Changing legal name
One of the requirements of the Standards of Care is acquiring a legal, gender appropriate first name. This page covers the basics of choosing such a name and legally changing it.
- 1 Name selection
- 2 The legal process
- 3 Updating records
- 4 Specific jurisdictions
- 4.1 North America
- 4.1.1 Canada
- 4.1.2 United States
- 4.2 Europe
- 4.3 Australia
- 4.4 New Zealand
- 4.1 North America
- 5 Discuss
Many trans women choose a mild feminization of their male name (e.g. Michelle from Michael), a gender neutral name (e.g. Lynn, Erin), a hyper-feminine name (e.g. Angela and names ending in -a), or a unique or invented name. Regardless of the type of name, the name chosen balances out several competing criteria. Often a name is selected for its symbolic or etymological meaning, good memories of someone similarly named, family tradition, etc. Some factors to consider include the following:
- Gender: Does the usage statistics and etymology of the name fit with your sense of gender?
- Does the name blend with your other names?
- Age appropriateness: Do people your age have that name?
- Individuality: Will there be many people with your name in the same room often?
- Monograph: Does the monograph look pleasing or at least not look like any dirty words?
- Objections and psychological value as appraised by the person changing their name.
You can look up the meanings of names at Behind the Name. You can also find interesting data on the popularity of names there (as indicated from SSA data). Looking at the statistical data for the popularity of a name with respect to decade and gender may help in the selection of a name. For example, a young person who wants a feminine androgynous name would find that the name "Dana" is age appropriate (i.e. popular for his or her age group), common and yet uncommon, and popular for boys and girls (but more popular for girls).
Trans women changing their last names as well sometimes add an "s" to their former male name while others avoid male names period. One trans man, born "Teena Brandon", chose his name, Brandon Teena, since last name first is standard procedure in many large institutions.
Forming a pleasing monograph may also be of interest as few would willing accept gifts from a person with a name like "Mindi Ulma Dupree" or "Ursula Margaret Donner" since the initials spell "MUD."
The legal process
A legal name change in the United States starts with a visit to the county clerk. After filing all forms pertinent to the name change (namely a form which documents the requested name change), the name change is checked with the county records department for prior name changes. A court date is scheduled to hear the name change request. This date is published in several papers to ensure that people to whom the person owes money can still collect.
Once in court, the person is sworn in. The judge asks if the name change is for any fraudulent purpose. The person usually responds no. The change is granted. Even if objecting parents show up, the change can still be granted.
Some states like Michigan require fingerprinting if you are 22 or older. Michigan does not seem to require parental consent for those over 18, and certainly not for those over 21 years old. If you are young and certain, please do consider 18-21 to be a prime time to change your name. The fingerprinting can add up to three months or more. Without fingerprinting, name changes can be finalized in a month's time.
Your legal name change is a court order. Financial institutions, government agencies schools, and businesses must annotate their records accordingly. Additional information and guides on changing your name can be found at http://cache.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/iowa/news/fact.html?record=1164
After a name change, the following files, licenses or agencies often need updating. (This list is not exhaustive, but it can certainly be exhausting.)
- Student records
- Driver's license
- Pilot certificate
- Voter registration
- Financial records
- Radio operator's permit
- OHIP card
- Credit cards and bank accounts
- Loans and mortgage papers
- Titles and deeds
- Insurance policies
- Utility companies
- Library cards
- Your employer
- Post office
- Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and retirement plans
- Professional associations
- Car registration
- Medical records
- LLC memberships
- Veteran's Administration
- Social Security Administration
- Transportation Security Administration
In the United States, the Social Security Administration will automatically forward your name change to the Internal Revenue Service. The records at the IRS are generally updated ten days after the records at the SSA are changed.
You need to change your name on the following federally controlled documents:
Changing these documents can be difficult as the departments concerned often need original documents as proof. While not official policy, applications can usually be sped up if you appear personally at the offices to make the change or application.
Note that you will need proof of your status in Canada to change your SIN. If you are a naturalized citizen, change your SIN before you change your citizenship card or you will have to wait to change your name on your SIN.
Name change requests made in the province of Alberta must be submitted to a local registry agent. Application forms are obtained at either a registry agent, or the Vital Statistics office. More information is available on their web site.
The fees for (legal) name change services is $120.00 per application, (to the Alberta government) and a RCMP Civil Fingerprint Screen Services fee of $25. In addition registry agents are authorized to charge a service fee.
The Division of Vital Statistics handles name change requests in British Columbia. The forms and information can be obtained at http://www.vs.gov.bc.ca/name/index.html or you can obtain them at any Access Centre. You will have to be fingerprinted by a designated agency (usually the RCMP), who will send the request to Vital Statistics for you, so make sure that your forms are complete when you go for your fingerprints.
When asked for a reason for the name change, you may use "customary use" if you are not comfortable stating "gender change."
The Vital Statistics Agency handles name change requests in Manitoba. To obtain an application, you will have to contact the agency and either request that one be mailed, or pick it up in person. If the request is denied, an appeal may be made at the court.
254 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg MB R3C 0B6
Local phone: 945-3701
Pour service en francais: 945-5500
To call toll free: 1-800-282-8069 Ext. 3701
Unless otherwise authorized, legal notice of the issuance of a certificate of change of name is published (at the applicants expense) in the Manitoba Gazette. The cost of changing name is $25.
After a successful name change you will need to notify other government agencies to update their records, a list of some of the agencies and how to contact them is listed here: http://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca//pdf/Changing_identification.pdf
Like some other providences, New Brunswick requires a person who wants to change their name to be at least 19 years of age, (unless currently legally married) and are a legal resident of the providence. Included in the application, needs to be a "long form birth certificate, Landed Immigrant document, or Canadian Citizenship card". The application must be signed by a non-family witness who has known you for at least 2 years, and in front of a Notary Public or Commissioner of Oaths.
While the grounds for refusal are for the most part simple, (not of the purpose of fraud or to avoid financial obligations ect.) famous names and the possibility of a situation where a child with parents that will have different surnames after the name change, are grounds for rejection. If the application is rejected appeal may be brought to the court.
If you were born in another providence, the fee to update your birth certificate/marriage records will vary. For an application, or to inquire about the fee to change name, call the Vital Statistics Office, at (506) 453-2385. After name change you can update your medicare card, drivers licence and vehicle registration through Service New Brunswick, either by phone, (1-888-762-8600) or at a local service centre.
Newfoundland and Labrador
To legally change your own name, you must be 19 years of age or older, If you are under 19 years of age, a parent or legal guardian must complete the process. You also must be a legal resident for at least 6 months. If otherwise, you must apply in your province of residence.
The following documents are required:
- Published copy of the notice in the Gazette (if changing a surname)
- Birth certificate in the old name (a baptism certificate is acceptable if you were born in Newfoundland and Labrador and do not possess a birth certificate)
- Properly filled out application(s) for each name change as required
All changes of name that include a change of surname must be published in the Newfoundland Gazette unless one of the following conditions apply:
- When the applicant would be unduly prejudiced or embarrassed by the publication
- The change of surname applied for is of a minor child
- The applicant has been commonly known under the surname applied for (that is, you have been using the name for a while and want to make it legally legal)
The fees for the application are as follows:
- Newfoundland Gazette publication fee $11.40 (if your surname is being changed)
- Name Change $25.00
- New Birth Certificate $20.00
Information packages are available at Vital Statistics available by phone at: (709) 729-3308.
The Department of Health and Social Services Vital Statistics division handles name change requests. The process is relativity simple, and involves the following conditions:
- You are at least 19 years old
- A Canadian citizen, permanent resident or otherwise legally entitled to remain or live in Canada
- A resident of the Northwest Territories and have lived in the Northwest Territories for at least 3 months in a row within the 1 year period before application date
- Having possession of your original birth certificate
- And able to pay the $125 fee
The form to use is available here: http://www.hlthss.gov.nt.ca/pdf/forms/vital_statistics/english/application_for_change_of_name_package.pdf
Any birth certificates issued after a successful name change will have the new name on it as a convenience. After it is approved, it is likely that legal notice of the change, will be posted in the Northwest Territories Gazette. Duplicate Change of Name Certificates cost $25 each.
Name change requests are handled by the Vital Statistics Office.
The applicant must be both:
- 19 years of age or over, (if under-age, the application shall be filled out by a parent)
- Either born in the province of Nova Scotia, OR have resided in the province of Nova Scotia for at least one year immediately before the change of name application.
If the person changing their name was either born or married elsewhere in Canada, the notification of the name change is also sent to the Province/Territories of their birth or marriage and the applicant should apply there for a new certificate.
If you are intend to change your surname, a legal notice must be published in one issue of the Nova Scotia Royal Gazette. The notice must have been published within one year prior to the date of the application.
Applications must be accompanied by the required fee.
- Change of Name (one person): $144.70 (no tax charged). This fee includes one change of name certificate showing all name changes.
- Each additional change: $21.76 (no tax charged), such as marriage registration, spouse's name, children's names.
- Notice of intention to change surname: $25.83 payable to the Department of Justice.
Applicants must provide some of all of the following as documentation:
- A birth certificate for each person whose name is to be changed if born outside Nova Scotia.
- Immigration documents if born outside Canada (Record of Landing)
- Marriage certificate if the marriage occurred elsewhere in Canada (not in Nova Scotia). The certificate must have been issued by the provincial or territorial Vital Statistics office.
- Detailed birth certificates showing parentage for minor children born outside Nova Scotia.
- All birth certificates issued prior to the change of name
If you are married, the written consent of your significant other is usually required unless a court ruling states otherwise. The same goes with the changing of the name of a child. (the consent of the other parent)
The average waiting time from when the application including fees to delivered, to finish is approximately 2 weeks.
Application forms can be picked up and dropped off at the following address:
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
Joseph Howe Building, Ground Floor
1690 Hollis Street
Halifax, NS B3J 2M9
Phone: (902) 424-4381
Toll-free: (877) 848-2578
Fax: (902) 424-0678
If applying in person is not an option, the application may be obtained either by mail of by phone during the period of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. (except Holidays) The mailing address is:
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
P.O. Box 157
Halifax, NS B3J 2M9
To apply for a change of name you must supply the following materials:
- Completed application form
If the Applicant is 19 years of age or older OR if the Applicant is under 19 and married, the Applicant must complete the form on his or her own behalf using CHANGE OF NAME - FORM 1. Each applicant has to complete a separate form.
If the Applicant is under 19 and unmarried, a parent should apply on his or her behalf using CHANGE OF NAME - FORM 2.
If there are several children who have the same parents and who reside at the same address, an Appendix (CHANGE OF NAME - FORM 3) may be attached to Form 2. If any of the children have different parents or reside at different addresses, then separate forms (Form 2) must be used for each of these children.
- Birth Certificate or a Baptismal Certificate.
- Two pieces of identification or someone who has known the Applicant for a long time.
- Consent Form(s) (CHANGE OF NAME - FORM 4)
For consent to change an adult's name: An applicant who is married and who has not lived separate and apart from his or her spouse for more than one year must 1. Obtain consent from the other spouse 2. Give notice of the application to the other spouse
For consent to change a child's name: An applicant must 1. If the child is 12 years or older, the child must give his or her consent. 2. Both parents of the child must provide consent unless: One parent does not have custody or share custody of the child and is not contributing to the support of the child OR One parent does not have custody or share custody of the child and has severed his or her relationship with the child. 3. If the parent has a spouse who is not a parent of the child and the change includes the name of the spouse, the spouse must provide consent.
When consent cannot be obtained, a reason should be specified.
Based on information obtained from http://www.nucj.ca/changename.htm
Name change requests made in the province of Ontario must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar General. Application forms may (or may not) be available at local offices of the Registrar General. More information is available on their web site, including an "Online Change of Name Wizard" that will automate the process of getting an application.
Prince Edward Island
Persons applying for changes of his or her legal name must be:
- At least 18 years of age, and
- Has been a resident for the three months immediately preceding the date on which the application is received by the director.
The Change of Name application form can be obtained by writing or calling:
126 Douses Road
Montague, PE, C0A 1R0
After it is approved, legal notice of the change, may be published in the Gazette. If the director has reasonable cause to believe that publication would cause undue hardship then notice will not be published. The fee for a name change is $192.05. If the certificate of name change was obtained in another providence, registering it will incur a $25 fee.
Changing name in Québec can be done either through the courts, or more commonly, through administration. (via the Directeur de l'Ã©tat civil) Each application is handled by a case-by-case basis as to determine an acceptable serious reason for the change to take place. You must be a Canadian citizen and having domiciled in Québec for at least one year.
The first step is the filling out of an Application for preliminary analysis for a change of surname or given name  This is where it is determined if a name change will be allowed or not.
After approval, an Application for a change of name will be mailed to you. You will need to:
- State your reasons for the change (again)
- Swear under oath - before a person authorized by law to hear oaths - that the reasons and information given are accurate
- And enclose all the required documents
Before sending the application, you may have to publish notice (of the application) in the Gazette officielle du Québec and in a newspaper published or circulated in the judicial district where the applicant resides, unless a special exemption is granted for reasons of public interest. The administrative and publication fees are approximately $300. The processing time for a name change application is a minimum of six months. If the request is denied, there is a 30 days window to ask the court to review the decision. If it is accepted, notice will be published in the Gazette officielle du Québec and a Certificate of Change of Name will be sent out to you at no charge.
A name change in Saskatchewan is similar to many other provinces. The applicant must be at least 18 years of age, and be a legal resident for at least three consecutive months in the year before filing the application.
Some required documents (may) include:
- Proof of residency
- An official birth certificate
- If born elsewhere, (then Canada or the United States) official certificates of Canadian Citizenship
- An official marriage certificate, if you are married
- An official death certificate for your spouse, if you are widowed
- An official or certified photocopy of the Decree Absolute or Certificate of Divorce, if you are divorced
- An official or certified photocopy of any Agreement, Judgment, Decree Nisi or other Court Order granted with respect to the lawful custody of any child(ren) named in the application.
The fee to process is $125. Part of the application has to be signed before a Notary Public, Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Oaths. After the application is accepted, notice is published in the Saskatchewan Gazette at a cost of $10.70.
The number to call in Saskatchewan to contact the Vital Statistics division of the Information Services Corporation is 1-866-275-4721
Persons applying for changes of his or her legal name must be:
- At least 19 years of age, and
- Has been a resident in Yukon for the three months immediately preceding the date on which the application is received by the registrar.
Applications are obtained by mailing a request, or walking in to the Yukon Vital Statistics office.
4th Floor-204 Lambert Street
Whitehorse Yukon Y1A 3T2
The website is vague about what documents may be required. The fee for a name change is $50, while duplicate Change of Name Certificates cost $10 each.
For information on how to change your Social Security records, see the article, Changing Social Security records
For information on how to change your name, see Changing legal name in the US
The procedure to change your legal name and gender in Germany is regulated since 1980 by the Transsexuellengesetz. Below is a rather rough summary of the legal necessities. It is strongly recommended to read the law for yourself.
You can change your legal name if you have been medically recognized as being transsexual for at least three years and if:
- You are a German citizen, a German resident without citizenship in any other country, or a person applying for asylum
- It is very unlikely that you ever want to live as anything besides your chosen gender
- You are at least 25 years old
If you live in Germany you'll have to go to the local court of law (Amtsgericht) and file for a name change. If you are not a resident of Germany but are a German citizen or are applying for asylum, contact Amtsgericht SchÃ¶neberg in Berlin.
The judge will need two expert opinions on the medical condition. One of the experts will be appointed by the judge. If both experts agree that the desire to change gender is permanent, the judge will generally grant the motion. If the judge decides not to grant the motion, you have the right to appeal.
If the court grants the motion, it becomes a court order. This has the following implications:
- Your old name gets wiped off (almost) every record.
- Nobody, not even parents or friends, has to reveal that you ever had another name unless there is public interest to do so (law enforcement for example)
- Birth certificates of any children of yours will not be changed
To change your gender you will have to meet a few additional requirements.
- You cannot be married (however, this may have changed with recognition of same sex marriages)
- You have to be permanently infertile
- Some type of surgery to change your appearance has to have been performed (usually meaning SRS, but not necessarily)
In the Netherlands it is possible to change the name and sex on your birth certificate, following an amendment in civil law dating from 24 april 1985 (Stb. 243). In order to get this done, you need to get a barrister and/or solicitor [advocaat and procureur, for an explanation of these professions in the Dutch legal system, see http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advocaat_%28beroep%29 and http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procureur (in Dutch)] who will submit your request for sex and name change to the court. The full civil law article on this subject can be found in the Dutch Civil Code 1, (Civil State) [Burgerlijk Wetboek 1 (Burgerlijke Stand)], section 13, articles 28-28c. The full legal text in Dutch is available from http://www.wetten.overheid.nl.
Submiting Your Petition
To submit your petition, you will need the following documents:
- A copy of your birth certificate
This can be obtained from the council of your place of birth. Note that this is not the same as an uittreksel or excerpt from the birth register, a copy means the complete document, not a summary. In most cases, you can request this document online or by post. The usual cost will be about 10.
- Proof of Dutch citizenship
This information comes from the computer of the Gemeentelijke Basisadministratie (GBA) and can be obtained in the city where you live.
- A letter from a GID expert
You can get this from the Genderteam where you received treatment. The letter must contain the following information: your original name, your future name (there is no limitation on the number of forenames you can choose), your current city of residence, the fact that you have been diagnosed and treated as transsexual, have had GRS, and that you are no longer able to beget or bear offspring. (Note that the law requires the latter point to be mentioned specifically.) Finally, the letter should state that you are convinced that you are a member of the opposite sex and that the expert believes this conviction to be a permanent one.
If your GRS took place abroad, but you were treated by a Dutch Genderteam, you can obtain this declaration by submitting a copy of the letter your surgeon gave you, to the coordinator of the Genderteam. Usually, the declaration will be sent directly to your barrister. If that is the case, you must give the Genderteam permission to do so.
If you had GRS abroad and you were not treated by the Genderteam, you can go to your endocrinologist with the letter from your foreign surgeon. The endocrinologist can then write a letter that meets the requirements of the law. A letter from a foreign doctor is not considered as a declaration that meets the legal requirements.
Submitting your request through a barrister
The first step is finding a barrister who has done this before. Using the services of a barrister who is not familiar with the procedures is not recommended, because this means that the procedure will take the barrister more time, for which you will have to pay.
The cost of the entire legal procedure can vary depending on your income. If you make more than â‚¬ 1471 / month, with deduction of your health insurance fees, you will pay the full price: not just the barrister (â‚¬ 500, excl. VAT) but also the fees for the clerk of the court's office (â‚¬ 162). If your barrister is not located in your place of birth, the barrister will have to enlist an solicitor to submit your request at the district court (arrondissementsrechtbank) that your birth place falls under (â‚¬150 incl. VAT). In the worst case scenario, the total fees amount to almost â‚¬ 900.
If your net wages are below that limit, you are entitled to a subsidy for the fees for the barrister, if you remain below a certain amount of financial means. For this you need proof of your financial situation, which can be obtained from the Social Services. If you are living on mimimum unemployment benefit, of course you are entitled to the highest subsidy, and your fees will be no more than â‚¬ 99.
A legal aid insurance policy can not help you save money, because the procedure does not involve litigation.
You can obtain advice about barristers from www.europeants.org.
Submitting your request through a solicitor
Because the fees for a barrister are so high, you can try to submit directly through an attorney. This can save a considerable amount of money.
For the sex and name change procedure, the law states that the papers must be submitted by a solicitor (procureur). This is also the reason why it is usually expected that you need a barrister as well. However, this is not always true. Many barristers are also solicitors, (a solicitor is licensed to perform formal procedures, i.e. the paperwork for court.) Only a solicitor can submit your petition to the courts. A solicitor can also only work in one district, so if a barrister has to handle a case outside his/her own district, they will need to enlist a colleague to serve as solicitor in the appropriate district.
So, what you can do, is, like the barristers do among themselves, to find a barrister/solicitor who is willing to work for you only as a solicitor. If you succeed, this can save you a lot of money, as you will only need to pay the clerk of the court's office and the solicitor's salary (usually the hourly wages of the solicitor, which vary). If the solicitor does everything, you pay for the formal request as well. If you have already done all the necessary paperwork, and you have already written a request, you can save money on that also.
Unfortunately many barristers are not immediately willing to do this for you. There is an unwritten rule among barristers, that they do not work as 'solicitors only' for anyone outside their own ranks. The reason for this is to make more money, and to not lose clients by setting this precedent. Another reason is that in their function as solicitor, their name will be attached to your request and they want to make sure the request is written to their standard. So, if you provide your own written request, then make sure to state that is was written by a (befriended) barrister and that it has been used successfully in other cases. If necessary you can add that the request is not printed on their stationary, and that you personally take full responsibility for the correctness of your letter of request.
To find out if the solicitor is located in the district of your birth place, see this website: http://www.advocatenorde.nl/rvt/startpagina.html.
On http://www.europeants.org/WTPS/Papers/juridisch.htm you can find an example of a good petition.
Finally, after you have submitted your request, there is an appeal procedure, in the form of a three month period during which people can object to your request. Some courts will accept a declaration from you that you will not appeal their decision, in which case they may decide to skip the three month period. Most courts do not accept this.
After the three month wait, the procedure continues. Your actual birth certificate will not be changed. Unfortunately, the sex you were assigned at birth will still be recorded there, but a statement will be added that this sex has been changed. The addition stating your new sex will ONLY be visible on a COPY of your birth certificate, not on a summary. Luckily, only a few people have the right to request a summary of your birth certificate.
The birth certificate is not the only record of your past. There is also the database of the GBA. After the sex change, this database will add the code S, by which you will be recognizable as transsexual. However, you can have the information on your former sex removed. Your request for removal of this information must refer to the law stated in the Wet Gemeentelijke Basisadministratie Persoonsgegevens, article 81; and to caselaw: Arrondissementsrechtbank te Amsterdam, 21 augustus 2001, LJN-nummer: AD3348 Zaaknr: 01.0199. [see: http://zoeken.rechtspraak.nl/zoeken/dtluitspraak.asp?searchtype=ljn&ljn=AD3348&u_ljn=AD3348 ]
An model for your letter can be found at www.europeants.org/WTPS/Papers/juridisch.htm Include with your letter: a copy of the court decision, a copy of your passport or drivers license, and a copy of the relevant case law.
Changing your forenames before GRS
This can be done, following a procedure that does not rest on the transsexuality section of Burgerlijk Wetboek 1. For this, besides the "green light" of the Genderteam to start transition, you need: an original summary (uittreksel) of your birth certificate, proof of nationality from the GBA, and a declaration from a specialist psychologist and an endocrinologist that the change of your forenames helps with your transition. The Genderteam at the VU-hospital in Amsterdam can provide this. A letter from your GP is doomed to fail. This procedure will cost money, too. Moreover there is no model petition for this procedure, so it is recommended that you get a solicitor for this, too.
When you have gone through all the procedures to change your name and sex in the civil state, there's nothing stopping you from correcting your personalia with any institutions where you are registered. You can obtain a fully correct new passport and/or drivers license.
This article was translated and adapted from the Dutch: "What the Papers Say", 18 August 2003, (last revision 25 juli 2005), http://www.europeants.org/WTPS/Papers/juridisch.htm. We thank the the original author, Saskia, for allowing us to use this article.
Changing your name legally in the United Kingdom is a relatively easy process and can be done in a number of ways. Firstly you need to prove who you currently are, by supplying an up to date passport, drivers licence as proof of identity and then two utility bills, bank statements to provide proof of address.
The two ways to change your name are either by Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration, both are legally accepted by any agency or government body in changing other relevant documents (such as new passports, driving licence). There are a number of online companies that specialize in providing documentation, which is legally accepted under UK law. These are generally cheaper, but take longer and any mistakes are not easily rectified.
These need to be completed, witnessed and signed in the presence of a solicitor, magistrate or commissioner for oaths as you are then signing to say you revoke your previous name and will only use your new name in all circumstances. Once changed it is an offence (Fraud) to use your previous name. The service will cost approximately 50 GBP.
You will be provided with an original copy and it is always best to get a number (up to 5) certified copies of the original. Depending on what Government Department or Private company you are dealing with, you will be asked to provide the original (required for a passport) or certified copies. Having a number of these enables you to send off many name change requests at a time, remember to always request they be sent back.
To change your name in Australia is a relatively easy act, consisting of the following steps:
- Complete a change of name form in accordance with the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1997 (available at the ACT legislation register)
- Apply for registration of the Change of Name (this may require paying of a fee)
- Apply for entry of the change of name on the Births Register
- Apply for a new birth/change of name certificate
For information specific to your state/territory, see this website for a link to your local government
To change ones name, one must first complete a Name Change by Statutory Declaration (BDM 120) Formwhich needs to be signed in the presence of a practicing lawyer, Justice of the Peace, Notary Public, or Registrar of the Court and turned in via post with certified copies of your photo identification (passport, drivers license, etc.), 'proof of identity' documents (such as utility or bank statements), and for people not born in New Zealand, proof of New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency.
- The application fee is $127.70, plus $26.50 per copy for replacement Birth Certificates (for those whose birth was registered in New Zealand) or Name Change Certificates (only for those whose birth was registered outside of New Zealand).
- Filing a name change in New Zealand does not affect the sex recorded on your birth certificate; any new birth certificates after name change will still show the sex recorded at birth, as well as all previous names. If you have made significant steps in transition, however, it is possible to apply to change the sex recorded on your birth certificate through the Family Court; if successful, your birth certificate will show your preferred sex, and any previous names will be 'sealed' and will no longer be displayed on your new birth certificate, nor be publicly accessible.
- If you are under 18 and have not been married, in a civil union, or de facto relationship, the process uses a different form (BDM 122) which must instead be completed and signed by your legal guardian(s): Name Change by Statutory Declaration (BDM 122) Form
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