Name Change in Germany

1 Sep 2017 Karina S. Henkel

Finally, I am doing it! After five years of procrastination I have started the process of registering my marriage in Germany and –  even more important for me right now – changing my name in Germany, too. I have always felt uncomfortable since I started using my married name here in the US, but my passport still has my maiden name. It doesn’t matter as long as I don’t leave the US. But since I travel at least twice a year to Europe, I always get nervous whenever I come back because I anticipate trouble with customs. So far – knock on wood – only once a customs officer gave me a very serious look and told me I had better change my name quickly. My fear of not being allowed to enter the US has not come true yet and surely is not very realistic, anyway. But I am afraid, nevertheless. Which makes it even more mysterious that I didn’t do this   five years ago. But I guess I am a mysterious woman.

There is, of course, some paperwork involved - and I hate paper work, I really do. It also turned out that I had to get some of the required documents from Germany first, and that always takes time. Now I know, for example, that the little piece of paper that I got in Berlin when I officially gave notice of my move to the US is a very important document. Without this document, I can’t do anything from abroad. So, I had to make a couple of phone calls and send emails to Germany to get a new document issued and a new copy of my birth certificate.

Anyway, according to the German embassy’s website, Andrew and I now have all the original documents that I will need to register my marriage in Germany. We now have to go to a notary public who will certify the copies and our signatures on the forms and then I will send them to Berlin.

I am curious about how long all this will take. According to the German embassy’s website it takes up to five years before my marriage is registered in Germany. The name change might go quicker.

We will see.