1. If the parents were married when the child was born
A child whose parents were married at the time of the child’s birth and have a joint married name will receive the parents’ married name as his/her surname. No name declaration is needed. If you married outside Germany and registered a married name, please email us in advance to check if this married name will be recognised under German law.
If the parents were married when the child was born and do not have a joint married name, they will need to make a name declaration to confirm the child’s surname under German law. However, if you have already made a name declaration for another child and chosen German law and the father’s or mother’s name for that child, any other siblings will automatically receive this name, and there is no need for another name declaration. In this case, when applying for a passport for your child, please submit the name certificate of the child for whom you have already made a name declaration. If you are unsure, please contact us beforehand.
2. If the parents were not married when the child was born
A child whose parents were not married at the time of the child's birth will usually be given the mother’s surname. Therefore if you are happy for the child to have the mother’s surname, a name declaration is not necessary. If the parents would like the child to have a different surname, the surname can be changed by making a name declaration.
If you already have one or more children and have already made name declarations for them, please contact the Embassy or Consulate General to enquire whether name declarations are necessary for any other children born subsequently.
3. Name declarations opting for the law of another country
If one parent has another nationality other than British and German, it may also be possible to opt for the child’s name to be subject to the naming law of the country whose nationality the parent possesses. In this way a German child can be given a birth name which may not conform to German law (e.g. a double-barrelled surname or one of the parents' first names).
To make a name declaration for this purpose, please submit documents demonstrating that the surname you would like your child to have is permitted under the law of the other country (e.g. if available, your child’s passport or birth certificate issued by the relevant country). Please note that in these cases a name declaration only applies to the child for whom it is made, thus a separate name declaration must be made for each child.
Can my child be given a double-barrelled surname on their German passport?
German law does not generally allow double-barrelled surnames for children consisting of the surnames of both parents. If the criteria set out above (No. 3) do not apply to you, it is highly unlikely your child will be able to acquire a double-barrelled surname. Therefore, it is simplest if you opt immediately for either the mother’s or the father’s surname. If you would like to make a name declaration for your child, please take note of our information about the procedure.
The following documents are required for the name declaration:
- Completed form (please complete legibly, observing upper and lower case, but do not sign yet. Choose one naming option on page 2 only); the form can be downloaded below; children aged 18 or over should use the form below for children of age
- Valid passports or national identity cards of both parents (the data page of the passports is sufficient)
- Proof of German citizenship of the child: German identity document of the child or of one parent (parent’s German passport or identity card which was valid at the time of the child’s birth), naturalisation certificate or citizenship certificate of the child/ one parent. If you do not possess either of the aforementioned proofs, please contact our citizenship department via our contact form before applying for the name declaration: German citizenship
- Child’s German or other passport, if already issued
- Birth certificates of both parents (unabridged version stating parents)
- Child’s birth certificate (unabridged version stating parents)
- If you wish to declare a choice of law (see no. 3 above), a document, e.g. birth certificate or passport issued by the relevant country showing that the child bears the desired surname in that country
- Marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate if parents are married (NB: children aged 18 or over making a name declaration must bring their parents’ marriage certificate,not their own.)
- Divorce decree absolute, if a parent is divorced. Please note the information on the recognition of foreign divorces: Marriage-related matters
- 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
- If you and your spouse/ civil partner have other children from your relationship, your other children’s birth certificates (unabridged version stating the parents)
- Name certificates of any siblings of the child for whom the name declaration is being made
- 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)
Please send the original application form along with a single copy of all other documents (NO ORIGINALS) to the Embassy or Consulate General as described under “General information on procedure and issue of appointments”.
In some cases more documents may be needed, which will 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. You can find information on how to get your British documents issued with apostilles here.