The Civil Registry Office offers two new products to its clients in connection with changes in the Civil Code as of September 1, 2021

ORANJESTAD - As of September 1, 2021, changes have been made to the Civil Code (BW).

In connection with these changes, the Civil Registry Office (Censo) its clients two new products or services, namely:

  1. Registered partnership (same-sex or opposite sex) 
  2. Introduction of choice of name

Below is a brief description of the new products and/or services of the Censo.

Registered partnership declaration 

Building Civil Regstry Office.Before entering into a registered partnership (GP), a deed of declaration of registration of a partnership must first be drawn up by the civil registrar. Almost all of the requirements for entering into marriage also apply to a registered partnership, such as birth certificate, declaration of unmarried status (declaration of marital status). 

More information can be found on this page of the website of the Civil Registry, www.censo.aw.  

Choice of surname (last name)

The law has changed as of September 1, 2021, and requires that for your first child together you choose the surname (gender name) of the mother, or the father or if either of them has a double surname name, a combination of the first part of the surname of each.   

The following are examples of (combination) options when choosing a surname.

In the case of 1 surname parents

Father Mother Result 1. Croes 
Croes Maduro 2. Maduro

In case of double surname 1 parent

Father Mother Result 1. Croes Perez
Croes Perez Maduro 2. Maduro
3. Croes Maduro
4. Maduro Croes

In case of double surname both parents

Father Mother Result  1. Croes Perez
Croes Perez Maduro Reyes 2. Maduro Reyes
3. Croes Maduro
4. Maduro Croes

You can only choose the last name for your first child. The chosen surname also applies to all subsequent children.

Children (within marriage)

You can choose a surname before the birth or at the time of the declaration of the birth of their child. Children can have the surname of the father or the mother or a combination if one of them has a double surname. Both parents go to the civil registry together to have the choice of the name recorded. The child will then be given the surname chosen in the surname choice document from birth. If one of the parents is not present or does not choose a surname, the child will receive the father's surname.

Recognition of choice of surname (from September 1, 2021)

A child will receive the mother's last name, except if upon acknowledgment both parents have indicated they choose the father's last name or if one of them has a double surname choose a combination of the first part of the last name of each. The mother and the acknowledger must both be present.

Building Civil Regstry Office.Parental authority (as of September 1, 2021).

Mother and father have joint custody of the child after the recognition unless they declare to the registrar that only the mother has custody. This declaration is included in the acknowledgment certificate sent to the Court of First Instance. 

Children sixteen years of age or older may choose their surname upon acknowledgment.  

Choice of surname by persons wishing to change their surname during the age of 18 to 23 years

A child may change his or her surname by name choice for five years after becoming an adult. A child can make a surname choice for the father's surname, or if one of them has a double surname choose a combination.  

Name choice 'transitional arrangement' (until September 1, 2026)

Per the transitional arrangement for the new Civil Code (BW), parents of minor children can choose a name within five years of the introduction of the new BW.  

Please note

This entails that all official documents, e.g. passport/ID, become invalid as a result of the change in the name so that a new application and payment are required.

You may find more information on the website of the Office of Civil Registration and Population Registry www.censo.aw or send DBSB an email at info@censo.aw.

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