Name determination

Some countries are unfamiliar with the distinction between a first name and a surname. Instead, they register the entire name as one. In The Netherlands, you may need to request a further name determination to correctly register your name. 

If your first and surname cannot be registered separately, this will result in no official first name on your Dutch passport. The Dutch authorities base your passport on your birth certificate. If no distinction is made on the birth certificate, this leads to a blank first name:

First name: —

Surname: full name (first name + surname) 

How can I register my first name properly?

The good new is that your name can be ‘fixed’.  You can request a Dutch passport with your correct name! The bad news is that the process is time consuming. 

In the following, we shall provide you with a step-by-step guide to correcting your name.

Step 1 – register your birth certificate

The Dutch authorities cannot change a foreign birth certificate. 

Instead, you first have to ask the Dutch authorities to register your foreign birth certificate. The process takes about 4 months and is described here.

Step 2 – correct your name

In the second step, after your birth certificate is registered in The Netherlands, you ask the Ministry of Justice to determine your correct name (“naamsvaststelling“). In other words, you request the Ministry of Justice to correct your name in accordance with Dutch law. The application form is available here. Unfortunately, it is only available in Dutch!

The process takes about 7 months in total.

What are the costs

The registration of your birth certificate and the determination of your true name by the Ministry of Justice are both free of charge. However, as neither application is available in English, we regularly assist clients seeking to have their name registered properly in The Netherlands. Registration of your correct name is also a first step towards changing your name.

If you have any questions or need assistance having your name properly determined, please contact us.

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