How to Change Your Name

in australia

FAQs

Who can legally change their name?

What is a deed poll?

Do I have to make my name change legal?

The six recommended steps to changing your name

How often can I change my name?

Are applications to change your name ever rejected?

How do I change my name after gender re-assignment?

How do I change my name and when can I start?

Do I have to change my name after marriage?

What can I change my name to after I've gotten married?

What is a name change certificate?

What is an official marriage certificate?

How do I change my name if I was married overseas?

Name change checklist


Who can legally change their name?

Any adult or child who has the right to reside in Australia on a permanent basis and who has not already changed their name within the past 12 months, can change their name.  Unless you are changing your name due to marriage or divorce, you will need to apply to your state's Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages to change your name and each state requires that you were either born in that state or have been living in that state for at least 3 months (sometimes proof is required).

What is a deed poll?

Deed polls are no longer used for changing names in Australia.  Name changes are now administered by the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in your state or territory.

Do I have to make my name change legal?

There is nothing stopping anyone taking on a new name without going through an official name change process.  This is called name by association, and you are free to call yourself what you wish, regardless of what is noted on your birth certificate. 

Conducting day to day business, such as opening a bank account or getting a drivers license for example will be almost impossible in your assumed name if it is not legally recognised.  The process for changing your name and getting a certificate that testifies to your new name (and therefore making your day to day business a lot easier!) is quite a simple and straight forward process that does not cost a lot.

The Six Recommended Steps to Changing Your Name

The below information is for standard name changes only.  If you are changing your name as a result of marriage or divorce, the process will be different.

1.    See if you are eligible to change your name in your state / territory.  Eligibility requirements are listed in the next section under each state / territory heading.
2.    Put careful consideration into your name change decision, ensure that you do really want to change your name, and what this new name will be. 
3.    Print off an application to register a change of name form (included in the kit), complete it and have it witnessed if applicable.
4.    Collate the necessary identification documents.
5.    If you are applying by mail, arrange to have your identification documents certified.
6.    Post your application or attend the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to submit your application with the prescribed fee.
7.    Once you have received your Change of Name Certificate, start changing your name with organisations.

How often can I change my name?

Unless you are changing your name as a result of marriage or divorce, you can only change your name once every 12 months.  Some states have rules about how many times you are allowed to change your name.

Are applications to change your name ever rejected?

If you are applying to your state's Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages to change your name (that is, your name change is not related to marriage or divorce), your change of name application may be refused if:
•    Your intended name is offensive, too long, includes symbols without phonetic significance or is contrary to the public interest;
•    You cannot provide sufficient proof of identification;
•    You have already changed your name within the past 12 months;
•    You are not an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident;
•    You are not a normal resident of the state you have applied in, or
•    The authorities believe you may be engaging in fraudulent or illegal activities. 

How do I change my name after gender re-assignment?

Changing your name after gender re-assignment is exactly the same, however there are additional requirements for altering your recorded gender on your birth certificate and other records.  This website does not cover gender change.

How do I change my name and when can I start?

This will depend upon why you want to change your name.  See marriage name change, divorce name change or standard name change for more information.

Do I have to change my name after marriage?

No.  A lot of newlyweds choose not to change their name at all.  In this case, there is no need to formally notify anyone that you have been married and intend to keep your name.

What can I change my name to after I've gotten married?

You can:

  •      Take on your husband’s last name.
  •      Hyphenate your last names (ie Smith-Jones), which approximately 5% of brides do.
  •      Double barrel your names (ie Smith Jones).
  •      Turn your maiden name into a new middle name and take on your husband’s name as your last name.
  •      Make up a new last name that is a combination of your maiden name and married name.
  •      Make up a totally new name.
Marriage name change kit


What is a name change certificate?

A Name Change Certificate is issued if you change your name through an official name change process with the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages.  

What is an official marriage certificate?

The proof of identity rules have recently changed in a lot of states. The “certificate” presented to you at your wedding will either be a “commemorative certificate” or a copy of the document that the celebrant will register later on.  This is different to the certificate that is issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to confirm marriage registration.  While some organisations will accept commemorative certificates as proof of marriage, many will not.  

How do I change my name if I was married overseas?

Unfortunately the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages will not issue you with an Australian Marriage Certificate if you were married overseas, and a lot of organisations will not acknowledge your overseas marriage certificate.  Therefore you will have to go through the official name change process.

How do you go about doing this?  Fill out an application form to register your change of name and receive a Change of Name Certificate, and submit it with the relevant fee.  We highly recommend the name change kit for newlyweds from www.afterthewedding.com.au

Name Change Checklist

Below is a short list of 25 places that you will need to change your name.  Thank you to the After The Wedding Name Change Kit for permission to reprint this extract from their checklist, which contains another 42 places for you to change your name.

Driver’s licence

Passport

Electoral enrolment

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

Medicare

Council (for rates if you own a property)

Centrelink (if receiving benefits)

Bond authority (for renters)

Utilities

Phone

Bank accounts

Home loan / personal loans

Store accounts (eg Myer card)

Home / contents insurance

Doctor

Ambulance membership

Your employer (HR / payroll)

Superannuation funds

Union membership

Gym membership

Loyalty programs (eg FlyBuys, Myer One)

Video libraries

Your will

Accountant

Tollway accounts (e.g Citylink)