Name declaration for a child


newborn, © Colourbox


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.

Different possibilities include:

  1. 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. 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.
  2. A child whose parents are unmarried 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 in these cases, a name declaration is not necessary. If the parents want the child to bear the father’s name they will have to do a name declaration.
  3. A double name combining the parents’ surnames or the possibility according to Rwandan law to create a name (Eigenname), is usually not possible according to German law.

Both parents must be present since their signatures on the name declaration must be certified.

The following documents are required as originals with two photocopies each (please note that Rwandan documents have to be presented in legalized form.

  • Valid passports for both parents
  • Birth certificates of both parents
  • Child’s birth certificate (“acte de naissance” - stating the parents’ names)
  • If you wish to make a choice of law declaration (see above, no. 3), 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
  • 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)
  • A deregistration certificate (“Abmeldebescheinigung”) from your last German residence or a current registration certificate (“Meldebescheinigung”) from your (last) place of residence in Germany (very important!)
  • translations of foreign language documents into either German or English
  • Birth certificates (full version - stating the parents’ names) of all other children of the parents including older siblings.

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

The fee for the name declaration is 25 Euro (around 22.500 RWF). Please note that the German Embassy Kigali 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 Embassy has to charge a fee of 10 Euro (around 9000.—RWF) for the certification of the photocopies required by the Registrar.

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

Please note that, as a rule, applicants who are late or do not have the required documentation cannot be seen that day and will have to make a new appointment.

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 passport for your child. The Standesamt (Registrar) in Germany will charge a fee for the certificate. You will need the certificate for the passport application.

Please note that the Embassy cannot predict 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 Embassy.

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