Many people choose to change their birth names or surnames for many reasons of which some include divorce, marriage, adoption, personal preferences, and professional reasons.
Most countries have their requirements and methods of applying for a change of name for any of their citizens who wishes to change his/her name(s).
If you’re currently looking for the procedure of change of name in Nigeria, then this is the right article for you as we will be sharing a guide on how to go about the change of name process in Nigeria legally.
Change Of Name In Nigeria: What Are The Requirements?
In this section of the article, we shall take a look at the requirements for a change of name in Nigeria.
Before proceeding to change your name in Nigeria, there are some requirements you must meet. We will be discussing all of that below.
Change of name in Nigeria is only allowed for citizens who are 18 years of age and above.
Anyone below the age of 18 (which is the legal age of an adult in most countries) cannot legally change their name in Nigeria unless his/her parent or guardian does it. This means that children of people who change their names will be made to answer the new names of their parents.
To be able to change your name in Nigeria, you must be a citizen of Nigeria either by birth or any other way. This is the most important requirement and foreigners who need to change their names in Nigeria can apply for citizenship and then proceed with the change of name process.
Please note foreigners with permanent residency visa or any other visa that grants them permanent or temporal residency in Nigeria is not eligible to apply for this unless they are recognized as citizens.
3) Financial and Debt Status
This simply means that you are not allowed to change your name to escape any money you’re owing, unpaid loans, and any type of debt. It isn’t allowed.
4) Reason For Changing Your Name
You must present a very sensible reason for changing your name. Some of the popular reasons allowed are divorce, marriage, couples combining names (Hyphenating Surnames), religious reasons e.t.c.
Changing your name to commit a crime or escape a crime already committed is also not allowed and if caught, the person could serve several prison terms.
5) New Name
You’re also not allowed to change your name to something unpleasant or displeasing.
There are certain classes of names that are not allowed by the Nigerian government so make sure your new name is meaningful and doesn’t support social vices like illicit sex, drug addiction, and even racism or discrimination against a certain tribe or group of people.
Now that you’ve seen the requirements you need to meet before applying for a change of name in Nigeria, let’s now take a look at the documents required for this process.
- Court Affidavit
- Newspaper advertisement to indicate a change of name
- Two passport photographs
- Application Letter (this can be filled by the parents if the person applying is a minor)
- Attestation letter from a “responsible” person
- Personal details like date of birth, current age, current residential, and office address (if needed), marital status e.t.c.
Procedure For Change Of Name In Nigeria
Below is the process of change of name in Nigeria. If you meet all the requirements mentioned above, then the procedure should be very easy to follow.
1) Swear An Affidavit
The first step to getting your name changed in Nigeria is to swear an Affidavit of Change of Name (Deed Pool) at any Registry of the High Court in your vicinity.
This is simply a legal document stating your intention to abandon your old name and adopt a new one. To get a copy of this affidavit, you will need to provide your old name and the new name at the request of the court officials.
It is also very important to know that you will be needing to attach this document wherever you’re to present any document which still has your old name on it.
2) Announce Your New Name Publicly
After swearing an affidavit in any high court of your choice in Nigeria, the next step will be to announce publicly that you have made the name change.
This can be easily be done on any popular newspaper company but the most common newspapers used by people who have changed their names in the past are The Punch Newspapers and The Guardian. Again, any recognized Nigerian newspaper can be used for this process.
3) Get Your Name Printed In Nigeria’s Official Gazette
The next step in the name change process after announcing your new name in any newspaper is to get your name printed in Nigeria’s official gazette.
This can easily be done by sending your application and other needed documents to the Department of Publication, Civil registry, Nigeria asking them to publish the newspaper advertisement you made to your change of Name.
In case you don’t understand what a gazette means, it is simply a publication that has been authorized to publish public or legal notices (change of name in this case) in a particular country.
Getting your advertisement published on Nigeria’s official gazette authenticates your change of name and it is stored in Nigeria’s database. This process can cost up to 5,000 Naira or more, so make sure you take enough cash while going.
5) Apply For New Government IDs With Your New Name
The final step in the change of name process is to apply for new government IDs that will reflect your new name. These government IDs can include International Passport, Driving License(s), National ID card, voter card e.t.c.
When applying for these new government-issued IDs, make sure you attach a copy of the Official Gazette as this is will be used to verify that your name has been changed at the various government offices where you will be getting your new IDs.
1) How do I change my name on my Nigerian passport?
Visit the nearest Passport Office or any branch office of the Nigerian Immigration Service to get the name on your international passport changed.
Bear in mind that you would be needing a copy of the official gazette because officials at the passport office would be needing this document to verify that your new name has been approved by the Civil service.
You can read our guide on the types and prices of Nigerian international passport here.
2) How do I change my name after marriage in Nigeria?
Just follow the guide we outlined above and you should be done with that in no time.
3) How do I change my name without going to court?
You can’t. This is simply because the affidavit which will be gotten from the high court is an essential document for the change of name process to be successful.
4) How much is a newspaper name change?
Publishing your change of name advertisement on popular Nigerian newspapers like Punch, The Guardian, Vanguard Nigeria and others can cost between 5,000 to 10,000 Naira depending on your negotiating skills.
Generally, it shouldn’t cost more than 10,000 Max.
5) What are the requirements for a change of name at the bank in Nigeria?
If you have followed the normal process I outlined above, then you can proceed to the bank to have your name changed on your bank account(s) and BVN. The documents required to change a name at Nigerian banks are listed below.
- A Government Identity card reflecting your new name
- An Affidavit of Change of Name from any high court
- A Newspaper publication reflecting your new name
- Utility bills like Water bills, Electricity bills, Waste bill e.t.c (might be needed in some cases)
6) Can I change my name online?
Sadly, you can’t change your name online in Nigeria for now. Just follow the procedure outlined above to get it done in no time.
I hope with this, you’ve understood how to go about the change of name process in Nigeria and the fees involved. If you have any questions, drop them below and we will try our best to give answers to them as soon as possible.