Choosing or changing a first name and surname
Choosing a first name
After a child’s birth, the parents may choose a first name themselves.
The first name may only be rejected if it:
- Is confusing
For instance: a typical girl's name for a boy or vice versa
- Harms the child
For instance: a ridiculous, absurd or offensive name
- May harm third parties
For instance: an existing surname given to a child as a first name, if this is unusual
Choosing a surname
The surname is chosen in accordance with the legislation governing names of the child’s nationality.
When registering the birth of a Belgian child, you may choose one of the following surnames:
- Surname of the father or co-mother
- Surname of the mother
- A combination of those 2 surnames, the parents choose the order
In case the parents disagree on the choice of name, the child will get the double surname of both parents in alphabetical order.
The surname chosen for the first child will also apply to the next children born from the same parents.
If the child has more than one nationality, the parents may opt for the legislation governing names of one of the child’s nationalities, instead of for the Belgian legislation, when registering the birth.