Changing your name

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Changing your name

Using our service, you can officially change your family names or given names.

Familie

General information

Please note:

  • Only Germans within the meaning of the Basic Law, stateless persons, displaced foreigners (heimatlose Ausländer), foreign refugees and persons entitled to asylum can apply for a name change.
  • Only important reasons can justify a name change. Therefore, when applying, you are required to comprehensively explain your reasons for changing your name.
  • In case of persons of limited legal capacity, the application must be filed by a legal representative (father, mother, legal guardian); however, the legal guardian is required to have the approval of the Court of Guardianship (Vormundschaftsgericht) in order to file an application on behalf of the person of limited legal capacity. A person of limited legal capacity who has attained the age of 16 must attend a hearing by the Court of Guardianship. The approval of the Court of Guardianship and the evidence on the result of the hearing of the applicant must be submitted together with the application for change of name.
  • The application must contain a declaration on whether you have already applied for a name change in the past, and, if applicable, the authority at which you have applied.
  • Furthermore, the applicant has to declare that he or she is aware that a fee will be charged for as well the name change as for the rejection or the withdrawal of the application.

Please seek advice from the competent authority if anything is unclear when filling out the application form.

Required documents

  • Documents proving that the applicant is a German within the meaning of the Basic Law, a stateless person, a displaced foreigner, a foreign refugee or a person entitled to asylum (e.g. confirmation of registration by the Resident Registration Office, certificate of nationality, passport, identity card, child’s identity card).
  • Expellee card (in case of expellees).
  • A certified extract from the register of births of the applicant and of all persons concerned by the change of the family name. The certificates must bear a recent date (not older than three months).
  • Marriage certificate, if the applicant is married or has been married previously.
  • Civil partnership certificate if the applicant is in a civil partnership or has been in a civil partnership previously.
  • A certified extract from the civil register (Personenstandsregister) if the applicant changes name upon marriage.
  • Persons who have attained the age of 14 must submit a certificate of good conduct pursuant to Section 30, subsection 5 of the Federal Central Register Law (Bundeszentralregistergesetz). Apply for the certificate of good conduct at the competent resident registration office; the issuing authority will forward the certificate of good conduct to the authority competent for changes of name (Namensänderungsbehörde).

Please note:
Please submit the originals of the required documents. As a general rule, the application documents will not be returned; however, the original certificates will be returned to you after certified copies of these have been made.

In individual cases, you may be required to provide additional documents and proof. Please contact us for further information.

Fees

  • Change of family name €2,55 - 1.022,00
  • Change of given name €2,55 - 255,00

The amount of the fee depends on the administrative costs as well as on the significance, economic value or other benefits for the applicant resulting from the change of name. Furthermore, the applicant has to declare that he or she is aware that a fee will be charged for as well the name change as for the rejection or the withdrawal of the application.

The average processing time for applications lies between three and four months.

Further important information

The following information offers you a short overview. However, the area of law is so ample and complex that this information cannot claim to be exhaustive. If at any time you need more information, please feel free to contact us either in writing or by phone or visit us in person (please keep in mind our office hours!). Since every individual case is different, we prefer in person consultations.

Would you like to apply for a change of your family name or given names (Namensänderung, Namensfeststellung)? In order to facilitate your application, we have included some important information below:

  1. Only important reasons can justify a name change. Therefore, when applying, you are required to comprehensively explain your reasons for changing your name.
  2. In case of persons of limited legal capacity, the application must be filed by a legal representative (father, mother, legal guardian); however, the legal guardian is required to have the approval of the Court of Guardianship in order to file an application on behalf of the person of limited legal capacity. A person of limited legal capacity who has attained the age of 16 must attend a hearing by the Court of Guardianship. The approval of the Court of Guardianship (Vormundschaftsgericht) and the evidence on the result of the hearing of the applicant must be submitted together with the application for name change.
  3. The application must contain a declaration on whether you have already applied for a name change in the past, and, if applicable, the authority at which you have applied.
  4. Furthermore, the applicant has to declare that he or she is aware that a fee will be charged for as well the name change as for the rejection or the withdrawal of the application.

Please seek advice from the competent authority if anything is unclear when filling out the application form.

Application forms

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