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A foreign national living on the territory of Russia can in fact change their first or last name (or both). To do so, they must visit any Civil Registry Office on the territory of the Russian Federation. The application will be reviewed over a period of a month following the day of its submission.

The following documents must be submitted to complete the first or last name change:

  • The original passport of the foreign national and a notarized translation of it.
  • The original birth certificate of the foreign national and a notarized translation of it.
  • If the citizen is married and the marriage was concluded beyond the borders of the Russian Federation, the original marriage certificate and a notarized translation of it.
  • If the foreign national has a minor child, their birth certificate must be provided. If the child was born beyond the borders of the Russian Federation, the original birth certificate and a notarized translation of it will be required.

The name change application is to be submitted to the Civil Registry Office in writing personally by the person whose name is to be changed. A 1,600-rouble state fee is charged for the procedure.

In order for the name change certificate issued by the Russian Civil Registry Office to bear legal force beyond the borders of the Russian Federation, it must be stamped with an Apostille in the event that the country is party to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961 (there are currently about 123 countries listed as participants). If the country is, however, not a participant, the document must be stamped for consular legalization (in the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the country's embassy for which the document is intended).

It must also be kept in mind that following the first or last name change, the foreign national will also have to change their passport and driver's license. Without a valid passport, the foreign national will be unable to leave the borders of the Russian Federation, so the applicant must be patient, allocate plenty of time for the document change procedure to take place, and complete all of the bureaucratic procedures at a relaxed pace.

Can a foreigner change their first or last name in Russia

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