Since 24 May 2007, naturalised Germans who acquired their name under foreign law and whose name is now subject to German law have been able to adapt their name to German law by making a “Declaration of Adaptation of Name” under Article 47 of the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code (EGBGB).
Under German law, a person has at least one first name and one surname. The surname should normally consist of just one name. Other foreign legal systems do not always make this distinction between names.
If you have a single name of several parts which do not function as forename and surname, you can choose your forename(s) and surname from the parts of your present name (e.g. Sri Lankan proper names or Arabic names of several parts). If your name has only one part, you can designate this as your forename or surname and then choose the missing name yourself. Parts of a name which are not legally required in Germany can be dropped (e.g. father’s name). You can also take the original form of a name which has been altered according to gender or family relationship. You can also choose to take the German form of a forename or surname. If there is no German form of the forename, a new forename can be chosen.
The Declaration of Adaptation of Name is a special feature of German law. No guarantee can be made that the new name(s) will be recognised outside Germany, in particular in the former home country.
A Declaration of Adaptation of Name can only be made once and is irrevocable. The Declaration only becomes effective upon receipt by the competent registry office. Once the registrar has approved your name declaration, he will issue a certificate confirming the adaption of your name.
If you would like to submit a Declaration of Adaptation of Name please contact us:
At the appointment, the following documents are required as originals and two photocopies each:
- Your valid passport(s) or German identity card (Personalausweis)
- Birth certificate
- Naturalisation certificate
- Marriage certificate, if you are married
- Divorce decree absolute, if you are divorced
- Birth certificates of children (“full” version – stating the parents), if applicable. If the children were born in the UK, please bring along the first birth certificates, not a re-registration.
- Proof of residence in the UK (for example council tax bill or utility bill)
- 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)
Depending on the case more documents can become necessary or may subsequently be requested by the relevant registry office (Standesamt) in Germany. Some register offices will also ask for German translations of documents in English or Apostilles on foreign documents. You will be informed by email later on in the process if this will be necessary in your case.