How many names do you have in the Czech Republic?
That is a legitimate question to ask many foreigners. Some might even be surprised, thinking that of course, they only have that one name – only to find out that the local authorities called them by many different ones. And we’re not talking about nicknames!
How can you find out if this is your case? Are you
- an EU or a non-EU citizen who is also a family member of an EU citizen?
- coming from a country that does not use Latin script (e.g. Cyrillic script)?
- or are your residency documents not biometric?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might find out that you are known under more than one name (or surname) in the CR. Your name might be difficult to transliterate from your vital records (e.g. birth or marriage certificates) into Czech and as a result, changes are made.
Although the names stated in your passport cannot be changed and have to match those in your Czech residency document, you might end up with three (or even more!) versions of your full name in various Czech documents: for example, your original one written in Cyrillic, one transliterated from Cyrillic to Latin in your home country and one transliterated from Cyrillic to Czech according to the Czech spelling rules.
Obviously, having so many names and surnames can be very confusing and could lead to misunderstandings. Here are a few recommendations on how to avoid too many versions in Czech documents.
How to avoid too many versions of your name
- In countries with more than one official language, you can choose from which language your vital records will be transliterated.
- Double-check how a translator transliterates your name and ask if there are any other possibilities.
- If you have a marriage certificate issued in the Czech Republic, you can ask the Registry Office to add your other name(s) as well as your birth number into the certificate.
We have one more tip: ‘Matriční jednota‘
If you are an EU citizen (or a family member of an EU citizen) and your name is different to the one transliterated into Czech, visit the Immigration Office in person and ask them to enter your matriční jednota (your ‘unified transliterated names’) as a note into your temporary residency or permanent residency document.
For example, if you are a family member of an EU citizen, your name is written as Ian Kukushchenka in your passport. The same transliteration of your name will also be written on the main page of your temporary/permanent residency document. However, somewhere in your residency booklet, there will also be a note with your full name transliterated according to the Czech spelling rules as Jan Kukuščenka which is identical to the transliteration in your birth certificate/marriage certificate.
Matriční jednota is useful if you’re dealing with Czech authorities – it’s easier for them to identify you because all versions of your full name are unified in one document.