Name change (public law)

Name change outside the regulations of civil law (BGB), i.e. not e.B. due to marriage or divorce.

If you request a change of your family name and/or first name outside the provisions of civil law (i.e. not, for example, in the case of marriage or divorce), you must apply for a change of name under public law.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Name changes can only be carried out for Germans within the meaning of the Basic Law, stateless persons, homeless foreigners, foreign refugees or persons entitled to asylum.
  • Only important reasons justify the change of name. The reasons must therefore be set out in detail in the application.
  • For a person with limited legal capacity, the legal representative submits the application (father, mother, guardian, caregiver); a guardian or guardian requires the approval of the guardianship court. A person with limited legal capacity who has reached the age of 16 must be heard by the guardianship court on the application. The approval of the guardianship court and proof of the outcome of the guardianship court hearing of the applicant must be attached to the application.
  • The application must contain an explanation of whether a change of name has been requested before, if necessary when and at which authority.
  • The applicant must also declare that he is aware that the change of name or the rejection or withdrawal of the application is subject to a fee.
  • Nationality card, passport, travel document, identity card, child ID card (as proof that the applicant is either German within the meaning of Article 116(1) of the Basic Law or stateless, homeless foreigner, foreign refugee, entitled to asylum).
  • Spätaussiedlerbescheinigung according to § 15 BVFG or expellee id (for ethnic German repatriates and expellees).
  • a certified copy of the birth record for the applicant and for all persons to whom the change of surname is to extend; the documents must be of the current date.
  • If the applicant is or was married, the marriage certificate (marriage certificate) or a certified copy from the family book continued as a marriage entry.
  • For persons who have reached the age of fourteen, an official certificate of good conduct.

Please note:
The documents should be submitted in the original. In principle, all application documents remain in the authority. The original documents submitted will be returned to you after the copies have been certified. In individual cases, further documents and evidence may be required to process the application. Information on this can be obtained from the competent authority.


The competent authority shall arrange for the subsequent certification of the name change or the identification of the name in the birth register and in the marriage register or civil partnership register. It notifies the registration authority responsible for the home of the person concerned of the change or determination of the name.

Act on the Change of Surnames and First Names (NamÄndG).

Related Links

  • NamÄndG

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