Citizens of Estonia and stateless persons staying in Estonia with a residence permit can apply for a new first name, surname and both first and surname. Citizens of another country need to address the country of their residence (embassy) if they want to change their name.
The procedure shall start with submitting the application and paying the state fee. Pursuant to the Names Act, the reasons for the person to apply for a new surname (§17¹) and a new first name have been determined (§19). If a freely chosen first and/or surname are desired, the application must explain: why the current first and/or surname is no longer suitable; why the names in the family tree are not suitable as a new surname and, if possible, name them; from which source the new first and/or surname originates from; what is the reason for choosing the new first and/or surname and other important information regarding the name change.
If required, you also need to submit: the applicant’s birth certificate; document evidencing the applicant’s marital status; documents evidencing the births of the applicant’s under-aged children; if you want to take a surname from your family tree, then marital status documents proving this name. If the marital events occurred abroad, the documents must be in Estonian, Russian or English. If the documents are translated, the translation must be by a sworn translator or confirmed by a notary. A foreign document must be legalised or with a confirmed apostille, unless the international agreement states otherwise.
Document submission is not required if the required data can be attained from the population register.
Giving a new name to a minor For a name change, a minor requires the written consent of both parents who have custody. The following options exist for giving the consent: on-site; send with a digital signature; send with a confirmation from a notary. Pursuant to subsection 4 (5) of the Names Act, the official shall be obliged to determine a parent’s consent or opinion.
The child can express his/her opinion on the spot in the Vital Statistics Department. If one of the parents does not use his/her custody, the other parent may apply to the court to transfer the custody. Moreover, the parent has the right to apply the transfer of required interest from the court in order to change the name.