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Name declaration after divorce or death of a spouse

The name of a German national does not change automatically after a divorce or the death of a spouse. After a divorce recognised in Germany or the death of a spouse, it is possible to change back to the birth name by making a name declaration. It is also possible to change back to a surname used before the marriage (e.g. a previous married name).

If it is preferred to keep the married name from a marriage that has ended through divorce or death, no name declaration is necessary.

The name declaration is made by the German partner concerned; the agreement or presence of a former spouse is not necessary.

If you would like to make a name declaration after divorce or the death of a spouse, the necessary documents must be sent to the Embassy or Consulate General before booking an appointment.

The following documents are required for the name declaration:

  • Completed form (please complete legibly in capital letters, but do not sign yet!); the form can be downloaded below
  • Valid passport (or German identity card)
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Evidence that you have a married name (name certificate issued by German registry office, extract from family register/marriage register or German marriage certificate)
  • Divorce decree absolute or death certificate
  • Please note: in the case of divorce in an EU country (except Denmark) after 1 March 2003: certificate under Art. 39 (Annex 1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters, confirmed by the court which issued the divorce decree
  • Please also note: in the case of divorce outside Germany and outside the European Union the registry office may require recognition of the foreign divorce by the Senate Department for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-discrimination in Berlin. You can find further information on this here
  • Naturalisation certificate, if you have been naturalised
  • Proof of residence in the UK (e.g. council tax bill or utility bill)
  • German deregistration certificate (Abmeldebescheinigung) or current registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung) for your (last) residence in Germany
  • In most cases, translations of foreign documents (usually not required for English or international documents, e.g. international birth certificates in more than one language)
  • If you have children, children’s birth certificates (“full” version stating the parents)
  • If there is a register entry for the marriage in Germany, evidence of this (e.g. extract from the family register or German marriage certificate)

Please send a single copy of each document (no originals!) to the Embassy or Consulate General as described under “General information on procedure and issue of appointments”.

Depending on the case more documents may become necessary and be requested at a later stage by the registry office.

In particular, German translations of documents (including documents in English) may be required at a later stage. Occasionally apostilles are also required on foreign documents.

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