The name of a German national does not automatically change on getting married. If the two spouses would like to have the same name, they will need to decide on a joint married name and, if the marriage takes place in Germany, they can have it registered as part of the official ceremony at the registry office.
The spouse whose surname does not become the married name can add his or her previous surname before or after the married name. If you married in Germany and the married name is stated on your marriage certificate, you do not need to make a declaration of married name at the Embassy or Consulate General. You can apply directly for a new passport in your married name. If there has been no declaration of married name, a German national will keep the name he or she had before getting married.
If you married outside Germany and declared a married name in this connection, please inquire to the Embassy or Consulate General whether this name is recognised under German law.
You can also decide to take a married name if you are already married. You can declare this either at the registry office where you live in Germany or, if you live outside Germany, at a German embassy or consulate. If you married in the UK and the German spouse would like to change his or her name, you must always make a formal “Declaration of Married Name”. This is because getting married in the UK does not include a name declaration that would be valid under German law. A change of name by Deed Poll is not recognised under German law.
Which national law should I select for my declaration of married name?
The case of Ms. Meier and Mr. Smith might help.
Example*: Ms. Meier (German citizen) and Mr. Smith (British citizen) got married in the UK. Ms. Meier would now like to change her surname under German law.
Variant A: Ms. Meier wishes to take the surname Smith. Mr. Smith will keep his surname.
- German law should be selected (husband’s surname becomes the joint married name)
Variant B: Ms. Meier wishes to take the surname Meier-Smith. Mr. Smith will keep his surname.
- German law should be selected (husband’s surname becomes the joint married name and the wife’s birth name is added)
Variant C: Ms. Meier and Mr. Smith both wish to take the surname Meier-Smith or Meier Smith (not hyphenated)
- British law should be selected (law of the husband’s country of citizenship)
*Please note: This example is provided purely for illustration purposes. It may also apply in the case of a married couple where one spouse is German and the other has a different nationality. These principles apply to same-sex married couples as well.
The above information also applies to registered civil partnerships accordingly.
If you would like to make a declaration of married name, the necessary documents must be sent to the Embassy or Consulate General before booking an appointment.
Once we’ve done a first check of the documents, we’ll contact you and you can book an appointment.
Both spouses/civil partners must attend the appointment, as both their signatures have to be certified on the name declaration form. If only one of you attends, unfortunately the application can’t be accepted.
The following documents are required for a declaration of married name
- Completed name declaration form (please complete legibly in capital letters, but do not sign yet!); the form can be downloaded below
- Valid passports of both spouses/civil partners (or German identity card)
- Birth certificates of both spouses/civil partners
- Marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
- Divorce decree absolute if either spouse/civil partner was previously divorced
- 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 for naturalised German nationals or nationality certificate (Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis), if applicable
- 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 and your spouse have children from your relationship, your children’s birth certificates (“full” version stating the parents)
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.