The Registration of Documents (Changing of Name) Regulations sets out the different documents that applicants require to effect a name change.
After preparing the required documents the applicant should present them to the Registrar of Documents and pay a prescribed fee of KES:500.
If the Registrar is satisfied with the application the Deed Poll is registered and a notice of change of name is published in the Kenya Gazette.
a) below 16 years
For minors, the change of name is affected by the parent/guardian.
The following documents are required:
- A deed poll is executed by the parent/guardian.
- Statutory Declaration – by a person resident in Kenya who has known the minor and wishes to change their name.
- Birth Certificate.
b) above 16 years
In addition to the requirement for minors below 16 years, minors above age 16 years must consent to a change of their names. The Consent of the minor should be endorsed on the Deed Poll.
All adults who wish to change their names require the following:
- Deed Poll;
- A statutory Declaration person resident in Kenya and who has known the person who wishes to change their name former and new names; and
- Birth Certificate.
3. Married women
Married women are a special category of applicants since upon marriage they have the option to adopt their husbands’ names.
There are two options for changing a name upon marriage:
Through an application to the Registrar of persons under section 9 of the Registration of Persons Rules. Where a woman wishes to change their name upon marriage they may do so by completing a Form – Application for Change of Particulars in ID/CARD, paying KES.1,000 and attaching the following additional documents:
- Affidavit stating that you wish to adopt your husband’s name
- Original and copy of Marriage Certificate/ Affidavit of Marriage
- Copies of ID of the wife and husband
Through a Deed Poll
In addition to the documents required for a change of name by an adult, a married woman must produce the marriage certificate and written consent from the husband.
Where a woman has separated from her husband but has not yet gotten a divorce or is in the process of divorce proceedings and wishes to change their name; in addition to the documents required for change of name by an adult, they are required to provide their marriage certificate, and a certificate from an advocate stating that the separation is likely to be permanent.
There are two ways of changing a name upon dissolution of a marriage:
Through an application to the Registrar of persons under section 9 of the Registration of Persons Rules. Where a woman wishes to change their name upon dissolution of the marriage they may do so by completing a Form – Application for Change of Particulars in ID/CARD, paying KES:1,000, and attaching the following additional documents:
- Affidavit stating that you wish to drop your husband’s name.
- Original and copy of Marriage Certificate/ Affidavit of Marriage.
- Decree of Divorce.
Through a Deed Poll
In addition to the documents required for a change of name by an adult, a divorced woman must produce the marriage certificate and Decree of Divorce/Certificate of Divorce.
Upon the death of the husband
A widow who wishes to drop the husband’s name is required to provide their marriage certificate and the husband’s death certificate in addition to the documents required for a change of name by an adult.
Where the applicant is not resident in Kenya, they must produce evidence that they do not intend such residence to be permanent.
For married women where the marriage was not registered/there is no marriage certificate an affidavit may be sworn as proof of marriage.
Consequences of changing your name
After the notice of change of name is published in the Kenya Gazette. You are required to apply for new identity documents.
A person who changes their name will inevitably have discrepancies with their names in other documents such as National Examination Certificates, Degrees, etc.
They would require an Affidavit of Discrepancy in names on Certificates stating that both the former and new names refer to the same person.
It is more difficult to shake a name the longer you have it. As such it is prudent to change your name at the earliest opportunity to avoid having to alter multiple official documents and records at a later stage.
Your names form a large part of our identity. Despite the fact that we do not get to choose them the law offers an avenue where you can change them. We hope now you will not be stuck with a name you do not identify with.