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Old 07.01.2014, 19:50
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Baby Name Rules

Hi all,

I scanned the archives for this exact question and couldn't find it, apologise if I over looked something.

I'm an Australian citizen (of indian descent) and my husband is an Indian citizen- and we're going to have a baby. We both currently have different last names- I didn't change mine after we got married.

Culturally the south indian way of doing things is that the baby would take my husband's first name as its last name. It also has the benefit of being short and easy for non-Indian speakers to pronounce (unlike our surnames which are both utterly horrendous).

This is our preference, but while I see that the laws have now changed to allow the mother's name to be chosen, I'm not sure if an entirely different last name can be selected?

Would appreciate your advise on this point or alternatively, which government department might be able to advise me further!

Thanks!
I.
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Old 07.01.2014, 20:13
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Re: Baby Name Rules

I think the rule only applies to Swiss marriages, i.e. Swiss and Swiss or Swiss and foreigner.

My experience of my expat friends who aren't married to Swiss people and have had kids here, is that they can choose (and have chosen) whichever parent's surname they want for their baby.
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Old 07.01.2014, 21:07
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Re: Baby Name Rules

https://www.ch.ch/en/surname-child
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Old 07.01.2014, 22:45
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Re: Baby Name Rules

I had 2 kids here in Switzerland and what I've learned is that this rule only applies for Swiss couples, as one of the parents have other nationality and the child is entitled to this other nationality the rules of those other countries could apply as well.

Basically in our case you could choose among the rules of 4 different countries, I was even amazed to find that Brazil had a rule about last names (I only saw this here never found any reference to it in Brazil where I think last names are not so rigid), anyway as long you can prove it's a valid lay from where your husband comes from it should be accepted here.
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Old 07.01.2014, 22:48
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Re: Baby Name Rules

These people can answer your question: they will be making the decision, so why not ask them? Standesamt Thalwil

http://www.thalwil.ch/de/verwaltung/aemter/?amt_id=1849
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Old 08.01.2014, 06:31
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Re: Baby Name Rules

One more thing, to register a new born child, I believe the Swiss insist on birth certificates less than 6 months old, so maybe you should order them soon!
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Old 15.01.2014, 10:33
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Re: Baby Name Rules

Thanks very much everyone.

I guess I was unclear: the tradition in South India is that the baby's last name is the father's first name. So if my husband's name is John Smith, my child's name would be XXX John.

The birth certificate is a whole other kettle of fishrdering a birth certificate is not possible for either of us. He was born in Bombay in 1978, and I was born in Calcutta in 1980- and neither city had the kind of records at the time which would permit reordering now.

Adventures in Swiss Bureaucracy and Indian inefficiency.

Really, thanks so much for the advice which made us start to get organised early. If we'd left it until after the baby was born on the assumption it'd be straight forward I think we'd have been really stressed out.
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Old 15.05.2014, 17:53
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Re: Baby Name Rules

I have a question about this.

Let's pretend my name used to be Mmmilk Pastychick. My husband's name is Hercules Mighty de Smith Jones (Mighty being his mother's maiden name and Smith Jones his family name). Traditionally in my husband's country, I would've adopted the name Pastychick de Smith Jones when we got married. But as we married in my home country and they didn't allow the "de" bit, I had to become Pastychick-Smith Jones.

Traditionally again, in my husband's country, our baby would be named Pastychick de Smith Jones (so again, the mother's maiden name + "de" and father's family name) but as we are in Switzerland, we realised this might not be allowed.

A few phone calls later to people who decide these things, we found out today that there is a new name law in town that only allows one name to be given to the kid, despite both mother and the father having these mile long name monsters. So, they want to cut the family name Smith Jones in half and just name the kid "Jones" so not after mine or my husband's name. Peculiar, no? So in the end we'd all have different surnames despite being a family unit.

As I am trying to avoid delays when it comes to registering the baby here, in my country as well as in my husband's country (and getting the passport etc), I'd like to hear if anyone had to tackle anything similar lately, after this new law came about? Are we at lost, will our baby be..... Just Jones?
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Old 15.05.2014, 18:11
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Re: Baby Name Rules

As far as I know, even with the new rules coming into force, foreigners still have a bit of an advantage in that you can call your child any name that they would legally be allowed to be given in your home country.

If this is still indeed the case, it requires a letter from the embassy of your home country verifying that the name is legal in their eyes....but obviously this would not be something you could do in advance unless you were firmly set on a name.
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Old 15.05.2014, 18:17
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Re: Baby Name Rules

Of course we mentioned that we are both foreigners and we'd like to name the kid after either me or my husband and yet they insisted they'd only allow the one name for surname (the Jones), foreigners or not.

Let's see how things develop after the birth, I'll come back to inform how the battle went in case someone else is struggling with the same thing.

In the meantime, if someone already went through this recently, please let me know how it went.
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Old 10.06.2014, 09:44
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Re: Baby Name Rules

mmmmilk: thought I'd come back to post an update since this query took some puzzlement on our end as well. Essentially the Swiss rules are you can name your child any first name and either of the parents' last name you want.

This of course didn't help me at all- so my husband and I did the following:
1. Contacted the Zivilstandamt to confirm whether what we were proposing (husband's first name as baby's last name, all three of us with different last names) was acceptable- they said under Swiss law, no. However, as the child would not be a Swiss citizen, we would be allowed to select any name we chose as long as we had written confirmation from the country of the baby's intended citizenship that the proposed name was legally acceptable in said country.
2. We contacted both our home consulates (Australia and India) to ask if they could give us an affirmation whether the name we would be proposing would be acceptable under the law of our home nation- India said they would certify our attestation (useless for our purpose as it didn't confirm the law), Australia provided us a generic letter confirming how names could be chosen in Australia (Any first name, any last name connected to the parents)
3. We went back to the Zivilstandamt and they said that the letter we got from Australia was not acceptable as it wasn't clear that we could select an 'unrelated' last name.
4. We went back to the Australian Consulate (who by the way after the baby is born is getting a GIANT box of chocolates as well as a picture of the baby from me) who supplied two further letters specifying that the first name could be whatever we chose, the last name could be whatever we chose and the name we were proposing was acceptable and as follows:

First name - TO BE DECIDED
Last name - HUSBAND'S LAST NAME

5. We returned to the Zivilstandamt and they accepted the letter happily. We have seven odd weeks until the baby is born, and while we're still experiencing the joys of the birth certificate fiasco, atleast one thing is settled

Hope this helps- make friends with the people at your Consulate/Embassy. They'll be invaluable in helping you sort through it all.
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Old 10.06.2014, 09:56
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Re: Baby Name Rules

Babys last name is husbands last name as this post? Or is it husbands first name as you wanted? I suspect a typo but i may be wrong.
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Old 10.06.2014, 10:39
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Re: Baby Name Rules

Quote:
View Post
First name - TO BE DECIDED
Last name - HUSBAND'S LAST NAME
I thought you wanted Husband's first name?
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Old 10.06.2014, 11:22
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Re: Baby Name Rules

Caught out in Typoville!

First name - TO BE DECIDED
Last name - HUSBAND'S FIRST NAME

Thanks to the (more than I!) eagle eyed
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Old 23.05.2015, 01:26
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Re: Baby Name Rules

Hello Everyone,

Really helpful thread!!

Well I have one question , if someone please suggest what exactly is the Swiss rule . I am an expectant mother and currently residing in Zurich.

My passport name : <MY_FIRST_NAME> <FATHER_SURNAME>
My marriage certificate: <MY_FIRST_NAME> <HUSBAND_SURNAME> nee <FATHER_SURNAME>

Post I still haven't applied for surname change and spouse name inclusion in passport.

Which name will Zivilstandsamt zürich pick to include as Mother's Name in newborn birth certificate - my passport name or marriage certificate name?

Thanks in advance
Amrita
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Old 02.09.2015, 23:19
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Re: Baby Name Rules

Your marriage certificate name will matter because when go to apply for name change on passport if you want to change, marriage certificate will be important document for that.
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