How to Change Name in Nigeria

Step by step guide on how to change name in Nigeria: See the process involved, acceptable reasons and documentations needed.

What is in a name? Every child at birth is given one based on the preferences of the parents or guardian at that point. It could represent their hope and expectations for the child or they could name their child after someone they admire in either religious circles, family or in a particular field.

I was even surprised to find out that some of my single friends that are even in relationships have also drafted out names for their expected children.

Now I believe you understand the importance of names. However, regardless of how everyone goes all out to name their children, some of them have to change their names or surnames in future.
A name change refers to the process of adopting a different name from that which was originally given at birth. A pseudonym, on the other hand is informal and can be regarded as a name adopted to conceal a person’s identity. It does not always require legal sanction.
The following are the reasons for changing one’s name legally:

1. Marriage: This is the major reason that many people decide to change their names. However, the woman is the one who has to change her surname to that of her husband.

She does not change her original birth name and sometimes might not change her name, especially when she has reached an agreement with her husband.

Recently, women have begun to add their husband’s name to their maiden name. The two names are hyphenated thereby allowing the lady to keep her maiden name. It is also necessary to reach an understanding with your husband before deciding to do this in order to avoid any controversy.

2. Divorce: females are also affected by this event in terms of name change. Just like marriage prompts the female to change her name, divorce also does the same. She might decide to revert to the use of her maiden name, however, it is all a matter of choice and therefore, she is not required to change her name.

3. Adoption: after the process of adopting a child is complete, you might decide to change both the birth name and surname of the child to your preferred choice. Or you might decide to leave the birth name and change only the surname.

4. Personal reasons: one might also decide to change his or her name for several reasons. It might be just the surname or both the birth name and surname. Some might decide to change it because of the meaning or the perceived negative effects it is having on their lives.
Now that the major reasons for getting a name change has been established,  the process it takes to do this would be analysed.

This process varies from country to country. In the United States, for example, name change varies from state to state and is not regulated by a national process.

The applicant just has to present a reasonable case for the decision to change his or her name. In the United Kingdom, the most commonly used method of indicating a name change is changing one’s surname after marriage. The second most used method is deed poll.

South Africa, on the other hand, mostly uses common- law procedures when it comes to name change.
The most popular reason in Nigeria for change of name is marriage. Therefore, this article will focus on name change for marriage purposes in Nigeria.
The first step one has to take is to make sure to order extra certified copies because of some agencies which require originals of the documents before making name changes.
If you are a man that wants to change his name, which is highly unlikely, check for an indication of a name change column on the certificate. If it is not there, then you will require court papers as well as other specified documents in order to change your name legally after marriage.

This does not apply for women because the marriage certificate already bears the new name regardless of the availability of the space for name change.
Secondly, you have to request for a new National identity Card which will show your name change.
After doing that, the next step to take is to make a visit to the Federal Road Safety Commission to request for a new driver’s license.

However, make sure to request for adequate information on the documents to take along before going to make the request. E.g Documents which will verify your name change.
Fourthly, proceed and get a passport amendment/validation application. After filling it, send it along with your fees as applicable, recent passport or passports as well as a certified documentation of your name change e.g a certified marriage certificate copy or court papers, to the closest passport agency to you.
The next step is to order for replacements for cheques, business cards, debit cards as well as other documents which bear your old names.
Contact people that you have had correspondence with in the past including old employers, schools, etc to inform them of the name change and to request for them to subsequently alter it in their records.

Inform your presently employer too (if working in a corporate organisation) for them to make the change accordingly.
Also, change your names on your car registration as well as with your insurance or mortgage companies. Inform the post office, PHCN, water corporation and other utility companies, your local government office as well as registrar of voters.
Finally, after doing all this, do not neglect the place of family and friends and make the announcement to them in any unique way you can envision.
The process for changing your name for other reasons follow the same pattern with the exemption of the marriage certificate and should not be much of a problem. Just make sure to get adequate information from your lawyer and relevant authorities after making the decision.
There you have it, the process of changing your name broken down in the best way possible. From now on, it is not expected to be a source of concern to you. Thank me later.

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  1. Z Charleston

    April 18, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Great article and I am glad someone finally wrote
    about this. I hope you dont mind I am going to share this on my
    social network also. Thanks for the information!

  2. mobile marketing

    April 2, 2017 at 7:35 pm

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    I have shared this on my Facebook and my followers loved it!
    Keep up the good work 🙂

    • Ekemini Ekpo

      April 3, 2017 at 7:14 am

      that was nice of you to have shared this spicy content with your friends. please keep coming back for more insightful contents

  3. elvis

    January 29, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    pls sir, all my credentials are of name I want to change, now am going to higher institution, can I do change of name at this (registration) time? and am left with just a month, if possible pls give guidelines.. Thanks

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      February 11, 2017 at 2:51 am

      Hello Elvis, You can change your name anytime. If you follow all the process above, all your documents bearing the new name will still remains valid.

  4. chinyere kanu

    October 8, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Goodmorning Sir/Madam!pls my lnternational passport has expired and l want to do a new passport with a new name ;can the old one still reflect as l want to do a new one.

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      October 11, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Hello chinyere, You may need to meet your immigration officer for this. Thanks

  5. Derin

    September 5, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Good Day,pls my birth certificate got burnt in my old apartment,and m thinking if i can register my new name in the new birth certificate?

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      September 6, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      Yes you can visit the Nigerian Population Commission to collect another birth certificate. Success!

  6. chinyeaka

    July 19, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Pls Sir, do have an idea if my passport number will change if i do a name change on my passport.

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      July 19, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      Sorry, That’s not what I don’t know for now.

  7. oyekunle

    July 19, 2016 at 12:09 pm


  8. oyekunle

    July 18, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    thank you so much with the information, but do I have to go to Abuja or can do it at the passport office I got my passport.?


    • Ifiokobong Rob

      July 19, 2016 at 7:51 am

      You can do it in the passport office nearest to you.

  9. Emmanuel liasu

    July 17, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Good evening Sir/Ma, I know as Emmanuel Liasu before,I want to change my name to Emmanuel Jeremiah. pls tells me what to do.

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      July 18, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      Follow the instructions as outlined in the post. Thanks

  10. Rebecca

    June 18, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Please,I need an urgent reply concerning this sir/ma.all my certificate Bear’s my surname name ,accept for NYSC discharged certificate which bear my husband’s name,I really don’t intend to use my husband name how do I go about it? I want to maintain my name.thou my husband name and I has not being published yet on newspaper.

  11. Egbetola Temitope

    June 13, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Dear sir,

    I am Egbetola Taiwo Temitope,now married. I want to change me name from Isola Taiwo Temitope, to: Egbetola Taiwo Temitope Helen.

    I want to do the change of name this week in the Punch news paper to process my maternity leave at Hospitals Management Board, Akure, Ondo state.

    Pls how would I write the advert in the news paper.

    Looking forward to your swift response.


    • Ifiokobong Rob

      June 13, 2016 at 7:28 pm

      Just visit the newspaper agent in your location, they will tell you what to do.

  12. Tonia

    June 8, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Good morning, I am Tonia. I really have a problem concerning which names to settle for. My birth certificate bears the name my parents gave to me.During my secondary school WAECE, my elder sister changed my surname to my father’s native name, added another middle name and shortened my English name. The surname names on my marriage certificate are combinations of my grandfather’s and my father’s native name. My BVN bears my father’s native name and my native name. Another name also for my University i.e my father’s native name, the middle name my elder sister changed and the English name she shortened. I have not been able to do change of names after marriage because I don’t know which names to change. My international passport has my husband’s surname, and the names my elder sister formed. Is it possible for me to totally change to names of my choice and my husband’s surname as my new surname. Please help me get out of this mess. Thanks

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      June 8, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      Yes, the best thing is to change all the names to your husband name. The affidavit from the court and the newspaper publication will cover this process. Success!

  13. uche

    April 6, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Attention please sir, i made a hilarious mistake on my name in my application for jamb, i want to change my first name.please sir, i need help on to change it

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      April 7, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Hello Uche, you don’t need to change your name just because of the mistake you made during JAMB registration. All you need to do is to go to court and get affidavit that the mistaken name is owned by you and the JAMB result will be accepted in any institution. Explain this in the court so that you get more clarifications. Success!

  14. Tommie Clapaty

    December 6, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Good day Sir/Ma,

    Please i would like to know the procedures for a name change with respect to the last reason you mentioned above (Due to perceived negative impact/just willingness to change name).

    Thank you.

    • Ifiokobong Rob

      December 6, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      You may need to contact your lawyer to draft a reasonable case for you. If you need a personalized assistance contact us

      • Oyekunle

        January 10, 2016 at 9:30 pm

        Attention please I wild like to make changing of my names. I would be grateful if I canbget assistance on how to give about it.

        Oyekunle O.

        • Ifiokobong Rob

          January 11, 2016 at 3:33 am

          Kindly contact us and tell us how we can help you. Thanks

        • oyekunle

          July 18, 2016 at 4:03 pm

          Good DAY, I have made the news paper publication and I have the affidavit from the court, my problem is I want to make change of my names on my passport I dont how to go about it… please I need urgent response.

          Oyekunle O

          • Ifiokobong Rob

            July 18, 2016 at 9:03 pm

            Go to the immigration office with the documents supporting your change of name. They will reissue another passport with the current name. Success!

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