Name declaration for a child

07.02.2024 - Article

The name of a German national is governed by German law, even if his or her name is shown differently on a foreign birth certificate.

Name declaration required?
Name declaration required?© German Embassy Wellington

1. If parents were married when the child was born

A child whose parents are married at the time of the child’s birth and who bear a married name (Ehename) will obtain the parents’ married name as birth name. No name declaration is needed. If the parents got married outside of Germany and made a name declaration abroad please email us in advance to check if this married name might be recognised.

In cases where the parents are married, but do not have a married name, the parents will have to make a name declaration in order for the child to obtain a birth name, even if the child has already been registered abroad under a certain name. However, no name declaration is needed if your child was born in New Zealand and you can prove the name declaration that was submitted to the New Zealand registry office during the birth registration. You can do this by submitting the so called 'source document birth registration', which can be requested at the Department of Internal Affairs using this application form. If you child was born elsewhere a name declaration is necessary.
If the parents have already made a name declaration for the first child, choosing German law and the father’s or mother’s name for their child, all future children will automatically receive this name. No further name declaration is needed. When applying for a passport, please provide the name certificate for the first child.

2. If parents were not married when the child was born

A child whose parents are unmarried or in a civil union at the time of the child’s birth will usually have the mother’s surname as birth name. Therefore, if you want the child to have the mother’s name, a name declaration is not necessary.

3. Name declarations opting for the law of one parent’s nationality

A double last name combining the parents’ last names is usually not possible according to German law. In cases where one parent has a citizenship other than German, the parents have the possibility to choose foreign law to become applicable for the child’s last name. The last name of the child will then be governed by the law of that parent’s nationality, so a double name (or indeed any other combination) may be possible if that law permits it. The name selection does not apply to future children.

The embassy points out that due to the ruling of the Federal Court of Justice of May 9, 2018 - XII ZB 47/17 name declarations according to New Zealand law will not be accepted by the German registry offices at the moment.

Both parents and children of 14 years or older must be present at the Embassy or one of our Consulates Honourable since their signatures on the name declaration form must be certified. If you are of age and do not bear a name according to German law yet, you can make the name declaration on your own. The parents do not need to be present in this case. However the documents listed below are necessary for your application.

If you would like to submit your name declaration with our Honorary Consul in Christchurch, please contact us beforehand:

At the appointment, the following documents are required as originals:

Please note that all New Zealand documents (such as birth certificates and marriage certificates) must carry a paper-apostille. These can be sent directly to the German Embassy. Information can be found here:

  • Form: Name declaration for a child; pdf here ( form only in German)
  • Completed name declaration form (please only fill out the first page of the form and do not sign the declaration yet)
  • Valid passports for both parents (or German identity card/Personalausweis)
  • Birth certificates of both parents, with apostille if New Zealand birth certificate
  • Child’s birth certificate, with apostille if New Zealand birth certificate
  • Child’s passport if applicable
  • If you wish to make a name declaration by choosing the foreign law of one parent (see above nr. 4), proof that the child bears the intended name under the law of the respective country (passport or birth certificate issued by the authorities of that country)
  • If you are married: your marriage certificate, with apostille if New Zealand marriage certificate
  • Divorce decree absolute for divorcees
  • Naturalisation certificate for naturalised German nationals or “Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis” if you have one
  • German deregistration certificate (Abmeldebescheinigung) from your last German place of residence or current registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung) from your most recent address in Germany
  • Translations of foreign documents (usually not required for English or “international” documents, for example international birth certificates)
  • Birth certificates of all other children of the parents including older siblings, with apostille if New Zealand birth certificates
  • Name certificates of other children of the parents if applicable

Depending on the case more documents can become necessary or may subsequently be requested by the relevant registry office (Standesamt) in Germany.

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