“Married Name”-declaration

A man’s hand holding a woman’s hand with a wedding ring

Marriage, © colourbox


The name of a German national does not change automatically by marriage alone but only by Name declaration.

In Germany the spouses can opt for one of their last names to become a so-called „married name“ (Ehename) when they get married (or later) by name declaration. The spouse whose name does not become the married name can add his or her previous name with a hyphen in front of or behind the married name.

If you got married outside of Germany and have made a name declaration at the time of your wedding and your marriage certificate shows evidence of this, please contact the Embassy in order to find out whether this name change is recognised by German law.

If no name declaration is made (as is the case with all marriages in Rwanda) the name has not changed and each spouse still bears the same name as before the marriage – even if one spouse has already been using the other spouse’s name in everyday life. Please also note that a name change per deed poll is not valid for a German citizen. To officially declare a married name by German law you will have to formally submit a name declaration at the Embassy.

If you are not sure whether a name declaration for your child is needed please contact us.

Both spouses must come in person, as both their signatures have to be certified in order for the name declaration to become valid.

The following documents are required as originals with two photocopies each:

  • Valid passports for both spouses (or German Personalausweis/ID card)
  • Birth certificates of both spouses
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce decree absolute for divorcees
  • Naturalisation certificate for naturalized German nationals or „Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis“ (if you have one).
  • Proof of residence (e.g. utility bill or bank statement) for Rwanda
  • A deregistration certificate (“Abmeldebescheinigung”) from your last German residence or a current registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung) from your (last) place of residence in Germany
  • translations of foreign documents in German or English (not required with “international” documents).
  • Birth certificates (full version – stating the parents) for all children the spouses have together (whether born before the marriage or during). If the child was born in Rwanda, please bring along the birth certificate (“acte de naissance”).

All documents have to be presented in legalised form.

Depending on the case more documents may become necessary or can be requested by the competent Standesamt (Registrar) at a later date.

The fee for the name declaration is around 22,500 RWF. Please note that the German Embassy can only accept cash. We kindly ask you to provide an exact amount. However, due to exchange rate fluctuations the fee may change slightly without further notice. In addition the German Mission has to charge a fee of 9,000 RWF for the certification of the photocopies required by the Registrar.

In case a German spouse was not divorced in Germany, please let the German Mission know in advance in which country the divorce took place and when the petition for the divorce was filed.

Your name declaration will then be forwarded to the competent Registrar (Standesamt), where it will be processed. As soon as the Registrar confirms the name and issues a name confirmation certificate, this will be send to your address and you can then apply for a new passport. The confirmation certificate will only be issued on your request and the Registrar will charge a fee for this – you will need the certificate for the passport application. The fee is about 10,00 €.

Please note that the German Mission cannot tell you how long this process will take. Processing times may vary considerably depending on the complexity of the case and the individual Registrar’s Office.

This page provides information for most routine cases presented to the German Embassy in Kigali. Due to the complexity of the German name law and the multitude of conceivable case scenarios each individual case may have to be treated differently. This information is therefore meant only as an orientation and neither substitutes legal advice based on a detailed case nor does it foreclose the decision of the registrar, which remains reserved in all cases. Should your case not be covered please contact the German Embassy.

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