Changing your name

Changing your name is a big decision. You can change your name informally by asking people around to call you what you like, but you can consider formally changing your name if you want formal recognition of your new name. It is important to talk to family and friends about your decision – especially since people under 18 can’t change their name without permission from parents.

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Changing your name informally

If you want to use a different name, you can change your name informally by asking people like family, friends and your school to call you a different name.  You didn’t need to fill in any forms for this.  Changing your name informally is a free and easy way to change your name, and it gives you time to decide if you want to stay with your new name or change it back.

But if you change your name informally like this, you might run into problems when you apply for your driver’s licence, a passport, a Medicare card or Centrelink because there’s no official record to show that you’ve changed your name.

Changing your name formally

If you’re under 18 and you want to change your name formally, you’ll generally need the permission of both of your parents/guardians.   Your parents/guardians will have to apply to ACT Registrar-General’s Office. To change your name in the ACT, you need to have been born there or be a permanent resident in the ACT.

If you weren’t born in the ACT and you are not an ACT resident, then you need to apply to change your name in the state/territory you were born in/have lived in for a certain period of time.  To find out how about the laws in other states, please click Change State at the top of the screen.

Generally both of your parents or guardians will need to sign the form to change your name unless:

  • only one parent is named on your birth certificate; or
  • one of your parents has died or;
  • one of your parents/guardians applies to the ACT Supreme Court or any Court in Australia (including Family Court) to get an order to change your name because they think this is in your best interests.
  • you’re under 18 and married, or you have been married before.  If you’re in this situation, you don’t need anyone’s permission to change your name – see the section on Over 18’s (below).

How to apply to change your name

To get an application form to change click here. Please note that if you were born interstate you will have to apply with the state you were born in, and if you were born overseas there will be additional requirements.

How much does it cost to change your name?

It costs about $124 to change your name formally.  

It costs about $187 to change your name formally and to receive a certificate for the change.

What documents do I need to show to change my name?

Your parents/guardians will have to provide evidence to prove that they are your parents/guardians.  They will also need to show some documents that prove who you are. For more information on what documents you need to show to change your name, visit https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/1936/~/change-of-name-registration#!tabs-3 .

Can my parents change my name if I don’t want to change it?

We sometimes get asked by young people if their parents can change their name without their permission, for example if one parent wants you to use their name after a family divorce.

If you’re over 14 years old your parents can’t change your name unless you agree or a court decides that it’s in your best interest. In deciding what’s in your best interests, the court will take into account your views, but they don’t have to follow them. Other things the court can consider include:

  • how you feel about each parent
  • how often you see both of your parents
  • any feelings of being confused about your identity; and
  • if you’ll be embarrassed by having a different name from the person you normally live with

I’m over 18 – how can I change my name?

If you were born in the ACT or you are a resident in the ACT then you can apply to ACT Registrar-General’s Office to change your name.

If you are under 18 and you are married (or have been married before), you can change your name in the same way.

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