First name legal change

The process of changing the name in Montenegro is regulated by the Law on Personal Name. Personal name or only the surname or name itself may be changed after the change of family or personal status (adoption, paternity or maternity determination, conclusion, divorce or annulment of marriage) or at the request of a Montenegrin citizen (Article 9). This means that the change of name is done on a personal request, it is not conditioned by the process of gender affirming process, and the only limitation that relates to the change of name is the protection of public security and the rights and freedoms of others. In this respect, exceptions to the right to change names are:

  • if you have been convicted of a criminal offense until a punishment is committed or as long as the legal consequences of the conviction are taking place
  • In case you are being prosecuted for a criminal offense prosecuted ex officio, if you submit a request for a change of name or surname, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is obliged to notify the competent authority within three days from the day of issuing a decision on changing a personal name the court.

The fact that a name is perceived as „male“ or „female“ or „gender neutral“ should not be an obstacle to changing the name, regardless of which half you write in the documents. This means that if staff working in the Ministry of Interior refuses to receive a request, or refuse to make a change only because in their opinion that name does not match the gender in your documents, it means that the staff violates the Law and freely you can complain about them. If you come to this situation, do not ever withdraw your request for a change of name, but ask the Ministry to issue a decision stating the reasons for refusing your request. This document is needed to file a complaint with the Ministry and the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms.

Since the name change is separate from the change in the gender mark in the documents, it is possible that you will have, for example, The „male“ name and the female gender mark, or vice versa, and the JMBG (personal ID number) from which the gender mark can be seen remains the same as long as the gender labeling in the documents does not change, which unfortunately can create various problems and complications (eg when employing, enrollment in school / faculty, etc.).

Changing the personal name upon request (Article 14 and 18) shall be entered into the registry books on the basis final decision on changing the personal name, in accordance with the law. The Registries are kept by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Montenegro. For the mentioned changes, the Regional Unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is in charge of your residence.

The process of changing a personal name is as follows:

  • You fill out a request to change your personal name in the MUP Division of your MUP in which you are domiciled
  • You will enclose with the application the following documents:
  1. Identification documents (identity card)
  2. Taxpayer fee (25 euros)
  • After you submit a request, you are waiting for a change of name change

With this solution you can remove a new birth certificate, new identity card, new passport, driver card, new bank cards (some banks charge it), change data in banks, tax, school / faculty / business / bureau, etc.

If you are a minor before reaching your age, you can not change your name without the consent of your parent or guardian (Articles 16 and 17). Also, your written consent is required to change the name. If a change of a personal name is requested by one parent, the application must be accompanied by the consent of the other parent. If parents live separately, a change in the personal name of a minor can be requested by the parent with whom you live, or who is responsible for your keeping and upbringing, if the other parent agrees with that. If another parent fails to give consent to change a personal name, the guardianship authority provides assistance to parents in reaching an agreement. If the change of name is requested by your guardian, the application must be accompanied by the approval of the competent guardianship authority.

Until now, there has been one case known in Montenegro, in which the Ministry denied the right to transfer the name to the desired one, forcing it to submit a request for a name change in the name perceived as gender neutral. In this case, the Queer Montenegro team, in cooperation with Spectra, filed a complaint with the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms. After examining the case, the Protector gave an opinion in which it was concluded that there was discrimination on the basis of gender identity, as well as a violation of the right to change the personal name guaranteed by the Law on Personal Name, and gave a recommendation to provide the injured party with the opportunity to change the personal name to the desired, and that the practice of changing the personal name of trans persons in the future will be implemented in accordance with the law. From the practice we know that after this process, it has run smoothly.

If you happen to have a problem when changing a personal name, please contact us, in order to provide you with support and help you to start the mechanisms which will ensure respect of your human rights.