we will contact you and you can book an appointment.

At your appointment the Embassy or Consulate General will just certify your signatures on the application and the required copies and instruct you about the regulations under naming law. After the appointment, the certified copies and the application form with your certified signature must be sent to the relevant registry office in Germany.

When the documents have been received by the registry office the application will be examined. The registry officer may have queries or ask you to provide further documents. Processing times vary at registry offices and it is not possible for us to predict how long it will take. However, processing is likely to take at least two to three months, maybe longer if there are queries or in complex cases.

Finally a name certificate will be issued and sent to you by post or email. For this service a fee is payable to the registry office, who will send you an email requesting payment when the procedure has been completed. The fee is usually €10 to €20 per certificate.

Once you have received the certificate you can apply for a German passport or identity card in the registered name. The certificate should be submitted when applying for a passport.

How many name certificates should I ask for?

We recommend for children’s names at least one certificate per child and for a married name at least one certificate.

Can I make a name declaration and submit a passport application on the same day?

No, it is not possible to make a name declaration and submit a passport application on the same day.

If you need to make a name declaration, the name process needs to be finished before you apply for a German passport. Please therefore do not book an appointment for a passport application yet. If you have already booked a passport appointment, please cancel this so the time is available for other applicants.

Which registry office will handle my application?

If your marriage is recorded in a German marriage register or the birth of your child is recorded in a German birth register, the registry office holding the register will be responsible for your application.

Otherwise, usually the registry office at your last place of residence in Germany will be responsible. If you are still registered with a local authority in Germany, the registry office for that district will be responsible.

If none of the parties to the application has ever lived in Germany, the responsible registry office will be Standesamt I in Berlin.

You don’t have to apply through the Embassy. You can also apply directly to the relevant registry office in Germany e.g. if you will be travelling there in the near future. If you would like to do this, please contact the relevant registry office yourself to arrange an appointment and find out which documents you will need.

When do I need to (a) register a birth and (b) register a marrriage?

a. If you would like a German birth certificate but your child was not born in Germany.
b. If you would like a German marriage certificate but you were married outside Germany.

In order for a German certificate to be issued, a birth or marriage must be officially recorded in the German birth or marriage register. For this purpose, either a birth registration or entry in the marriage register is necessary.

As well as name declarations, you can also apply to the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh for entry of the birth of your child in the German birth register or of your marriage in the German marriage register. After a detailed examination, the registry office will isssue a German birth certificate or marrriage certificate.

Please note that generally a declaration of the child’s name at birth will be necessary for the birth certificate and a declaration of married name will be necessary for the marriage certificate. The information on name declarations is therefore very likely also relevant for you. 

Procedure

If you would like to apply for registration of a birth or marriage in the German register, the procedure is as follows:

You will need to prepare the following documents:

  • Documents for the relevant application

These are listed on the page of the relevant category:

To register a birth

To register a marriage which has taken place outside Germany

  • The relevant form

Please only enter information you are sure about.

  • An accompanying letter with the following information:
  1. If a name is to be declared in the course of registration: name to be declared
  2. Details of previous marriages of parents/spouses (place and date of marriage, place and date of divorce)
  3. Address, telephone number, email address 
  4. Say how many certificates you would like to receive and in which format.
  5. If you or another party to the application previously lived in Germany, but you do not have a certificate of deregistration from the local authority and cannot obtain one: the most recent address in Germany

Send one copy only of all the necessary documents by post to the mission where you would like to attend:

LONDON

Legal and Consular Department

Name Declarations

German Embassy

23 Belgrave Square, Belgravia

London SW1X 8PZ

EDINBURGH

Legal and Consular Department

German Consulate General

16 Eglinton Crescent

Edinburgh EH12 5DG

Please do not send originals. A self-addressed envelope is not necessary.

If you have not gathered all the necessary documents, yet, we would ask you not to send us the incomplete application.

Once we’ve received the documents we‘ll check they are complete and prepare the application for you to come in and sign. Please note this may take some time. Requests concerning the state of affairs do not accelerate the process. When everything’s ready at our end we will contact you and you can book an appointment.

At your appointment the Embassy or Consulate General will just certify your signatures on the application and the required copies and instruct you about the civil status regulations. After the appointment, the certified copies and the application form with your certified signature must be sent to the relevant registry office in Germany.

When the documents have been received by the registry office the application will be examined. The registry officer may have queries or ask you to provide further documents.

Processing times

Before a certificate can be issued for a birth or marriage that has taken place outside Germany, a detailed examination of all the relevant circumstances is necessary. This can take from several months to several years.

Please note that a fee is payable for a birth or marriage certificate issued by the registry office. Fees vary according to how many certificates you request and in what format. You will receive a  request for payment after your application has been received at the registry office.

If a name is declared in the course of registration, the registry office will be asked to confirm the name before issuing the certificate. You can use this confirmation to apply for a passport.

Which registry office will handle my application?

Usually the registry office will be the one at your current place of residence or, if you are no longer registered with a local authority in Germany, your last place of residence in Germany.

If none of the parties to the application has ever lived in Germany, the responsible registry office will be Standesamt I in Berlin.

You don’t have to apply through the Embassy/Consulate General. You can also apply directly to the relevant registry office in Germany e.g. if you will be travelling there in the near future. If you would like to do this, please contact the relevant registry office yourself to arrange an appointment and find out which documents you will need.

I don‘t live near London or Edinburgh.

You can also have signatures certified and certified copies made by one of our Honorary Consuls in the United Kingdom. The Honorary Consuls in Aberdeen and Newcastle upon Tyne work with the Consulate General in Edinburgh, the others work with the Embassy in London.

Please note, however, that an Honorary Consul cannot advise you on a name declaration.

Here is an overview of our Honorary Consuls plus contact details.

If you would like to make one of the declarations, the procedure is as described above:

You will therefore need to prepare the following documents:

  • Documents for the relevant application

These are listed on the page of the relevant category.

  • The relevant form (see above)

Please only enter information you are sure about.

  • An accompanying letter with the following information:
  1. Which Honorary Consul you would like to go to
  2. Name to be declared
  3. Details of previous marriages of parents/spouses (place and date of marriage, place and date of divorce)
  4. Your address, telephone number, email address 
  5. How many name certificates/birth or marriage certificates you would like.
  6. If you or another party to the application previously lived in Germany, but you do not have a certificate of deregistration from the local authority and cannot obtain one:  most recent address in Germany

Send one copy only of all the necessary documents by post to the Embassy or (for Aberdeen and Newcastle upon Tyne) the Consulate General.

LONDON

Legal and Consular Department

Name Declarations

German Embassy

23 Belgrave Square, Belgravia

London SW1X 8PZ

EDINBURGH

Legal and Consular Department

German Consulate General

16 Eglinton Crescent

Edinburgh EH12 5DG

Please do not send originals. A self-addressed envelope is not necessary.

If you have not gathered all the necessary documents, yet, we would ask you not to send us the incomplete application.

Once we’ve received the documents we‘ll check they are complete and get your application ready for you to sign. Please note this may take some time. Requests concerning the state of affairs do not accelerate the process. When everything’s ready we‘ll let you know and you can make an appointment with the Honorary Consul.

At your appointment the Honorary Consul will just certify your signatures on the application and the necessary copies. After the appointment, the certified copies and the application form with the certified signature must be sent to the relevant registry office in Germany.

Depending on whether you would prefer to come to the Embassy in London, the Consulate General in Edinburgh or an Honorary Consul, the procedure is as described above under 1.2, 2.2 or 3. You should send your documents before booking an appointment to the Embassy if you would prefer to go to the Embassy or an Honorary Consul (except Aberdeen/Newcastle upon Tyne) or to the Consulate General if you would prefer to go to the Consulate General in Edinburgh or our Honorary Consul in Aberdeen or Newcastle upon Tyne. Only when we have done an initial check of your documents will we send you the link to book an appointment. Appointments cannot take place if the documents have not been sent to us in advance.

When we confirm you can go ahead and book an appointment, please note the following:

  • Bring another set of all the necessary documents to your appointment.  
  • If you would like to make name declarations for more than one child, you only need to book one appointment.
  • Please do not use a smartphone or tablet to book an appointment, as this can cause problems with the display and you may end up booking a passport appointment.
  • Please note that if you arrive late, you generally cannot be seen and will have to book a new appointment. Please therefore arrive on time for the appointment you have booked.
  • To declare the names of children, both custodial parents and children aged 14 and over must be present in person, as their signatures have to be certified on the declaration.
  • When declaring a married name, both spouses must attend the appointment.

Fees

At the appointment you just pay the fee for certifying your signatures and certifying the copies you have brought with you. All fees are subject to the current exchange rate and can be paid in cash in pounds sterling or by debit or credit card (Visa or Mastercard, no American Express). We regret that the Consulate General and the Honorary Consuls cannot accept payment by card.

Please note that if you pay using a credit card the amount will be debited in euros and your card provider may charge extra for this. Depending on the exchange rate, the fee is generally between £25 and £40.

For issue of a name certificate or birth certificates/marriage certificates and for registration of a birth or marriage outside Germany the registry office will charge an extra fee which must be paid directly to the registry office. The registry office will contact you by email or letter with information on how to pay after the procedure has been completed.

If you have further questions:

Contact

Please only contact the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh if you have further questions about name declarations or civil status matters which are not answered on our website.

Questions already answered on our website cannot be answered by email.

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