Changing your last name

Many ask about the legal requirements for changing your last name after getting married.  What needs to happen legally?

You have many options for your last name. This applies equally to both spouses (not just a female).

You can keep your surname.

Change your surname to that of your husband/wife/partner.

Hyphenate your surname with that of your spouse.

Create a new last name.

Blend your last names.

Add your maiden name as a middle name.

Take your spouse’s surname legally but keep your surname professionally.

There are no legal requirements in New Zealand, and you can start using a new surname without filling in any forms.  You can call yourself whatever you wish, unless you want to change it on your passport or driver’s licence, which are our two forms of official ID in New Zealand.

The marriage certificate is usually enough proof for any organisation to update your new surname.

You can however legally change your name if you wish through the following website. passport/name-change/

Depending on how may accounts and places you are registered with, changing your surname can take ages.  Unless you are flying overseas and you wish to use your new surname in your passport, it is often easier to wait for your passport to expire and do it then.  Otherwise, make sure you get your tickets in your maiden name/name to match your passport.

However, you do need to change your name officially (by way of a statutory declaration aka deed poll) if you are wanting to:

  • Change your first or middle names
  • add your maiden name as a middle name or
  • create a new surname.

It is handy to have a copy of your marriage certificate in case it is needed.  A JP can certify photocopies of your marriage licence and marriage certificate if you wish to have more than one copy, and then you only need to apply and pay once.

Your passport will have one of the following alternatives:

Your registered birth names

Adopted registered name

Married or civil union name

Name on your New Zealand Citizen certificate

Name changed by deed poll or statutory declaration.

A passport can not be in a name that is not registered eg, a nickname or abbreviated name.