Go TO Content

What are the rules governing the adoption and change of children’s last name? How do I apply for registration?

(1)    Referring to the amendment of the Civil Code announced on May 23, 2007, household registration offices should follow the principles below to handle the last name adoption of newborns when parents apply for birth registration:
  • Parents agreeing on the last name of children should submit the agreement on last name adoption of children.
  • When parents reach no agreement, the household registration office will draw lot to determine the last name of their children: either the father’s or the mother’s last name.
  • When parents do not complete birth registration for their children after the deadline and ignore the further notification, the household registration office will draw lots to determine the last name of their children: either the father’s or the mother’s last name.
  • Children born out of wedlock should adopt the mother’s last name in birth registration.
  • Orphans whose parents are unknown should adopt the last name of their guardians in birth registration.
  • If the last name of children is determined by drawing lots by the household registration office or for orphans of unknown parents adopting the last name of their guardians, when the application is made for a change of last name later on, the count limit specified in paragraph 4 of Article 1059 of the Civil Code will not apply.
  • When a parent of a newborn is deceased before his birth or birth registration, the survivor should determine the last name of this newborn. When both parents are decreased, the guardian should determine the last name of this newborn: either the father’s or the mother’s. The same should apply to parents who are non compos mentis and feeble-minded.
  • Applicants who do not apply for birth registration for the newborn after drawing lots may ask for drawing lots for a second time before the household registration office completes the birth registration compulsorily. In addition, when a parent is unreached, both parties do not communicate with each other or refuse to reach an agreement on the last name of their children, applicants may draw lots to determine the last name of children: either the father’s or the mother’s, as no agreement is reached.
(2)    Rules governing last name change after birth registration:
  • When children are minors, their parents may make a written agreement to change the last name of their children to the father’s or mother’s last name. When children reach majority, they may apply for changing their last name to the father’s or mother’s last name independently.
  • When parents are divorced or a parent is deceased, is missing for three years, or fails to perform his/her duty to protect or educate/raise children, for the benefits of the children, another party may apply to the court to announce the last name change of their children to the father’s or mother’s last name.
  • After changing the last name, the lineal descendant by blood of these children should follow the lineage of their new last name.
(3)    Regulations governing application for last name change by the recognized or adoptee:
  • Children born out of wedlock adopting the mother’s last name: After being recognized by the father, the recognized may apply for last name change with reference to paragraphs 2-4 of Article 1059 of the Civil Code. Minors may change to the mothers or father’s last name with the written agreement between the parents. After the legal age, they may change to the father’s or the mother’s last name through independent applications.
  • Children born out of wedlock recognized by the biological father: After the biological parents got married afterwards, those who have adopted the mother’s name in their birth registration may apply for last name change with the written agreement between the biological parents, or adults may determine change to the father’s or the mother’s last name independently.
  • When adoption was completed before the promulgation of the amendment made to Part IV Family of the Civil Code on May 23, 2007, the adopted children should adopt the last name of the adopter with reference to Article 1078 of the Civil Code in that time. When an adopter is married, the last name of adopted children should be determined with reference to Article 1059 of the Civil Code.
  • When a party of a couple adopts the children of another party, the last name change of the adopted children should be determined based on their age. When changing the last name of adopted children under 7 or over 7 but are still minors, these children should make the declaration of intention and accept the declaration of intention through his/her statutory agent with reference to paragraph 2, Article 1076 of the Civil Code. Hence, changing the last name of adopted minors should be determined by agreement between the adopter and the legal representative of the adoptee. The adoption of adults should be approved by their parents. The last name change of adult adoptees, however, should be agreed upon between the adopter and the adoptee. Adopting the last name of the adopted father or original last name does not need the approval of the adoptee’s biological parents.
  • At the time of adoption, adoptees may decide on their last name, either maintaining their original last name or adopting the last name of the adopted father or adopted mother, by agreement. If adoptees are minors at the time of adoption, the adopted parents may change the adoptee’s last name by agreement. After adoptees become adults, they may apply for last name change independently. The limitation on the frequency of last name change before adoption does not apply to the last name change of adoptees after adoption.