Law of names

For German citizens the use of a name is subject to German law. The possibility to choose and use a certain name under German law may differ from the the name being used in South African civil status papers, passports or ID documents.

Law of names

  • Law of married names

    Under German law the use of a name by each spouse is subject to the applicable law of his or her home country (Art. 10 of the Introductory Act on the German Civil Code).

    Meaning, the German spouse’s name is only subject to German law. His or her name does not change unless a name declaration is done alongside or subsequent to the marriage.

    Family name upon marriage between a German citizen and a foreign citizen abroad

    I. Upon marriage in Germany the spouses may choose a joint marriage name. The respective name will then be entered into their marriage certificate. If they do not determine a certain family name each spouse will retain his or her present name.

    II. If a marriage takes place abroad, the choice to determine a certain marriage name is not always given to the spouses since foreign law is often lacking such provisions, especially with regard to equal choices of both spouses. As a result, the German spouse as far as the German law on names is concerned retains the name he or she had prior to the marriage (separate use of names).

    However, the German law on names does provide for a subsequent “declaration on the name in marriage” to obtain the respective name (i.e. the joint marriage name). This declaration can be done for as long as the marriage persists. The declaration is irrevocable.

    Selection of German law:

    Please note that when selecting German law only the husband’s or the wife’s family or maiden name can be choosen as marriage name. Only when choosing German law the husband or the wife respectively may add his or her previous name or maiden name to the marriage name to form a double-barrel name (sec. 1355 para. 4 of the German Civil Code).

    Selection of foreign law:

    Please note: You may also choose the law on names according to the laws of your spouses nationality. When doing so you may only choose a name in accordance with the provisions of these laws.

    Please thouroughly fill in the name declaration for the use of name in a marriage ("Erklärung über die Namensführung in der Ehe") together with your partner. Then both sign the declaration with your current name under German law and in presence of a member of the German Missions. The declaration is done at a fee of 25 Euro, payable in ZAR according to the applicable exchange rate at the time. An additional fee is applicable for the certification of the required certificates. An additional fee of 10 Euro, payable in ZAR according to the applicable exchange rate at the time is applicable for the certification of the copies of the supporting documentation, these fees can be paid in cash or credit card (Master and Visa cards only),please note that the copies must be certified by the German Mission.

    Please hand in the declaration and the following additional documents plus two ordinary (not certified) copies each to the competent German Mission, please note that all South African certificates must be unabridged:

    • Passport and ID both Spouses
    • Marriage certificate (unabridged)
    • Birth certificates of both spouses (unabridged)
    • Divorce decree (if relevant)
    • Death certificate of late spouse (if relevant)
    • Proof of German citizenship, ie. German citizenship certificate/naturalisation certificate/ German birth certificate/Birth certificate of German parent
    • Erklärung Ehegatte - Namensführung [pdf, 243.74k]

    The German Missions will pass your declaration along to the competent public registrar in Germany who will issue a certificate on your use of name in marriage. Please be advised, that an additional fee needs to be paid into the account of the public registrar in Germany for the certificate stating your new family name.

  • Name of a child

    If the parents of a minor child do have a joint family name at the time of birth the child automatically receives the same family name. However, if the parents of a German child do have separate names they need to choose a family name for their child, despite the fact that the South African birth certificate may already state a family name.

    If one of the parents does have a citizenship other than German citizenship, they first have to choose the respective law for the child.

    According to which law is our children’s name established and which choices do we have?

    1. German law: If both parents are German citizens, German law is automatically applicable for the name of the child. You may either choose the father’s or the mother’s name. The name choice does also determine the family name of any future siblings.

    2. Foreign law: If one parent is a South African citizen, parents may opt for either German law (options as above) or South African law and may choose options offered by South African law. The choice does not automatically have an effect on future siblings.

    Which documents are needed to make a name declaration for our child?

    If a name choice is mandatory, you may either determin the child’s name within a registration of birth or if you do not wish to apply for a German birth certificate you may sign a name declaration.

    Please fill in and sign the form "Erklärung zur Namensführung eines Kindes". You then need to have your signatures certified with the competent German Mission,a fee or 25 Euros payable in Rand is applicable, an additonal fee of 10 Euros to have any copies certified has to be paid, these fees can be paid in cash or credit card (Master and Visa cards only).

    Please hand in the following documents with the declaration, please bring the original documents and two ordinary (not certified) copies:

    • Passport and ID both parents
    • Birth certificate child (unabridged)
    • Birth certificates both parents (unabridged)
    • Marriage certificate (unabridged)
    • Divorce decree (if relevant)
    • Death certificate of late spouse (if relevant)
    • Proof of German citizenship, ie. German citizenship certificate/naturalisation certificate/German birth certificate/Birth certificate of German parent or grandparent.
    • Erklärung Kind - Namensführung [pdf, 272.22k]
    • Geburtsanzeige [pdf, 333.97k]

    Documents will be send to the competent authority in Germany, a certificate is issued within 2-3 months.

  • Name change after divorce or death of spouse

    A divorce or the death of the spouse does not have any effect on your name. However, if you wish to acquire a previous name (for example maiden name after divorce), you may sign the respective declaration with your competent mission. It might be mandatory, that you first have your foreign divorce recognized with the German authorities.

  • Name of a child over the age of 18

    If you are 18 or older and one of your parents is a German citizen and you wish to apply for a German passport for the first time you may also require a name declaration.

Law of names

Signature

Opening hours, appointments and contact details

Consular/Passport Section Pretoria

Passport Section

The Consular and Passport Section will be closed 

on 25 May and 5 June 2017

Online appointments (no fee)

Appointment required for application          

Passport collection (no appointment required):

Monday - Friday

08:00-11:30

Telephone enquiries:

Monday - Thursday

08:00-14:00

Friday
08:00-13:00

Telephone

+27 (0)12 427 8900

Public Holidays 2017

Reception

Opening hours for consular matters (excluding passport and visa issues):

No appointment required for:

- Certification of signatures and copies
- Translation of drivers licenses
- "Lebensbescheinigung"

Please make an appointment for the following consular services:

- Registration of births
- Name declarations
- other civil status matters (e.g. adoption, divorce)
- Notarisation (e.g. certificate of inheritance, acknowledgement of paternity)

Monday - Friday

08:00-11:30

Enquiries via telephone and e-mail: 

Monday - Thursday

08:00-14:00

Friday

08:00-13:00

Telephone

+27 (0)12 427 8900

Contact via e-mail

Address

201 Florence Ribeiro Avenue, Groenkloof, Pretoria 0181

Phone:
+27 (0)12 427 8900

Consular/Passport Section Cape Town

Further information

Passport Section
Online appointments (no fee)
Application by appointment only
Passport collection (no appointment required):
Monday - Friday
9:00 - 12:00
Telephone and email enquiries:

Monday - Thursday only

14:00 - 16:00

Telephone
+27 (0)21 405 3052
Fax

+27 (0)21 421 0400 (South Africa)

+49 (0) 30 1817 67209 (Germany)
Public Holidays 2017
Directions to our office
Enquiries via e-mail
Further information on passports

OTHER CONSULAR SERVICES (No passport or visa

applications)

No appointment required for:

- Certification of signatures and copies

- Name declarations

- Registration of births or marriages in Germany

- Translation of drivers licenses

- "Lebensbescheinigungen"

- Confirmation of residence

Please make an appointment for the following

consular services:

- Citizenship matters (e.g. retention of German citizenship,

  naturalisation, determination of German citizenship)

- other civil status matters (e.g. adoption, divorce)

- notarisation )e.g. certificate of inheritance, acknowledge-

  ment of paternity)

Please make the appointment via e-mail

Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday       09:00 - 12:00
Telephone and e-mail enquiries:

Monday - Thursday

08:00 - 16:00
Friday
08:00 - 13:00
Telephone
+27 (0)21 405 3000
Fax

+27 (0)21 421 0400 (South Africa)

+49 (0) 30 1817 67209 (Germany)

Enquiries via e-mail

Further information on consular services

Address

Physical address:

Roeland Park / e-tv Building

4 Stirling Street

Entrance: top end of Stirling Street

Zonnebloem 7925 (District Six)

Postal address:

P.O. Box 4273

Cape Town, 8000

Honorary Consul, Durban

Enlarge image For the KwaZulu-Natal province, please contact the liaison office below.

Contact the Honorary Consul, Durban

When applying at the Honrary Consul's office in Durban applicants must fill in their visa-application online and bring the printed version with them.

Application in Durban

Organization
Honorary Consul: Horst Achtzehn
Address

Office hours

Mon - Fri

08:30 - 12:00

Consultation with Honorary Consul (only with appointment)

Mon - Fri
12:00 - 13:00

9 Kensington Drive, 
Westville, 
Durban 3629

Postal address:
P.O. Box 1166, 
Westville,
Durban 3630

Phone:
+27 (0)31 266 3920
Fax:
+27 (0)31 266 3925

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