Name Related Procedures

A new given name, surname or both given name and surname can be applied for by Estonian citizens and by stateless individuals residing in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit.

In order to change a name, an application must be submitted to the one of the four local government of the county center which is Jõhvi Rural Municipality Government, Pärnu City Government, Tartu City Government and Tallinn Vital Statistics Office.

The decision regarding the change of name is made depending on the reason for the application, either by the deputy secretary general of the Ministry of the Interior (hereinafter the deputy secretary general) or by an official of the four local government of the county center mentioned above. The change of name is entered in the population register by the official of the four local government of the county center, who issues the name change document (decision or extract of the decision) to the applicant. The name change document is delivered to the applicant by the agency to which the application for the change of name was submitted.

As a rule, before submitting the application, a state fee of 100 euros must be paid to the local government of the county center to which the application for the change of name was submitted by the person. Since the state fee is required for the application to be reviewed, the state fee is not refunded if the name change is rejected.

 

Application for a new name

To apply for a new name, the following must be submitted:

  • a written standard application to the four local government of the county center mentioned above signed personally or digitally;
  • a personal identity document (except for an application signed digitally);
  • the birth certificate of the applicant;
  • a document certifying the marital status of the applicant;
  • documents certifying the births of minor children of the applicant;
  • if the applicant wishes to have a family surname, then the documents concerning the marital status or other documents certifying this name.

Submission of documents is not required if the necessary information can be obtained from the population register.

If marital events took place in a foreign state, the documents proving them must be in Estonian, Russian or English. If the documents are translated, the translation must be prepared by a sworn translator or certified by a notary.

A document from a foreign state must be legalised or apostilled, unless otherwise specified by an international treaty.

If an individual wishing to change a name resides in a foreign state, he or she can send a standard application to one of the four local governments of the county center mentioned above, provided that his or her identity has previously been established and the correctness of his or her signature has been confirmed either by a consular official of an Estonian foreign mission.

An application to give a new name to a minor child or an adult with restricted active legal capacity is submitted by his or her legal representative.

If the parents have a joint right of custody over the child, in order to change the name of the child the written consent of both parents is required. If one of the parents no longer exercises his or her right of custody, the other parent may request the court to transfer the right of custody to him or her. In addition, the parent has the right to request the transfer of the right to make a decision in order to change the name if the other parent cannot be reached.

 

State fee for a change of name

Before submitting an application to change or restore a given name, surname, or both given name and surname, as a rule, a state fee of 100 euros must be paid. Since the state fee is required for the application to be reviewed, the state fee is not refunded if the name change is rejected.

Recipient of the payment is the Ministry of Finance with the following bank accounts:

SEB Pank EE891010220034796011 (SWIFT: EEUHEE2X)
Swedbank EE932200221023778606 (SWIFT: HABAEE2X)
Danske Bank EE403300333416110002 (SWIFT: FOREEE2X)
Luminor Bank EE701700017001577198 (SWIFT: NDEAEE2X)

Reference numbers for the four county governments:

Jõhvi  10294002000024
Pärnu  10294002000105
Tallinn  10294002000011
Tartu  10294002000134

 

The state fee does not need to be paid:

  • if the person wishes to bear the given name or surname firmly established in actual usage, which differs from the full name entered in a document or the population register due to the writing of the name as one or several words or due to a mark which is not a letter (apostrophe, hyphen), or due to single characters, and which complies with the requirements of the Names Act;
  • if the person wishes to use, in the case of a given name or surname consisting of two names in brackets, one of these names without brackets;
  • if the person wishes to bear a given name or surname in the form entered in the population register but which differs from the form of the name entered in the document serving as the basis for assigning the name to the person due to the application of transcription rules;
  • if the person wishes to give his or her minor child the surname that the person took after marriage.

The state fee shall be paid if the person wishes:

  • to use the surname of his or her parents, grandparents or great-grandparents;
  • to use, in the case of a surname consisting of several names, only one name;
  • to change the number or order of names in the given name;
  • to bear the same surname as his or her spouse or add the surname of his or her spouse after his or her surname;
  • to bear as a widow/widower, the surname last borne before marriage;
  • to abandon an unconventional given name or surname which is not suitable to be used as a given name or surname due to its complex spelling or pronunciation, or spelling or pronunciation which does not comply with Estonian language use, or due to its general linguistic meaning;
  • to abandon the current surname or protect his or her full name, if it coincides with the full name of another person;
  • to avoid harmful economic or social consequences arising from the full name;
  • to bear an Estonian surname;
  • to change the surname for any other good reason.
 

Application for a given name

An application for a given name is reviewed and a respective decision is made by a county government or the Tallinn Vital Statistics Office on the basis of different requirements and limitations applicable to given names.

The county government or the Tallinn Vital Statistics Office assigns a new given name (except repeated applications for a new given name), if the person wishes:

  • to abandon an unconventional given name that is not suitable to be used as a given name due to its complex spelling or pronunciation, or spelling or pronunciation which does not comply with Estonian language use, or due to its general linguistic meaning;
  • to protect his or her full name if it coincides with the full name of another person;
  • to avoid harmful economic or social consequences arising from the name;
  • to change the number or order of names in the given name;
  • to bear the given name firmly established in actual usage, which is different from the given name entered in a document or the population register due to the writing of the name as one or several words or due to a mark which is not a letter (apostrophe, hyphen), or due to single characters, and which complies with the requirements of the Names Act;
  • to use, in the case of a given name consisting of two names in brackets, one of these names without brackets;
  • to bear the given name in a form that is entered in the population register but which differs from the form of the name entered in a document serving as the basis for assigning the name to the person due to the application of transcription rules;
  • to change the surname for any other good reason.

Requirements and limitations applicable to a given name:

  • a given name may consist of not more than three names written as several words or two names linked by a hyphen;
  • the spelling of an Estonian name shall be in accordance with the rules of orthography of the Estonian language, and the spelling of a non-Estonian name shall be in accordance with the rules of orthography of the relevant foreign language;
  • a non-Estonian given name must be in use in another state as a given name;
  • a name which contains numbers or non-alphabetical signs or which separately or together with the surname is contrary to good morals shall not be assigned as a given name.

The following shall not be assigned as a given name without good reason:

  • an unconventional given name which is not suitable to be used as a given name due to its complex spelling or pronunciation, or spelling or pronunciation which does not comply with general language use, or due to its general linguistic meaning;
  • a name which does not correspond to the gender of the person;
  • a well-known name used as a full name or a shortened version of the name, a name of a well-known author or a service name.

A new given name may not be:

  • a name which is not suitable to be used as a given name due to its complex spelling or pronunciation, or spelling or pronunciation which does not comply with Estonian language use, or due to its general linguistic meaning;
  • a name in the case of which the given name and the surname of the person would be the same;
  • a name in the case of which the new full name and year of birth of the person would coincide with the full name and year of birth of another living person.
 

Application for a surname

The county government or the Tallinn Vital Statistics Office assigns a new surname (except repeated applications for a new surname), if the individual wishes:

  • to use the surname of his or her parents, grandparents or great-grandparents;
  • to use, in the case of a surname consisting of several names, only one name;
  • to bear the same surname as the spouse or add the surname of the spouse after his or her surname;
  • to bear, as a widow/widower the surname last borne before marriage;
  • to bear a surname firmly established in actual usage which is different from the name entered in a document or the population register due to writing of the name as one or several words or due to a mark which is not a letter (apostrophe, hyphen), or due to single characters, and which complies with the requirements of the Names Act;
  • to use, in the case of a surname consisting of two names in brackets, one of these names without brackets;
  • to bear a surname in the form entered in the population register but which differs from the form of the name entered in a document serving as the basis for assigning the name to the individual due to applying transcription rules;
  • to give his or her minor child the surname which the individual took after marriage

The deputy secretary general assigns a new surname, if the person wishes:

  • to abandon an unconventional surname which is not suitable to be used as a surname due to its complex spelling or pronunciation, or spelling or pronunciation which does not comply with Estonian language use, or due to its general linguistic meaning;
  • to abandon the current surname if his or her full name coincides with the full name of another person;
  • to avoid harmful economic or social consequences arising from the full name;
  • to bear an Estonian surname;
  • to change the surname for any other good reason.

Requirements and limitations that apply to a surname

  • When applying for a new surname, the new surname may consist of one name or two names linked by a hyphen.
  • A surname may not contain numbers or non-alphabetical signs or function separately or with the given name in a manner that is contrary to good morals.
  • The spelling of an Estonian name shall be in accordance with the rules of orthography of the Estonian language, and the spelling of a non-Estonian name shall be in accordance with the rules of orthography of the relevant foreign language.

A new surname may not be (*limitations applicable to applications to be decided by the deputy secretary general):

  • a name which is not suitable to be used as a surname due to its complex spelling or pronunciation, or spelling or pronunciation that does not comply with Estonian language use, or due to its general linguistic meaning;
  • a name which is borne by 1–20 living persons according to information in the population register;
  • a name in the case of which the new full name and year of birth of the person would coincide with the full name and year of birth of another living person;
  • a name which is too widespread, i.e. it is borne by 500 or more persons according to the population register;
  • a name which is used as a given name;
  • a name of a well-known historical figure or a famous family;
  • a name referring to a legal person or the protected part of a well-known registered trade mark consisting of words, and the names of state and local governments and bodies and authorities;
  • a name in the case of which the given name and the surname of the person would be the same;
  • a surname consisting of the two surnames of the parents

Exceptions may be made if, due to his or her citizenship, family relations, national identity or religious beliefs, an individual changing his or her surname has a personal connection to a foreign-language name tradition and the name applied for complies with that tradition.

If an individual wishes to obtain both a new given name and a new surname, and the assignment of at least one of them belongs to the competence of the deputy secretary general, the application concerning the assignment of both names is reviewed and decided upon by the Ministry of the Interior. In addition, both applications concerning the assignment of given names and surnames shall be reviewed and decided upon by the Ministry of the Interior.

 

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Last updated: 8 January 2018