How to Legally Change Your Name After Marriage in Nigeria (2024)
Changing one’s name after marriage is a common practice in Nigeria, and it is done for various reasons. It could be for cultural, religious, or personal reasons. Whatever the reason might be, the process of changing one’s name after marriage in Nigeria is not complicated, but it requires following some necessary steps.
It is essential to follow the correct procedures and requirements to ensure that the name change is legally recognized. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to change your name after marriage in Nigeria, ensuring that you can do so with ease and confidence.
THE IMPORTANCE OF NAME CHANGE AFTER MARRIAGE
In Nigeria, changing your father’s name after marriage involves adopting your husband’s surname as the your new last name. This change of name is not mandatory by law, but it is a personal choice that many women make after getting married.
There are several reasons why a woman may choose to change her last name after marriage. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Symbol of unity: Changing one’s last name after marriage is seen as a symbol of unity and commitment to one’s spouse. It is a way of showing that the couple is now a family unit and that they share a common identity.
- Cultural tradition: In many Nigerian cultures, it is customary for a woman to take her husband’s last name after marriage. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation and is still widely practiced today.
- Legal recognition: Changing one’s last name after marriage is also important for legal reasons. It allows for easy identification of the spouse and helps to avoid confusion in legal matters.
- Professional reasons: Some women may choose to change their last name for professional reasons. For example, if a woman has built a successful career under her maiden name, she may choose to keep her maiden name as her professional name and adopt her husband’s last name for personal use.
Again, it is important to note that changing your last name as a woman after marriage is a personal choice, and there is no right or wrong decision. It is up to you and your husband to decide what is best for your family.
LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CHANGE OF NAME IN NIGERIA
The legal requirements for changing your name in Nigeria vary depending on the reason for the change. If you’re looking to change your name after marriage, the process typically involves the following steps:
- Marriage Certificate: Obtain a valid marriage certificate from the appropriate authority. This document serves as evidence of your marital status and is a prerequisite for the name change process.
- Newspaper Publication: Publish an announcement of your intention to change your name in at least two national newspapers. This step ensures that your intent is made public and can be easily verified.
- Deed Poll or Affidavit: Prepare a legal document known as a deed poll or an affidavit. This document should state your current name, the new name you intend to adopt, the reason for the change, and your signature. You must swear this document before a commissioner for oaths or a notary public.
- Publication in the Gazette: Submit the deed poll or affidavit to the official Gazette of Nigeria. The Gazette is a government publication where official announcements, including name changes, are recorded. Your name change will be published in the Gazette to make it legally recognized.
- Update Official Documents: Once your name change is published in the Gazette, you can proceed to update your official documents, such as your passport, driver’s license, bank accounts, and any other identification. This step ensures that your new name is reflected on your legal records.
- Notification of Institutions: Inform relevant institutions, such as your workplace, educational institutions, banks, and other entities, about your name change. Provide them with the necessary documentation to update their records accordingly.
PROCEDURE FOR NAME CHANGE IN NIGERIA
If you have recently gotten married and need to change your name in Nigeria, there are a few steps you need to follow. This section outlines the procedure for changing your name after marriage in Nigeria.
OBTAINING A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
The first step in changing your name after marriage in Nigeria is to obtain a marriage certificate. This is a legal document that proves you are married and can be obtained from the National Population Commission (NPC) or a local government council in Nigeria. You will need to provide the following documents to obtain a marriage certificate:
- A completed marriage certificate application form
- Two passport-sized photographs of both parties
- Evidence of payment of the prescribed fee
- Sworn declaration of age by both parties
- Affidavit of bachelorhood/spinsterhood
SWEARING AN AFFIDAVIT
After obtaining your marriage certificate, the next step is to swear an affidavit in court stating your intention to change your name. An affidavit is a written statement made under oath or affirmation before an authorized magistrate or officer of the court. To swear an affidavit, you will need to:
- Visit a High Court or Magistrate Court registry of your choice
- Obtain a change of name affidavit form
- Fill the form, stating your intention to change your name after marriage
- Submit the form and your marriage certificate to the court
- Pay the prescribed fee
- Swear to the affidavit before a Magistrate, Judge, or any authorized officer of the court
CHANGING YOUR NAME ON LEGAL DOCUMENTS
Once you have sworn an affidavit and obtained a marriage certificate, you can proceed to change your name on legal documents. This includes your passport, driver’s license, bank accounts, and other official documents. To change your name on these documents, you will need to:
- Obtain a new passport or driver’s license application form
- Fill the form, stating your new name
- Submit the form, your old passport or driver’s license, and your marriage certificate to the relevant authorities
- Pay the prescribed fee
It is important to note that changing your name on legal documents can take several weeks or even months, so it is advisable to start the process as soon as possible.
COST IMPLICATION OF NAME CHANGE
Changing your name after marriage in Nigeria comes with some cost implications. While the cost may vary depending on the state and the specific requirements, there are some basic costs that are involved in the process.
Firstly, there is a fee for obtaining an affidavit from a high court or a notary public. This fee is usually between ₦500 to ₦2,000, depending on the state and the location of the court or notary public.
Secondly, there is a fee for publishing the name change in a national newspaper. This fee varies depending on the newspaper and the length of the announcement. However, it is usually between ₦5,000 to ₦20,000.
Thirdly, there is a fee for obtaining a new national identity card, driver’s license, and other official documents with the new name. These fees are usually standard and are determined by the issuing authority.
It is important to note that the cost implication of name change after marriage in Nigeria is not limited to these basic costs. There may be other costs involved, such as legal fees, transportation costs, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Therefore, it is advisable to budget for these costs and plan accordingly before embarking on the name change process. It is also important to ensure that all the necessary documents and requirements are met before proceeding with the process to avoid any additional costs or delays.
Changing your name after marriage in Nigeria is a legal and straightforward process that requires proper documentation and adherence to the required procedures. With the information provided in this article, you can confidently proceed with the name change process and ensure that their official records reflect your new name.