Changing your name could become easier in Sweden

The Local Sweden
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Changing your name could become easier in Sweden
Children will be allowed double-barrelled surnames under the new plans. Photo: Lena Granefelt/Image Bank Sweden

Sweden's government wants it to be less hassle for residents to adapt their surnames, following public pressure to cut red tape around the process.


The move comes amid rising applications for both first name and family name changes in Sweden.
However residents seeking a new surname have until now come up against a range of complex stumbling blocks. For example Swedes are not supposed to take on last names that can be mistaken for or confused with existing names, especially if they can't give an acceptable explanation for their desire to switch.
"I do not think you should have limitations if there aren't good reasons for this," Sweden's Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told reporters on Thursday.
However he joked that a by-product of his government's push to change the law could be more people seeking to have the same name as himself.
"One effect is that everyone gets called Johansson. There are already quite a lot of us but it's no problem if there are more," he said.
The proposal would also see a ban on double-barrelled surnames lifted. Currently Swedes who want to take on their partner's last name but retain their own surname as well, have had to switch their family title to a middle name, which cannot automatically be passed down to their children.
Sweden's patent office last year received around 8,500 applications for a name change, about 2,200 more than the agency got 10 years ago.
While it remains more popular to apply for a change of first name, around 20 percent of applicants sought a new family name in 2015.


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