Changing one’s name, adding initials or even just one letter is regular in India, more so than in many parts of the world. We believe in vaastu, numerology, and it’s common for women from many communities to change their first and last names after marriage.
Given how common this is, you would expect the procedure for changing your name to be fairly quick. But it is, in fact, pretty lengthy, even requiring a newspaper advertisement.
Even though it is lengthy, though, the procedure for changing your name is quite simple. All you need to do is to understand how it is done, what steps needs to be taken, what are the documents essential for submitting the request, and you are good to go. Read the below-mentioned steps to ensure you have everything in place for changing your name to the new initials, as preferred.
PROCEDURE FOR NAME CHANGE IN INDIA
There are three mandatory things, which are needed to be done for authorizing the name change:
1. Affidavit Submission: An affidavit needs to be prepared for name change.
2. Ad Publication: An announcement should be published in the newspaper.
3. Gazette Notification: A notification should be published in the Gazette of India regarding the name change.
The first step in the legal procedure is affidavit submission. You need to contact a notary to do the needful. The following steps would make the process simpler and clearer:
1. Approach your local notary and mention your request.
2. The notary will suggest the stamp paper of required value on which the affidavit for name change is made.
3. Once you have the paper, you need to provide the following details:
a.Name and New name
c.Reason for name change (Astrology, numerology, marriage, etc)
4. Once the affidavit is printed on a plain stamp paper, it needs to be signed by two witnesses. The legal procedure is to get it signed by two persons of gazetted officer rank. Ensure that you have their signature, along with their stamp (rubber stamp).
5. The procedure for a name change, in the case of a central government employee, needs to be done in lieu with the Ministry of Home Affairs O.M. No. – 190016/1/87-Estt. Dated 12.03.1987. Ask the Notary for advice or read the guidelines.
6. Married women, who would like to change their surname or add their husband’s name as initials, are required to provide the following details:
a. Old name with the father’s name and address;
b. New name with husband’s name and address;
c. Marriage date.
The affidavit reflects both your old and new name. Affidavits can be used for changing the whole name, surname or just a few letters.
Keep a copy of the affidavit. This is a crucial document and comes in handy for any future legal formalities.
For overseas Indians, who would like to change their name, one needs to submit a deed stating the change of name, duly signed by the Indian High Commission office or the Indian Embassy.
2. NEWSPAPER PUBLICATION
If you have made the affidavit, the next step is to publish an advertisement/notification in the local newspaper that you have changed your name. For this, you need to select two newspapers, one published in the official language of the state and the other, an English daily.
For instance, if you reside in Madhya Pradesh, you can opt for Dainik Bhaskar and Times of India/Hindustan Times. If you are from Tamil Nadu, you can opt for Dinakaran/Dina Thanthi and The Hindu/Indian Express.
The requirement is to pick two popular daily and send a request to them, stating the following details:
a. Your new name
b. Your old name
c. Date of Birth
Name Change Advertisement Example
The newspapers allot a column for these notifications and will be able to guide you on this. The format can be had from any newspaper. Here is a simple example. Let’s assume XYZ is changing his name to ABC.
I, XYZ, residing at
Married women, who would like to change their surname after marriage, should add their husband’s name and address in the notification.
Once your notification is published in the newspaper, remember to collect as many copies as you can, and store it for future use. Although one single copy will suffice, it is better to store as many original newspaper ad copies as you can, to be on the safer side.
3. Gazette Notification
We are well at the end of the procedure, and once your gazette notification is published, your name change will be legally complete.
Gazette notification is mandatory for those in employment with the government and optional for others. However, it is substantial proof of your name change. Since it just involves sending a few documents for publication, it may make sense to go through with it.
Here is what you need to do to submit the Gazette notification:
a. Carry a copy of the ‘Deed changing name form’ available with the Controller of Publication, Department of Publication;
b. Alternatively, a letter of declaration from you, stating the need for changing the name will do;
c. Carry original copies of advertisements published with the date. (Attach both ads);
d. Carry two attested photographs to ensure you go ahead with the procedure uninterrupted;
e. Carry address and identity proofs (The address should be the same as the one published in the newspaper and affidavit. Any change of address might result in rejection of application).
However, before sending in the following details, call the Controller’s office of Publication to get a detailed account of what all need to be sent, and note it down. Also, put the above documents in an A4 sized envelope before sending it to the below mentioned address.
The office of the Controller of Publication will send information, with the necessary copies of the Gazette on which the Advertisement/Notification has appeared. Keep this safely for future reference.
Now your part of the work in the name change in India process is done. The Government will print the change of your name in the Gazette. The amount charged for Gazette notifications varies –- either Rs. 700 or Rs. 900 –- depending on whether you want a public notice or not.
The money can be paid either in cash or by a demand draft/postal order drawn in favour of’ the Controller of Publication, Department of Publication, Civil Lines, Delhi – 110054’. This is the address you need to visit in case you will be submitting it in person (office hours are between 10 AM and 1 PM and 2 PM to 3 PM on any working day), or you can courier/speed post the envelope with all details to the address mentioned above.. Check the website of the Department of Publication (Government of India) for further details, here.
Although your work for legalizing your name change is made, it is essential to save all the documents and use it for officially changing your name in the bank records, certificates and any other documents that you deem necessary.
The name change documents might come as crucial ones when you apply or renew a passport or for any other future transactions.
Also, it is noted in several cases that a person has just the affidavit and the Newspaper advertisements for a name change, and have not notified the Gazette regarding the modification. Although, as stated earlier, the government employees have the mandatory clause for Gazette notifications, the banks might ask for Gazette notification before changing your name in the account.