Changing your surname in Germany

21 posts in this topic

Just thought I should return here and let anyone who's interested know of my experience regarding this process. If you have any questions you can ask here in a reply or send me a direct message on this website (I have email notifications enabled for new messages).


Firstly, I undertook the process almost entirely online and did not need to attend any office in Germany. I dealt with the Munich office as that was the last place in which I resided in Germany. I am a dual British/German national and although changing name in the UK was very easy, via deed poll, the German process seemed daunting. The messages on this forum from others gave me the motivation to continue. I also saw that living my live in the UK with a new name, that Germany would not recognise, would present problems when attempting to renew my German passport - with next to no current documentation in my old name; driver's license, UK passport, banks and utility bills all being in my new name.


I visited the city's website, in my case at this page But in your case you can find your relevant contact by searching 'Familiennamensänderung' and the state/city where you last lived or are presently registered. I was also initially put off by the costs given of €50-€1500 with no guarantee of success. This turned out to be just a minimal fee in my case. I'll explain later.


I completed all the standard fields in the form. I am male and was not doing this due to a marital name change, the reasons were/are personal but from my perspective they are critical and valid. I used the box in the form to give my reasons in the order of personal importance. I included brief reasoning and linked to information that I felt warranted the case being made. I expected to have to argue any point when the application would be reviewed. Thankfully and to my relief, they were interested in proceeding based on my last reason, that I had changed my name in another country and were living under that name legally there (in this case the UK an EU state at the time). Many of the half dozen other reasons I gave would most probably have required a lengthy process and included psychological reports and the arguing of effects present. It appeared that under a law, I had no knowledge off, changing ones name in another EU country makes it easier to reflect that change legally in Germany. The article is found at this link and the one quoted to me by the clerk in Munich ( § 48 EGBGB ). The other, important aspect that counted in my favour was that I had submitted this before the UK actually left the EU. The clerk admitted that this would not have been a possible reason once the UK was out of the EU despite a transition period.


All the while from submitting the completed form to completing the process I communicated with an official and her secretary help via email. I needed to email them scanned coppies on my German and UK passport as well as certified translations of my UK deed polI (I used this excellent service at a cost of €45, uploaded the PDF file and they sent to certified translation to the clerk in Munich). I only had to make one visit to a local German embassy (at the time this was in South America). The visit was to have the signing of a name change declaration witnessed, it cost €25 (a redacted copy of what I signed can be seen here). This was easy and is a service bookable on most German embassy websites. If you do this too, you can use the embassy's mail service to send the declaration document back the clerk in Germany. In hindsight, due to them not offering tracking I would use an international courier service instead and send it myself to the clerk in Germany.


After the clerk returned from a few weeks holiday and under a local coronavirus lockdown I was notified by email and sent both a PDF scan and then a physical copy of the name change certified document that I have made available here (personal info has been redacted) for anyone that's interested. The fee charged in the end was a mere €12.


Without § 48 EGBGB I believe this would have been a lengthy process, testing and expensive task. As it applies to EU states, I do not believe dual nations of German and US citizenship for example could use this article. Nor do I believe British-German nationals could use this now either. I hope that I am wrong and that it is indeed still applicable. I would feel great if someone after me completes this process as easy as I had found it. I would be grateful to hear your own experiences in changing your name, perhaps follow up with a post here. I wish you all the best.


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