Changing your surname in Germany

19 posts in this topic

Posted

Does anyone know if you can change your surname in germany?

The polish government made my family change their surname from the german original to a polish version in 1940s-50s.

I would like to have it changed back to the original.

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Posted

The short answer is no, you can't change your name (except while getting married/divorced).

You can petition to get an exception. There are a few basic legal guidelines, but it's up to the bureaucrat who's assigned to your case. It took me 2 years and several thousand Euros (mostly lawyer fees) to get my name changed from my father's name to my mother's name (which was what I had been using in the US, long story), and what they eventually demanded was an attest from a licensed psychologist saying that being identified by my father's name in Germany was a psychological burden.

You have to apply to do it wherever you live. In Munich, where I did it, the process was called "Öffentlich-Rechtliche Namensänderung"and you had to apply at the Standesamt portion of the Kreisverwaltungsreferat (http://www.muenchen.de/Rathaus/kvr/standesamt/name/51743/oeffen.html).

Note: this is for people with German passports. If you don't have a German passport, you change it at home and the German government has to accept it. If you have both, you can get it changed on your non-German passport, but the German government doesn't have to accept it.

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Posted

If you apply to become German I believe you also have the option at that time to have your name germanised.

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Posted

what kätzchen said, see BGBEG § 47 Abs. 1 Nr. 5

(1) Hat eine Person nach einem anwendbaren ausländischen Recht einen Namen erworben und richtet sich ihr Name fortan nach deutschem Recht, so kann sie durch Erklärung gegenüber dem Standesamt

5. eine deutschsprachige Form ihres Vor- oder ihres Familiennamens annehmen; gibt es eine solche Form des Vornamens nicht, so kann sie neue Vornamen annehmen.

so if you have german citizenzenship now it should be possible. It's not possible to completely change it though.

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Posted

Does "eine deutschsprachige Form ihres ... Familiennamens" mean that a double family name legally registered in England, say "Müller Brown" without hyphen, could be accepted in Germany but only if hyphenated?

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Posted

no. This paragraph is talking about a german language form of your firstname or surname.

My name is unusual here, but it is still legal. If I become naturalised I have the option to have my first and last names germanised if possible, but because there is (afaik) no German version of my firstname I can choose a new one. That´s about it really. If you were called Müller Brown in England, then that is what you would be here. Upon naturalisation I guess you would probably get Braun as the surname and a new choice for firstname too as Müller isn´t a firstname here, or you could just keep the existing name.

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Posted

I meant, if my name were for example George (first name) Müller Brown (family name), would Germany accept "Müller Brown" without a hyphen?

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Posted

If you apply to become German I believe you also have the option at that time to have your name germanised.

Because of Historial reasons, when parts of Silesia became part of poland after WW II, my grandparents had to take up polish citizenship, and change the surname to the polish version.

As a result of history, Im a polish citizen even though not born there, and dont speak polish. Family is german, but moved to Australia as the polish govt would not let them leave for germany. But im not eligible for german citizenship until ive been in germany for eight years or so.

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Posted

Okay, so you're allowed to Germanize your name if you're naturalizing. What if you're claiming citizenship based on a parent's citizenship later on in life? Do you still get to Germanize yourself?

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Posted

I meant, if my name were for example George (first name) Müller Brown (family name), would Germany accept "Müller Brown" without a hyphen?

well i always wondered why all "double" surnames have a hyphen in it in Germany? Is there a reason for that?

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Posted

To make them a single word...

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Posted

Many thanks hepat for the very informative post you made. It's really given me something to work on. I too am in the early stages of changing my name. I would like to hear from anyone on the same subject. Please PM me.

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Posted

Au contraire, share the love and information. That's what this topic (and forum) is all about.

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Posted

My best friend served in Iraq for a year, and met marine sergeant who had legally changed his name to "Optimus Prime."

It saddens me that this would not be legal in Germany. Because I want to live in a world where there is a dude named Optimus Prime. I don't want to be that dude, mind you, I just want to live in the same world as that dude.

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Posted

Mmmmmm. How about a man whose baptismal name was E. Pluribus Eubanks?

Sorry - I know it's OT. Remove it if you must.

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Posted

My son recently changed his surname without a hassle. He is a German citizen. There are some exceptions that have to do with the meaning; if it is demeaning or ridiculous you can change it. For instance, a colleague of my husband was named Frau Ficker. I'm sure she could have changed that if she wanted to, but she didn't.

Also, if your name is unpronounceable, or if the spelling of it makes life difficult for you, you can apply to have it changed, and this was the case with my son.

He lives in the UK and his legal surname had a u-umlaut. We always spelled it ue when in the UK, but Brits would always either write it without the e, or pronounce it without the e, as if it were a plain u. And that word, without the e, does have a "ridiculous " meaning in English. The authorities even went so far as to look up the meaning and quote it in their Bescheid!

He changed his name to my maiden name. As I was single when he was born, this is actually his birth name. It is also a very well- known name in Guyana, as we were a large family and some of my uncles made a name for himself. So it was very appropriate.

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Posted

Foreigners who want to change their names to Germanic ones have been told by a court that wanting to fit in is not a good enough reason to choose new monikers..Click to read the full article.

This thread might have something of interest, OP.

I do find the German surname thing very odd, we have teachers called Mrs Drugs, Mrs Dog and Mrs Ostrich-Bird at our school...surely they can just use a name they like on a daily basis and then have their weird one on their official paper work?

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Posted

This thread might have something of interest, OP.

I do find the German surname thing very odd, we have teachers called Mrs Drugs, Mrs Dog and Mrs Ostrich-Bird at our school...surely they can just use a name they like on a daily basis and then have their weird one on their official paper work?

bit like Ben Wettervogel who does the weather on morning TV, is that really his name or perhaps just his stage/daily name?

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Posted

A teacher called Mrs Ostrich-Bird? :lol: *mind boggles at the image conjured up*

Considering how many years he was known, almost universally, to his British and German BFPO listeners as Mr. Pumpernickel I was a bit disappointed that former professional bee-keeper Chris Howland never did try to make it official.

2B

ETA: @ Sir Percy B

I've wondered about that one myself almost every time I've seen him. Although I find it too much of a distraction - by the time my concentration resets his weather report is practically over.

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