Use of a name – change of name

Name changes of adults

Austrian citizens, stateless persons or persons whose nationality has not been clarified and who have their habitual residence in Austria, as well as refugees covered by the Convention on the Status of Refugees and the Protocol on the Status of Refugees who have their domicile and/or habitual residence in Austria are entitled to change their family names/surnames and first names.

The administrative district authority of the applicant’s current domicile or habitual residence or – if the applicant no longer lives in Austria – the administrative district authority of the applicant’s last domicile or habitual residence in Austria:

  • The District Authority (Bezirkshauptmannschaft)
  • In chartered towns: the competent Municipal Administration (Magistrat) 
  • In Vienna: Municipal Department 35 – Immigration and Citizenship (also for individuals who have never had a domicile and/or habitual residence in Austria)

The provisions applicable to name changes of foreign nationals are governed by the law of the applicant’s home country. Such name changes can only be performed in Austria if the foreign nationals applying for a name change are either stateless, their nationality has not been clarified and the applicants have their habitual residence in Austria or are refugees covered by the Convention on the Status of Refugees and the Protocol on the Status of Refugees having their domicile and/or habitual residence in Austria.

  • Completed application form or an informal written application
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate(s)/Registered partnership certificate(s)
  • Final ruling(s) on divorce/dissolution with confirmation of legal validity
  • Citizenship certificate
  • Official identification document with photograph
  • Document providing proof of the applicant’s academic degree (if applicable)

The informal written application must contain the following information:

  • Family name/surname
  • First name(s)
  • Address
  • Date and place of birth
  • The applicant’s nationality (or whether the applicant is stateless, the applicant’s nationality has not been determined, the legal status of a refugee)
  • Statement of the reasons for applying for the change of family name/surname and/or first name(s)
  • Statement of the desired family name/surname and/or first name(s) that are the subject of the application and if required also of the family name/surname or first name(s) that is/are to be relinquished or whose sequence is to be changed.
  • Signature of the applicant and/or the applicant’s legal representative if the applicant is restricted in his/her legal capacity to do business.

Adults who change their names must inform all relevant authorities of the change in their personal data, such as:

  • Name change in the passport
  • Name change in the citizenship certificate
  • Social security institutions

Further concrete information and advice is provided by the competent authority.

Name change in connection with marriage

When getting married fiancées have the following options  for their future names:

  • Common family surname
  • Compound surname
  • Separate surnames

If you wish to change your surname and travel abroad shortly after your marriage, you will require a new passport. Please contact the competent passport authority (Passbehörde) in plenty of time before your marriage. For more specific questions on marriage and change of name, please contact the competent registrar’s office (Standesamt).

Either the woman’s or the man’s name can be designated as the future couple’s common surname. If this surname consists of several parts, it is possible to use the entire name or individual parts of this name.

A surname obtained in a former marriage may also become the common surname in a subsequent marriage. It is, however, not possible to designate the compound surname from a former marriage as the common surname in any subsequent marriage.

The spouses may also designate a compound surname formed by a combination of both spouses’ surnames as the common surname. In order to avoid the formation of long confusing combinations of surnames, a compound name must consist of not more than a maximum of two parts.

The spouse whose surname is not defined as the common surname may determine prior to the wedding that he/she will use a compound surname consisting of the common surname and his/her own surname. This compound surname must likewise not consist of more than two parts.

A compound surname must be separated by a hyphen between the individual parts of the surname.

Children receive their parents’ common surname. It is also possible to designate the compound surname of one parent as the child’s surname. For further information on the name law provisions for children, please refer to www.help.gv.at.

Since 1. September 2013, spouses who got married prior to 1. April 2013 may also determine their surname(s) in accordance with the above provisions. Likewise, since 1 September 2013, the surnames of children whose birth or adoption was officially registered prior to 1 April 2013 may also be determined in accordance with the above provisions.

Once a spouse has decided to adopt a compound name, he/she is required to bear it henceforth (for instance in his/her passport, in his/her driving license and when signing contracts).

The authority responsible for issues related to and statements made in connection with the Name Law is the respective registrar’s office.

Spouses who do not determine a common surname retain their current surnames also after marriage.

If spouses do not determine a common surname but decide to retain the surname(s) they had prior to getting married, it is necessary to determine which surname is to be borne by any common children. It is thus possible to designate the surname of one parent as the surname of any common children. Alternatively, parents can determine that children are to receive a double-barrelled name that consists of both parents’ surnames. This double-barrelled surname must, however, not consist of more than a maximum of two parts which are separated by a hyphen.

If parents do not determine a family surname, children will automatically assume their mother’s surname even though this might be a compound surname.

Change of surname after divorce

After a divorce, the former spouses may retain or assume any surname they had legally used before.

If you wish to change your surname after a divorce to a surname you had used prior to your marriage, please contact the competent authority.

If the parents’ surname or the surname of one parent changes, for instance after a divorce, the child’s surname may also be changed. Any name change of children requires both parents’ consent (if the marriage is intact or in the case of shared custody after a divorce). A positive statement by one parent is, however, sufficient provided that he/she credibly assures that the other parent agrees to the name change or in cases where it is not possible to establish both parents’ mutual agreement by reasonable means. Children who already have the necessary cognitive abilities to make a reasonable and rational judgment (it is assumed that children have these abilities when they are over 14 years of age) may decide themselves which of the names they would like to use. If a parent has sole custody of a child, the other parent must be notified that a name change had been applied for and his/her opinion must be heard.

For further information on this topic, please contact the competent registrar’s office.

  • For divorced spouses: the registrar’s office where the last marriage was registered (the application can be filed at any registrar’s office in Austria)
  • For children: the administrative district authority responsible for the jurisdiction in which their domicile and/or habitual residence in Austria is located.
    • In chartered towns: the Municipal Administration (Magistrat)
    • In Vienna: Municipal Department 35 – Immigration and Citizenship (also as administrative district authority for persons who have never had a domicile and/or habitual residence in Austria)
    • The District Authority (Bezirkshauptmannschaft)

Upon request, submission of the registration certificate can be replaced by the relevant information retrieved by authority staff from the Central Register of Residence Registrations (Zentrales Melderegister, ZMR).

Following a divorce former spouses do not automatically assume their former surname. Former spouses retain their current (married) surname after a divorce, provided that they do not request a name change or have already taken the necessary steps for making a name change.

If spouses have adopted the surname of their partner, they may also retain this name after the divorce and also in another marriage – and even the new spouse may adopt this name.

After their parents’ divorce children keep the name agreed and determined upon their parents’ marriage.

Legal basis

For further information on name law, please go to www.help.gv.at.