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Family name

Before they get married, the couple needs to decide which name is to be the family name. If nothing has been agreed, the current legal situation states that the man's surname becomes the family name.

If you decide on the woman's surname as your family name, you need to obtain authorisation from the government of your canton of origin, before you get married. 
Neither the woman nor the man has to give up their pre-marital surname. This name can precede the family name (without a hyphen: e.g. Thompson Taylor) if you relate your desire for a double name to the registry office prior to the wedding.


A further possibility is to place the pre-marital name after the family name using a hyphen (Taylor-Thompson). This double-barrelled name is not official, but can be entered in a passport or identity card if desired.


Important: Binational couples may, upon special declaration, bear the name prescribed by the law of the native country of the foreigner. In this case, the name registered in Switzerland will be the same as that registered in the native country. The name registered in the passport from the home country is the name under which the alien identification card will be issued. Thus, any changes must be performed in both documents.

You will find a facht sheet on using a name upon entry into marriage in Switzerland at www.bj.admin.ch.