Registry offices closed - expect delays
Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, we have closed our Registry offices and there will be a delay in our regular processing times. If you need a certificate urgently, use our online services and select ‘priority’.
We’re working hard to support our customers during this challenging time and thank you for your patience.
Change your surname after marriage
If you were married in Australia, you can take the surname of your husband, wife, or partner without registering the name change. Learn how to change your surname after marriage in Australia
Read the information below on changing a name and then apply online.
Change of surname after marriage in Australia
If 'Yes', visit our Change your surname after marriage page*.
If 'No', visit our Register a Change of Name (Adult) online form.
*If you are changing to your partner’s surname, or adding their surname to yours, you do not need to go through a formal name change application process. You can use your official marriage certificate to prove your new name.
Change your Name (Adult)
To register a change of name for an adult for any other reason use our online form below.
Change the name of a child
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.
Who can apply for a change of name
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.
What you need to apply
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.
How to apply
Simply register your name change online with one of the above options.
- be 18 years of age or older
- provide proof of identity and residency and
- disclose any criminal records.
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.
Apply by post
Download and complete the
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
Download and complete one of the below forms.
Bring your original identity documents with you to a Service NSW service centre.
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 of your change of name certificate begins when we have received your complete and correct application.
- Certificates are delivered by registered post and we have allowed a week for this in the times below. Estimated times may vary slightly.
- Australia Post advises customers to anticipate delays with international post.
up to 10 weeks
up to 4 weeks
up to 12 weeks
up to 5 weeks
Registry agents (Service NSW)
up to 12 weeks
up to 5 weeks
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.
Note that once the change of name has been registered and a certificate issued:
- The change of name certificate cannot be used to amend any details of a registered life event that occurred before the registration date of the change of name.
- Some organisations may not accept certificates if they are laminated.
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.
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).