Name and nationality

  • Every custodial parent has the right - but also the duty - to give their child a name. According to German name law, this consists of a first name and a family name.

  • Only those first names should be chosen which are by their nature first names and which clearly indicate the gender of the child. First names that are both male and female should only be chosen in conjunction with another first name that clearly determines the gender. If two first names are connected with a hyphen, they are considered as one name. A change of the given name(s) or the removal of a hyphen is no longer possible after the certification of the birth.

    • A child of married parents receives the married name of the parents as the name at birth.
    • If the parents do not have a married name - but if they are jointly entitled to parental care, they shall jointly decide within one month of birth whether their child is to be given the surname of the mother or the father (name determination). The decision made is binding for all further joint children. If the parents' joint custody is not established until after the birth has been notarized, the child's name can be redetermined within three months (cut-off period).
    • If the mother has sole custody, the child is generally given the mother's surname. However, with the father's consent, the mother can also give the child the father's surname (name assignment). The granting of a name is subject to a fee.
  • A child born in the Federal Republic of Germany to foreign parents acquires German citizenship in addition to any foreign citizenship if at least one parent has

    • has had his or her habitual residence in Germany legally for eight years without interruption
    • has a permanent right of residence or, as a citizen of Switzerland or a member of his or her family, a residence permit on the basis of the Agreement of 21 June 1999 between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation, of the other, on the free movement of persons (Federal Law Gazette 2001 II p. 810).

    The acquisition of German citizenship is entered in the birth register by the registry office.