Change Your Name (Deed Poll)
- Obtain all necessary documents in applying for the change of name.
- Submit your application along with all other requirements.
- Once the new name or surname is accepted, you may proceed in registering your new name.
- Certificate of Criminal Record
- Request Addressed to the Minister of Justice
- Application addressed to the Registrar
- Identity Card (original and photocopy) Change Your Name (Deed Poll)
Office Locations & Contacts
Ministry of Justice & Attorney General
Lamina Sankoh Street
Tel.: (232) 22 227444/225695/226891
Fax: (232) 22 229366/224940
People choose to change their name for a variety of reasons. Maybe you just want to change the spelling of your name, you don’t like the name your parents gave you, you want to get rid of your middle name, you want to remove any family associations, or maybe you just want a change. You can legally change your first name, middle name or surname, or any combination of those.
How you should go about changing your name will depend upon which category you fit into. Changing your name after marriage or divorce is quite a simple process, while changing your name ‘just because’ requires a little more effort, but it is still quite straight forward and a lot easier than it used to be.
To change your name, submit a petition to your local Superior Court that details the reasons you’d like to change your name. After the court approves your request, you’ll then need to update your Social Security card, driver’s license and passport.
- Your name as listed on birth certificate or immigration or citizenship documents.
- The full name you are applying to change to (if you are changing your name).
- Date and place of birth
- Marital status and details
- Places of residence for last three months
- Address for Correspondence
Need for the Document
If you are using, or wish to use, a name other than your registered name, there is no legal requirement that you formally change your name. It is, however, recommended that you change your name officially, both for identification and as evidence of your name change.
Name change generally refers to the legal act by a person of adopting a name different from their name at birth, marriage or adoption. The procedures and ease of a name change vary between jurisdictions.
Information which might help
Typically, you may legally change your name to whatever name you’d like. There are some exceptions, though:
- You can’t change your name just to escape debt liability or to hide from criminal liability.
- You can’t change your name in order to commit a crime.
- You can’t change your name with the intention to mislead. This usually involves taking the name of a famous person. Courts typically do not allow this, unless you have a convincing reason that is not related to the famous person or the use of his or her name.
- You can’t choose a confusing name one that includes numerals or punctuation. However, some courts have permitted people to spell out the numbers, for example “Seven” instead of “7”.
- You can’t choose a name that would intimidate, offend, or be considered obscene.
- You can’t choose a racial slur.
Other uses of the Document/Certificate
You may want to change your name because:
- You have just gotten married
- You have divorced
- You just want a change
- In case of adoption
The most important thing to do to legally change your name is to start using your new name. Introduce yourself using your new name, fill out forms and applications under your new name, tell all of your family and friends to only refer to you using your new name, and tell your school and/or employer of your new name.
If you wish to be known by a different name you can change your name at any time, provided you do not intend to deceive or defraud another person. There is no legal procedure to follow in order to change a name. You simply start using the new name. You can change your forename or surname, add names or rearrange your existing names.
Although there is no legal way to change a name, you may want evidence that you have changed your name. However, you cannot change details on your birth certificate, except in limited circumstances.
Once you have decided to change your name, you can use the new name for all purposes, for example, publishing marriage bans, legal proceedings and obtaining, or changing details on a driving licence or passport.