Many a time, people are not quite happy with their names. Parents often keep the name of their choice, but, it may so happen that after growing up, the child would like to be known by a different name. Or there may other reasons for why a person might be inclined toward a name change. For instance, in some communities in India, women are supposed to change even their first names after marriage. In most other cases, women either take up additionally the surname of their husband or merely replace their maiden surname with that of their husband’s. Other reasons for a possible name change may be the belief of people in numerology, astrology, etc.

In such situations, an official procedure needs to be followed for a name change. This is necessary for several official purposes, including passport, Aadhar card, driving license, PAN card, etc. For the name to be validly changed on all of such official documents, there is a brief, but a significant legal process that needs to be followed.

The below-described procedure that needs to be complied with for a name change of a person who is an adult/major as per the Indian Majority Act.

Affidavit for Name Change:

First and foremost, the person will have to write an affidavit admitting that he or she is interested in a name change. The affidavit must also consist of personal details of the applicant including his or her name, permanent residential address, father’s name for unmarried women and the name of the husband in case the woman is married. It must also contain the old name and the new intended name of the applicant. Such an affidavit must be on a stamp paper of appropriate value. Information regarding the appropriate stamp paper may be received from your local notary. A formal letter of request may be required to be furnished to the notary.

Newspaper Advertisement:

Next, the person will have to notify to the public about the name change by declaring so in a leading daily newspaper of either the vernacular language of the locality or in the English language. The newspaper advertisement must contain details regarding the old name, new name, address and Date of Birth of such person.

Publication in Gazette:

The last, and probably the most important step is to send the relevant papers to the Depart of Publication, New Delhi for publication of the same in the Central Gazette of Publication.

The relevant papers which need to be sent to the Department of Publication, either in person or by post/courier are as follows:

  1. The self-attested affidavit also bearing the signature of two qualified witnesses.
  2. 2 Recent Passport Sized photographs which also need to be self-attested by the applicant.
  3. Original copy of the notice in leading daily newspaper.
  4. Valid identity proof. This may be your Aadhar card, driving license, PAN card, passport, etc.
  5. Duly filled in the application form for a name change. The link for the above-mentioned form can be found here.
  6. A typed in word document of the application form, which shall constitute the soft copy for record purposes.
  7. A verification declaring that the information contained in both, the soft copy as well as the hard copy of the application form that has been submitted is true to the applicant’s best of knowledge.
  8. A copy of the Letter of Request that was submitted to the notary.

It is advised that the applicant also keeps with himself a copy of each of the above-listed documents.

Once the above documents have been sent to the Department of Publication, they shall do the needful further. The entire process may take about a month or two. A hardcopy of the Gazette notification shall be sent to your permanent residential address and a soft copy may be downloaded on the website.

Expenses including the printing charges etc. need to be borne by the intended applicant. The fees may be different for an Indian resident and a person residing abroad.

The above procedure for a name change shall apply even when there is an incorrect spelling in an official document like a Passport or PAN card. The person will have to apply for a change of name in an above-mentioned manner.

Conclusion:

Lawyers can play a significant role in the entire process. People who are unacquainted with the legal field may find this entire process quite lengthy and cumbersome. Therefore, it is advisable that one hire a lawyer. The lawyer would know exactly what value of stamp paper is required, amount of fees, time is taken for the entire process to get completed. A lawyer would be well acquainted with the entire procedure in detail and therefore hiring a lawyer is advisable so the applicant does not miss out on any step.