Skip to main content
Note:

For information about COVID-19, visit the Unite against COVID-19 website.

Overview

You can change your own name in New Zealand if you're over 18 and a citizen or entitled to live here indefinitely.

You can apply to change your name if:

  • you’re 18 or over, and
  • you were born here, you're a New Zealand citizen, or you’re entitled to live here indefinitely.

You don’t usually need to apply for a name change if you’ve taken your partner’s surname after marriage or a civil union, or if you want to use your birth surname (maiden name) again after a divorce.

Changing your name when you get married

If you're 16 or 17

If you're married, in a civil union or a de facto relationship, you can change your name without your parents' permission. Otherwise, each of your parents or guardians have to sign a statutory declaration when you apply.

Once you're 16, your parents can't change your name without your consent.

Change your child's name

What you can change your name to

You can change all or part of your name.

Your new name has to consist of one surname and one or more other names. If you have religious, philosophical or cultural reasons to have only one name, you need to include a letter of explanation with your application.

Your new name might not be accepted if it’s:

  • offensive
  • longer than 100 characters, including spaces
  • an official title or rank, or resembles one (eg Justice, King, Prince or Princess, Royal) unless you can justify why you should be allowed that name
  • spelled with numbers or symbols (eg V8).

Documents you'll need

Photo ID

You need a certified copy of one of:

  • passport
  • driver licence
  • firearms or dealer’s licence
  • defence force or police service photo identity card
  • NZ emergency travel document
  • NZ certificate of identity (issued under the Passports Act 1992 or the Immigration Act 2009)
  • NZ refugee travel document, or
  • Kiwi Access card or overseas proof of age card.

You’ll need to show your photo ID to the person who witnesses you signing the statutory declaration on the form. That person may be able to certify your documents at the same time.

Proof of your identity in the community

You need copies of two different documents that show your current name. These could be:

  • utility account bill (e.g. gas, electricity, mobile phone)
  • bank statement
  • lease or tenancy agreement
  • rates notice
  • SuperGold card
  • Inland Revenue tax statement
  • electoral roll record
  • motor vehicle registration
  • student or tertiary identity card
  • educational certificate or school report
  • trade certificate
  • certificate of approval or licence issued by the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority
  • Steps to Freedom form
  • confirmation of permit status from Immigration NZ.

If you do not have the documents you need, contact Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Contact Births, Deaths and Marriages

If you were born outside New Zealand

You also need to provide evidence of:

  • when and where you were born
  • your citizenship or visa status (you must be a New Zealand citizen or entitled to live here indefinitely).

You can use a certified true copy of one of the following:

  • New Zealand citizenship certificate
  • New Zealand passport
  • New Zealand certificate of identity issued under the Passports Act 1992 with a letter, permit or visa from Immigration New Zealand confirming indefinite residence status
  • Australian passport (or other evidence that you’re an Australian citizen)
  • Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau birth certificate
  • overseas passport including a residence permit or resident visa issued by Immigration New Zealand
  • letter from Immigration New Zealand confirming indefinite residence status (make sure the letter states your name, date and place of birth)
  • overseas birth certificate together with a letter, permit or visa from Immigration New Zealand confirming indefinite residence status
  • Chinese notarial certificate together with a letter, permit or visa from Immigration New Zealand confirming indefinite residence status, or
  • household census register from an Asian country together with a letter, permit or visa from Immigration New Zealand confirming indefinite residence status.

If any of your documents are not in English

You need to get any documents that are not in English translated.

There are 2 ways to get translations:

  1. The Department of Internal Affairs can translate the documents for you.
  2. Include an authorised translation with your original documents. The translation has to be done by:
    1. the government agency that issued the original document
    2. an approved translator, or
    3. a court in the country that issued the document. You’ll also have to have the translation authenticated by your NZ Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.

How to apply

Complete the form

Application to register a name change BDM 120 (PDF 586KB)

In the application form, you must declare what you’ve said is true. This is called making a statutory declaration. An authorised witness must sign your declaration.

Making a statutory declaration

Cost

It costs $170 to change your name.

You can pay by:

  • Credit, debit or prepaid gift card (e.g. Prezzy card) — add your payment details to the form.
  • EFTPOS — only available when you visit an office in person.
  • Money order — only available if you are applying from overseas.

Submit your form, documents and payment

Post

Post your form, documents, and payment details, to:

New Zealand

Name change team
Births, Deaths and Marriages
Department of Internal Affairs
PO Box 10-526
Wellington 6143

Australia

Births, Deaths and Marriages
Department of Internal Affairs
GPO Box 365
Sydney
New South Wales 2001

UK

Births, Deaths and Marriages
Department of Internal Affairs
New Zealand House
80 Haymarket
London SW1Y4TQ

In person

You can change your name in person in Auckland, Manukau, Wellington or Christchurch.

You need to take your form, documents, and payment details.

Births, Deaths and Marriages offices

Get a record of your name change

To change your name on other ID, like your passport or driver licence, you need evidence to show you’ve officially changed your name.

If you were born in NZ

Order a new birth certificate to prove you’ve changed your name. This will show your new name and all your previously registered names.

You can apply for a new birth certificate:

  • on your name change form, or
  • request one later.

Get a birth certificate

If you were born outside NZ

You need to use a name change certificate to prove you’ve changed your name.

You can order a name change certificate:

  • when you are changing your name using the name change form, or
  • after you have changed your name.

How to order a name change certificate

If you got married in NZ

If you got married or had a civil union in NZ and you want to update your name on your marriage or civil union certificate, you can do this on your name change form.

It costs:

  • $55 to update your name on your marriage or civil union record, and
  • $33 if you’d also like a new copy of your marriage certificate.

If you’re on the human assisted reproductive technology (HART) register

If you’re a sperm or egg donor, or you were born as a result of a donation, you can choose to update your name on the HART register at the same time as your name change.

Find a child or parent on the HART register

What happens next

If you’ve also requested a new birth certificate or name change certificate, this will be posted to you after about 3 weeks. Otherwise, you’ll be sent a confirmation email or letter.

Change your name on your official IDs

Your name will not automatically be changed on your other documents. You can:

Tell people about your name change

Births, Deaths and Marriages will let the Electoral Commission know about your change of name, but other government agencies and other organisations will not automatically be notified. It’s up to you to update your information with places like Inland Revenue, your bank and RealMe.

Utility links and page information

Is there something wrong with this page?