There are several reasons why one might want to change his/her name. Some could change names due to marriage, or any other personal reason. In this guide, we’ll take you through the whole process of applying for a change of name in South Africa.
Before you can change your name, you need legal backing that will attest to that. This legal document validates all documents bearing your former name. In fact, without this document, all other document bearing your former name remains invalid.
Before we go into the procedures of change of name in South Africa, let’s take a look at possible reasons why people change names.
Possible Reasons Why People Change Their Names
There are several reasons why people choose to change their names. However, we’ll name but a few tangible reasons why people want to change their names.
- Dislike Current Name
- Changing Name Following Divorce
- Changing Child’s Surname to Mother’s or Father’s
- A desire for a Less or More “Ethnic” Name
- Transgender Name Changes
- Religious Reasons
- Political Statement
Having said that, let’s now take a look at the whole process involved in applying for a change of name in South Africa.
Eligibility for Change of Name in South Africa
- The person, for whom the Deed poll is sought, should possess a valid Identity Document.
- If a child is born out of wedlock and the mother marries a person other than the child’s biological father and wishes to change the child’s surname to that of her husband, the mother can apply.
- The person applying should have a sound and sufficient reason to change the name.
- For minors, either the parents or guardian, who wishes to change the minor’s name, can apply.
Requirements for Change of Name in South Africa
In order to complete the full process, the applicant would have to provide the following documents:
- Proof of identity
- The relevant filled and signed Application form/forms
- Reason for the change of name in written form (for all cases)
- In the case of married applicants: Written consent of the spouse is required
In the case of having the surname of a minor change, the applicant would have to provide the documents above as well as:
- Written consent by the natural father (in the case of the mother’s remarriage)
- Written consent by the mother’s husband (in the case of the mother’s remarriage)
- Written consent by the mother
Cost of Change of Name in South Africa
- Application for any change of the forenames or surname of a minor – R70.00
- Application for the changing of a major’s forenames in the birth register – R140.00
- Application by a major to assume a different surname – R325.00
How to Apply for a Change of Name in South Africa
- To apply for a change of name or apply for a deed poll in person, visit the office of the Department of Home affairs nearest to your location.
- Visit the office of the DHA and get the Application form for changing your name in the Register. The applicant will have to get the application form according to his/her requirement (See above).
- If the need is to change the forename, you have to obtain Form BI-85 from the office of DHA and fill the form as required. Also, the applicant should provide a sufficient reason for the change of name.
- If the applicant wants to change the surname of a minor in the Population register, he/she needs to get Form BI-193 from the office and fill the form with appropriate information. Also, the applicant should provide a sufficient reason for the change of name.
- Or if the applicant, who is a major, wants to assume a different surname for themselves have to get Form BI-196 from the office and fill it with appropriate details. Also, the applicant should provide a sufficient reason for the change of name.
- After completing the application form with respect to the need, attach the documents mentioned in the “Required Documents” section of this page and then submit it to the Department of Home Affairs office for further verification and validation processes.
- Then, the concerned officials will examine the application form and attached documents and scrutinize the reason provided for the change of name.
- If the authorities find the reason stated is sufficient and valid, the application will be further forwarded to the Director-General who will authorize the change of name.
- After authorizing, the Director-General will amend the change of name and publish the change in the gazette, in a prescribed manner. Then, the Director-General shall issue a Certificate from the Population Register on the change of the name.
Congratulations, you have finally completed the process for the change of name.