Choosing a child's first name and surname

Last updated more than 5 years ago

When a declaration of birth is filed with the civil registrar of the commune where the child was born, the parents must choose the child's first name and surname.

All parents (including those who are not married) are free to choose their child's surname and given name, provided that they agree on the surname to be given to the child, and that the fact that they are the child's parents is established simultaneously on or before the day on which the child's birth is declared.

Who is concerned

Children of Luxembourg nationality who were:

  • born after 30 April 2006;
  • adopted after 30 April 2006.

How to proceed

In most cases

Since 1 May 2006, parents may give any child born to them:

  • the father's surname; or
  • the mother's surname; or
  • or both of their surnames (with no hyphens), in the order of their choice, with only one name from each parent.

Example: Ms Weber and Mr Schmit will be able to give their child one of the following surnames: Weber, Schmit, Weber Schmit or Schmit Weber.

Note that the name chosen for the first child will be given to all of the other children born to the couple.

If the parents cannot agree, the child shall be given the first surname of their father and the first surname of their mother in an order determined by lot by the civil registrar in the presence of the person who declares the birth of the child.

Children born out of wedlock

A child born out of wedlock and recognised by their parents will, in principle, be given the surname of the parent who first recognised the child. The parents may, however, change their child's surname after birth (upon application to the judge in guardianship matters) by choosing one of the following three options:

  • the father's surname; or
  • the mother's surname; or
  • both of their surnames together.

Adopted children

The surname given to an adopted child is also determined according to the three options listed in the previous paragraph. An adopted child no longer automatically takes the name of the adoptive father.

Provisions governing the choice of children's first names

The law gives parents wide latitude in choosing the first name or names they give to their children, provided that their choice does not harm the child's interests or infringe the rights of third parties (for instance, the first name "Satan" would not be in the child's best interests).

Similarly, first names must correspond to the gender of the child in question.

The civil registrar has the right to refuse to register names that are purely fanciful, discriminatory, ridiculous or exclusively patronymic (such as "Schmit") in birth certificates.

First names must always be mentioned in the order in which they appear on the birth certificate.

Provisions concerning stillborn children and children who died before their birth could be registered

New legislation standardises the situation of stillborn children, and children who died before their birth was declared to a civil registrar, by giving parents the option to give them a surname and one or more first names, and register them with the civil registrar.

Who to contact

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