How to change your name in NSW

Do either or both of you, want to change your surname once you’re married?

Not sure how to go about this in the most pain-free way possible?   Read on.

Meggan Brummer

Author: Meggan Brummer

If we haven’t met before, my name is Meggan Brummer - I am an award-winning Celebrant in Sydney, Australia.

I’ve married hundreds of couples over the last 10 years.

I have 20 years experience in professional writing.

A Few Things To Be Aware Of

When you change your name by marriage, you are telling every organisation that has your details, that you want them to call you by a different name.

For them to do that, show them your BDM issued Official Marriage Certificate as proof that you are allowed to use that different name.

You don’t need to change your name on documentation if you don’t want to.

Many newly married people use their married name in social circles but keep their birth name on their official documentation or for professional purposes.

As changing your name after marriage is not a formal name change process through BDM (Births, Deaths and Marriages); you will not be issued with a new birth certificate as you would if you were formally changing one of your names given at birth for a reason other than marriage.

What can I change my name to?

Both or either of your can change your name after you get married. 

There are several options available to you.

The Australian Passport Office says: 

“The parties may choose one of the following family name options on a passport due to marriage:

  • Retain your existing family name
  • Adopt your spouse’s family name
  • Adopt a combination of your family name and your spouse’s family name with or without hyphens. eg. If Mary Smith marries Harry Jones her name after marriage could be:
    • Mary Smith
    • Mary Jones
    • Mary Smith Jones
    • Mary Jones Smith
    • Mary Smith-Jones
    • Mary Jones-Smith.”

How To Change Your Name After Marriage

Step 1:  Apply for a BDM Issued Official Marriage Certificate

While you could change your name on Facebook straightaway if you wanted to, most legal entities won’t change your name unless you give them an Official Marriage Certificate issued by BDM (Births Deaths and Marriages).

The decorative certificate that your Marriage Celebrant gave you after your wedding ceremony is not sufficient evidence for most organisations to change your name.  What you need is the Official Marriage Certificate from BDM which you get after marriage.

Once you have your BDM Issued Official Marriage Certificate you can change your name with any organisation.

I’ve written another post on how to get this certificate in the shortest possible time here.

A good place to start is to change your name on the most important documents – your passport and driver’s licence.

Step 2:  Change Your Name On Your Driver’s Licence

When you change your name, you must notify Transport NSW (Formally RMS) within 14 days.

To do that, you need to visit a Service NSW Centre in person and provide your proof of identity documents.

You also need to bring the following (original) documents:

1 – Your Marriage certificate 

In NSW they will usually only accept marriage certificates issued by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM). If you were married in another state or country, a marriage certificate from a celebrant or church is acceptable. Remember, a commemorative certificate from your Marriage Celebrant is not acceptable.

2- Your Drivers Licence

This must be current or expired within the last 2 years.

Step 3: Change Your Name On Your Passport

You will need to complete a Passport Renewal Application form (available at the Post Office or Online here) and submit it at your nearest Passport Office, usually your local Post Office.

You will also need to show them:

  • Your official Marriage Certificate issued by Births, Deaths and Marriages and
  • Your current passport

NOTE: You can still travel on a valid passport in your previous name. In this case, it is recommended that you also obtain your tickets in your previous name.  ie.  Buy your honeymoon tickets in your birth name!

Step 4: Change your name with all other organisations

Now that you have your BDM Issued Official Marriage Certificate and have changed your Driver’s Licence and/or Passport, you can change your name with all other organisations.

Listed below are the main places people often need to change their details.  This list is not exhaustive & there may be other organisations you need to notify.

Other Organisations To Possibly Change your Name With

    • Alumni – university, high school
    • Australian Business Register if you’re the director of a company 
    • Australian Electoral Commission
    • Australian Organ Donor Register
    • Australian Tax Office
    • Bank/s – accounts, credit cards, ATM cards, loans, cheque books, term deposit accounts
    • Centrelink
    • Council – rates and animal registration
    • Loyalty programs – Frequent Flyer etc
    • Home phone account
    • Insurance – car, NRMA, house, contents, health, life, insurance protection
    • Internet account
    • Investments and shares
    • Magazine and newspaper subscriptions
    • Medicare
    • Memberships – library, sports clubs, gym
    • Mobile phone account
    • Online – Facebook, ebay, LinkedIn
    • Pay TV accounts
    • Real estate agency if you’re renting
    • Regular service providers – hairdresser, vet, accountant, doctor, dentist
    • Superannuation
    • Utilities – electricity, water, gas 
    • Voicemail
    • White Pages listing
    • Your children’s school
    • Your employer

Step 5: Celebrate your new name by using it to make dinner reservations somewhere fancy 🙂


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