There are various reasons why many apply for a change of name, Age and signature in Nigeria.
It could be due to reasons such as:
- Correction of name in the bank
- When the name on an identity card or International passport does not correspond with the real and current name of the individual.
- If the applicant is married and wishes to update her maiden name to that of her husband’s.
With a change of signature, you may not need an affidavit and the change is most times done where it is concerned such as at the workplace or bank.
Unfortunately, many do not know about the process, documents required or what it will cost them to have a name change, national publication or court affidavit in Nigeria.
On this page is discussed the process, steps, and eligibility to have a change of name.
Firstly, you must know that every Nigerian has the right to legally change their name. However, there are certain exceptions to his rule and this will also be discussed in this article.
Step by Step guide to a change of name in Nigeria
- You will need to swear to an Affidavit of Change of Name which is also called a Deed Pool at any Registry of High court nearest to you. The Affidavit should express your wish to have your name changed and to be known by your new name. You will show your affidavit anywhere you have to present any document in your old name.
The affidavit is a formal declaration and statutory requirement that shows your intention and willingness to abandon your former name and adopt the new one.
- The next step is to announce publicly that you have had a name change. This is done by a publication of your new name in at least one recognized national daily newspaper. It is advisable you use the Guardian or Punch newspapers. You must also make sure that your new name is reflected in your important documents.
- The next thing is to get your name printed in Nigeria’s official gazette or journal.
You do this by sending an application to the documentation Department of Publication, Civil registry. You will request for a publication of the ‘above advertisement for change of your name’
The following documents are required to be attached when submitting this request for your name to be published. They are:
- The signed affidavit (should be less than one year old)
- The newspaper cutting advertising your change of name (should also be less than one year old)
- The declaration/advertisement you typed (in the form above), that is, the one you want to be printed in the Official Gazette
- Two passport size photographs (this is in case you will not be physically present to submit the documents, you should have these passport photographs authenticated)
- Demand draft for the fees for publishing (You might need even extra copies)
- A letter from a responsible person
- A public announcement
- A statutory declaration (Affidavit)
In case, the change of name is for an individual below the age of 18 the name change form has to be filled up by the parents or guardians
- The final step is applying for new government documents reflecting your new acquired name. Due to increasing criminal activities such as financial fraud, terrorism threats, etc., you can only prove your identity with the government by tendering legal court documents. The legal documents you are required to provide are
- The change of name affidavits
- Marriage certificates (if applicable)
You should know that you can only apply for new government documents when the new name is published in the Official Nigerian gazette. A copy of the Official Gazette has to be attached to the application documents.
Who should you notify of your new name?
Asides’ ensuring your change of name is reflected on all of your personal documents, you must also inform those close to you such as your employers. This is so they can update their employee records and tax records. You should also inform your creditors, debtors and all government agencies you are involved with.
Documents required for a change of name
- Application Letter Addressed To the Chief Registrar
- Deed of Change of Name (Stamp Duty)
- Photocopy of Call to Bar and other qualifying certificates
- Affidavit of Change of Name
- The publication of change of name in a National Newspaper in Nigeria
- Photocopy of Marriage Certificate
- Passport Photograph
(Men Are Not Required To Submit Marriage Certificate.)
In order to have your name changed in Nigeria, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be above the years of 18 so as to be legally approved to have a change of name
- One must not be bankrupt or having financial liability or a criminal case being taken against them. The individual must be a Nigerian citizen
When Can’t You Legally Change Your Name?
- People below the age of 18 cannot legally change their names unless it is applied for by their parents or guardians. The legal age for an adult in Nigeria is 18 years old. A child cannot legally change their name unless the parent or guardian of the child does it.
- Apart from the fact that you must be a legal adult in order to change your name, You cannot change your name in order to escape debt, a financial liability or any sort of criminal liability. Also, it is against the law to have your name changed in order to commit a crime or with the intention to mislead. This will render such change of name invalid.
- Finally, your change of name will be invalid if you attempt to use certain names considered obscene, offensive, intimidating or tribalistic/racist.
Cost for the process of a change of name
A fee of 5000 Naira is charged for the process.
Validity of document
The new name is valid forever.
Where to obtain documents needed
The Application documents are provided for in the submission offices
It usually takes a period of 5 to 21 working days. This depends largely on what state of the federation you are applying from.