Name declarations and Civil Status Certificates
The regulations regarding naming and name changes are completely different in Germany and the United Kingdom. German nationals are generally subject to German law with respect to the use of a name. The possible names which may be used under German law may deviate from those entered in British birth certificates or identification documents. For example the name of a German or British-German child which is entered in a British birth certificate might not be the same name according to German law. There are also different regulations for name changes after marriage or divorce in Germany and the United Kingdom. Problems regarding the name of a person mainly emerge when applying for a German passport as the Embassy is only allowed to enter names according to German law in German passports. However in most cases it is possible to obtain the same name in both countries by lodging a name declaration at the Embassy.
Apart from name declarations you can also apply for the entry of your child’s birth in the German birth register or your marriage in the German marriage register. The register office in Germany will then issue a German birth certificate for your child or a German marriage certificate after processing your application.
Please note that name changes by deed poll are not recognised according to German law. Please contact us using the contact forms below to enquire about the possibilities to change your first name or family name (apart from name change after marriage).
Please read carefully all information and leaflets on our website for the category of name declaration or Civil Status Certificate you want to apply for. In some cases a name declaration is not needed. If your case is not explained on our website, please contact the German Embassy in London or the German Consulate General in Edinburgh via the contact forms below.
If you are not sure how to complete the form, please only fill in the personal details and leave the part regarding the name declaration blank.
If a name declaration is necessary, you need to submit the name declaration before applying for a German passport. In this case, please book an appointment only for a name declaration by using our appointment booking system (see below). Please do not book an appointment for a passport application yet.
Generally the German Embassy in London and the German Consulate General in Edinburgh only certify your signatures on the form and the relevant copies and explain the legal impacts of the name declaration. After the appointment you send the documents to the competent register office which will decide about the name declaration.
The competent register office is generally the register office (Standesamt) at your last register office in Germany. If you have never lived in Germany, the register office in Berlin (Standesamt I) will process your application.
You can also submit the name declaration directly at the register office in person, for example if you are on holiday there. In this case please contact the competent register office before your visit in order to arrange an appointment and to ask which documents you need to bring.
The applications are processed by the register office, which might ask for additional documents which are not stated on our information sheets (for example German translations). In this case, you will be informed after you handed in the application. The processing times of the different register offices in Germany differ and cannot be predicted by us. You should allow for two to three months at least. However, if it is a complex case or if the register office has further questions, it might take longer.
The same procedure applies to the registration of births or marriages in the German birth or marriage register. However the processing times are normally longer than for a name declaration and can take several months and up to 3 years if you have never lived in Germany before.
After processing your name declaration you will receive a name certificate by the register office. You will need the certificate for the passport application. The register office charges a fee for the certificate, usually about €10-20. You will receive an invoice or an email regarding the payment of the fee after the application has been processed. The name certificate will then be sent to your address by post.
Once you have received the name certificate you can apply for a German passport or ID card in the new name.
At the appointment for the name declaration you only pay the fees for the certification of your signature and the certification of the copies you need to bring. All fees can be paid in cash in £ or by debit or credit card (only Visa or Mastercard, no American Express).
Please note that the fee is charged in Euros from your credit card and therefore your bank might charge additional fees. The fee amounts to £30 to 40 in most cases.
The register office charges a fee for the issuance of a name certificate and birth or marriage certificates as well as for the registration of a birth or marriage which need to be transferred directly to the register office’s account. You will receive the information regarding the payment once your application has been processed.
If you would like to make the name declaration with one of our Honorary Consuls please find additional information further below.
If you live in the Consular District of the Embassy in London, please book an appointment online via:
If you live in the Consular District of the Consulate General in Edinburgh, please book an appointment online via:
Important information regarding appointment booking:
Please note that you only need to book one appointment if you want to make name declarations for more than one child.
Please do not use smartphones or tablets for the appointment booking as the appointment system does not work properly on these devices.
Please make sure that your application is complete. You need to bring all required documents as original plus two photocopies each to the appointment. Please note that incomplete applications will not be accepted and a new appointment would have to be booked. You should therefore carefully read the information about the service you have requested (e.g. name declaration, registration of birth, application for registration of marriage or civil partnership) on our website.
Please arrive on time for your appointment. Applicants who are late cannot be seen that day and will have to book a new appointment.
For birth name declarations both parents and children over 14 years must be present since their signatures on the name declaration must be certified.
For married name declarations both spouses must be present at the appointment.
Name declaration with an Honorary Consul
Your signatures on the form and the copies can also be certified by one of our Honorary Consuls. Please note that the Honorary Consuls cannot give you any advice about the name declarations. If you would like to do your name declaration with an Honorary Consul, please first contact the German Embassy or the Consulate General in Edinburgh by email (email addresses below). We will prepare the declaration and then ask you to arrange an appointment directly with the Honorary Consuls.
Please contact the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh using our contact forms if you have any questions that are not explained on our website.
If you live in the Consular District of the Embassy in London:
If you live in the Consular District of the Consulate General in Edinburgh:
Contact form (please select the relevant German Mission)