Taking the surname of your spouse
If you were married in Australia, you can take the surname of your husband, wife, or partner without formally changing your name. Learn more about marriage in NSW.
You can apply to change your name if you are over the age of 18 and:
- your birth is registered in NSW, or
- you were born overseas and have been a resident in NSW for 3 consecutive years when you apply, or
- your birth is not registered in NSW and a protection order has been made to protect you and/or your children from domestic violence.
The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 (NSW) restricts certain classes of persons from changing their name without the permission of a supervising authority. It also restricts people from making a change of name on behalf of a restricted person.
A restricted person is:
- an inmate
- a person on remand
- a parolee
- a periodic detainee
- a person who is subject to a supervision order
- a forensic patient, or
- correctional patient.
You must obtain permission from the relevant authority to apply for a change of name if you are under the supervision of the:
Making an application without approval is an offence under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995.
If you are a restricted person, you may be able to apply to change your name if you meet any of the following requirements for exemption.
- You have been convicted of an offence are a former serious offender under Commonwealth law.
- You are being held under the:
If unsure of your status contact:
For more information about who can apply, see the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995.
In NSW, you can only change your name once in a 12-month period and 3 times in your lifetime.
If you change your name or use an additional or other name with the intention of breaking the law in any way, you could face criminal charges.
When a change of name is completed, we amend the birth registration:
- for a child to include the change of name, but do not change the names of the parents
- for an adult to show details of previously registered names and former names used.
To register a change of name for your child (under 18 years) both parents must complete the application.
One parent can apply alone if:
- they are the only parent named on the child’s birth certificate or
- the other parent is deceased or
- a court has specifically approved the new name for the child.
Most names can be registered but not all. We cannot register a name that:
- is offensive
- is too long
- includes numbers and symbols such as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Jnr, Snr
- could be confused with a title or rank such as colonel, judge, saint, queen, prince.
Learn more about the rules for choosing a name.
You must return all of your original certificates with your application including any:
- NSW birth certificates and extracts and
- NSW change of name certificates and extracts.
Proof of residency in NSW
You must provide a document that shows your residential address:
- for the current year (issued in the last 3 months) and
- one for each of the previous 3 years.
For example, if you are applying in 2020, you must have lived in NSW in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 (a total of 4 documents).
Registration of change of name
All prices include postage & handling. Add $9 for international post.
If your application is incomplete, non-compliant or refused, we will only refund the certificate fee.
Processing begins when we have received your complete and correct application.
- Certificates are delivered by registered post.
- The number of working days to process certificates depends on how you apply.
- The processing time does not include delivery which can be up to 6 working days.
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- be 18 years of age or older
- provide proof of identity and residency and
- disclose any criminal records.
Download and complete the Change of name for an adult application (PDF, 1.01 MB)
For a child (under 18 years of age)
Both parent/s (if recorded on the birth certificate) must apply on behalf of the child and
- provide ID for themselves and their child and
- disclose any criminal records for the child.
Download and complete the Change of name for a child application (PDF, 1014.66 KB)
Apply by post
If you are applying by post, you must enclose copies of your identity documents certified by a:
- Justice of the Peace
- notary public
- practising solicitor / lawyer
- Service NSW officer or
- other approved witness listed on the application form.
Applying in person
Bring your original identity documents with you to a Service NSW service centre.