How Long to Change Your Name in California? (2023)

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It takes 2-3 months to change your name in California with our help. The time it takes can vary from county to county, and sometimes from courthouse to courthouse. We outline the three parts of the process, and the amount of time to complete each step.

The 3 Parts – How Long to Change Your Name in California

To have your Name Change recognized by government agencies, schools, banks and other organizations, you need to present them with a California Superior Court Order. Here are the three steps to get your Certified Decree Changing Name (Court Order):

  1. Prepare a Name Change Petition
  2. File Your Petition in Court, Follow the Steps for Publishing and Hearing, and get your Court Order, upon approval
  3. Change Your ID and Official Records

How much time each step takes will depend on how much time you can spend on it. So, how long to change your name in California depends on you. This is particularly true for steps 1 and 3.


Your Name Change Petition is actually a bunch of Court Forms. There are between 5 and 15 forms. How many you need depends on where you live and what else you need. How simple or complicated your names are DOES NOT MATTER. You can get the blank forms from any Superior Court. It will take the average person at least several hours to figure them out and complete them. For some people, it will take much longer. If you’re doing this yourself, budget extra time for forms no one told you about. If you don’t complete the forms or do them wrong, it can result in your Petition being rejected, delayed or denied.

Most people can’t spend 3-6 hours of uninterrupted time to finish the Petition in one sitting. It can take you days or weeks, even months before you can put in enough time on it to get it finished. If you have us help you with FULL SERVICE, it will take you 7-15 minutes online to give us the information we need. Then, in a few days, you’ll receive a fully completed Petition, marked for your signatures. It also comes with personalized, easy to follow instructions to complete everything.

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2. File, Hearing and Court Order – How Long to Change Your Name in California

This part of the process will take some of your time. You need to file your Petition in the proper court and then get a Hearing assignment. Then, you need to promptly run the public notice advertising required by the California Name Change Laws. (see California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 1277a) The judge probably won’t approve your Petition without seeing proof that your ads were correctly published. If we help you, you will have it done correctly.

The Court will schedule a hearing for your Name Change. That hearing will be about 6-10 weeks after you file the Petition. Almost always, you get your judge-signed Court Order on the hearing date. Some courts take longer than that because of cutbacks and scheduling problems. There’s not much you can do to speed the court up in this phase. But, if you do your Petition wrong or don’t do the advertising right, you can slow the court down more.

You must appear for the Hearing unless the court approves your Petition early or excuses you from appearing in writing. The Hearing will likely be VERY brief, a couple of minutes to confirm that you are really you. It can take longer if your case has criminal history problems or if your paperwork isn’t complete or correct. If we help, we’ll do your Paperwork the way your court wants it.

When you have your Name Change Court Order signed by the judge, you can get A Certified Copy of it that day from the same court. You need the Certified Copy to get your most important records changed.

It will take you from 6 weeks to 6 months (usually 8 weeks or so) to get your Court Order.1

3. Change Your Records – How Long to Change Your Name in California

No one changes their most important records for you automatically. There are some inexpensive services, but you’ll need to do most of the work. It won’t take long if you follow our CHECKLIST (comes with your Petition Package) You have to get your records changed, one-by-one. All the most important ones (social security, birth certificate, DMV, passport, etc.) will want to see your Certified Copy and some other identification before they will make the change you want. Some may want your fingerprints. MANY of our customers have their Social Security, DMV, School and bank records changed in one day.

Like Step 1, above, the time it takes to get all your records changed will depend on how much concentrated time you can spend doing it. Each of the places you need to change records will have their own specific forms and procedures to learn and follow. With the Certified Copy of Your Decree Changing Name, you can get your Social Security, DMV, School and bank records changed in one or two days after the Hearing. However, it may take you 2-6 months to get all your accounts changed over.

Summary – How Long to Change Your Name in California

  • Prepare Your Petition – 3-6 hours or more (unless we help. If we help, 7-15 minutes).
  • File, Hearing, Court Order – 3-6 hours to file (unless we help. Zero time with Full Service). Usually 2-3 months to wait for your Hearing date. You get your Decree Changing Name right after your Hearing, upon approval.
  • Change Your Records – 2-3 days (most important ones) 2-6 months for them all.

How Long to Change Your Name in California? – Usually 2-3 months if we help you. That’s all. Changing all the little records will take will take a little longer. If you don’t start, it will take you forever.

Whenever you may decide to get a Name Change Started, we can have your Petition paperwork done properly in no time flat! EZ Name Change specializes in Preparing Petitions for every one of California’s County Superior Courts. If you want 5-Star Full Service Name Change, we’ve got it:) We’re passionate about helping people like you get the legal name change you want…exactly the way you want. You can do this!

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More About How EZ Name Change Can Help

  • FULL SERVICE Name Change
  • How to Change Your Name in California?
  • How Long Does it Take to Change Your Name?
  • How Much Does it Cost to Change Your Name?

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(Video) How to Change Your Name in California


How much does it cost to legally change your name in CA? ›

Basic steps to change a name

You pay a $435-$450 filing fee. If you can't afford the fee, you can ask the court to waive it. The clerk will give you a date when a judge will make a decision.

How quickly can I change my name? ›

How long does it take to legally change my name? Name change actions can take anywhere from a day, to six (6) months (sometimes even longer). The time it takes for name change actions to be ordered/decreed varies not only from state to state but from county to county and courthouse to courthouse as well.

How long do you have to live in California to change your name? ›

In other words, in order to petition a state for name change, you must be a permanent resident of that state. All states require a Petitioner/Applicant to be a resident of the state -- often for at least six months and sometimes for as long as one year -- before filing for a name change there.

Can I legally change my name online California? ›

To change your name on your California driver's license or DMV identity card, you will need to submit a certified copy of a court-ordered name change and fill out a form DL-44. You can pick up a copy of the form at any DMV location (it is not available online).

How difficult is it to change your name? ›

Depending on where you live, your legal name change process could be as easy as filling out an online form, or as intensive as attending a formal hearing and getting fingerprinted by the FBI. You'll also need to pay a filing fee, which could cost anywhere from $50 in Hawaii to $450 in California.

What documents do I need to change my name in California? ›

Which forms do I need to get a name change in California?
  • Form NC-100: Petition for Change of Name.
  • Form NC-110: Attachment to Petition for Change of Name.
  • Form NC-120: Order to Show Cause for Change of Name. ...
  • Form CM-010: Civil Case Cover Sheet.
22 Jul 2022

How long does it take Social Security to change your name? ›

While you must provide the SSA with several documents and the completed SSA Form SS-5, the process is simple and takes only a few weeks to get a new card. Once you've changed your Social Security card to your new name, you can make changes to other documents, such as your driver's license, much more easily.

What state is the easiest to change your name? ›

Because of Full Service, by EZ Name Change, California's process is considered one of the easiest and surest ways to get a name legally changed.

Do I need a lawyer to change my name in California? ›

You can fill out the forms online, but you will ultimately need to appear in court (or have a lawyer appear on your behalf). You will need proof of citizenship or lawful immigration status, a marriage license (if taking a spouse's name), and other forms of identification.

Is there a time limit to change your name after marriage in California? ›

Turn in your application at the County's Registrar's Office. The clerk will issue the license. It is good for 90 days.

Do you need a lawyer to change your name? ›

Do I need a solicitor? If you are changing your name by deed poll, although you can do it yourself, you might find the services of a solicitor useful. If you want to change your name yourself, simply produce the documents we have highlighted, by downloading the relevant forms.

Can I change my name anytime I want? ›

Typically, you may legally change your name to whatever name you'd like, although state marriage laws may also provide some additional legal guidance. There are some exceptions though. For example, you can't: Change your name to escape debt liability or hide from criminal liability.

How do I change my name on my Social Security card? ›

To change your name on your card, you must show us documents proving your legal name change and identity. You also must show us a document proving your U.S. citizenship, if it is not already in our records. You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them.

Can you change the name on your birth certificate? ›

In order to apply for a change of name, an application form needs to be completed and posted to the register office where the entry is held. The birth certificates with the old name need to be given to the register office along with an application form and the relevant fee for a new certificate.

What are the negatives of changing your name? ›

Con: It's not free

It needs to get notarized. If your name change is the result of a divorce or a marriage, you may need additional documentation. It's not prohibitively expensive — court fees may be a few hundred dollars — but it does cost money. This is only something you want to do if you're serious about it.

Do you need a reason to change your name? ›

You don't need to have any kind of valid reason to change your name, so long as it is not for any fraudulent purpose, such as avoiding paying a debt or fulfilling an obligation — you are free to change your name at any time.

What prevents you from changing your name? ›

Unresolved, very significant or recent criminal history might well be a reason a Judge may not allow an adult to change names, even if no other person objects. However, many people with criminal history records are approved for legal name change.

How hard is it to change your name in California? ›

In California, you can ask for a court order to change your legal name. To do this, you file a petition with the court and publish a notice in a newspaper. Then, you'll either have a court date (a hearing) where a judge will make a decision, or the judge may make a decision without a hearing.

What reason should I give for changing my name? ›

Change your name after you have been divorced; Change your name to honor your heritage, ethnicity or for religious reasons; and. Change your name to honor a step-parent or other person that has been special in your life; and, Create a new last name for both you and your spouse by hyphenating your surnames.

Can you change your legal name at the California DMV? ›

If you are changing your name on your registration (not correcting it), you must submit your REG 256 and 227 forms, evidence of ownership, and duplicate certificate of title fee in person to a DMV office to complete the process.

Why does it take so long to change your name? ›

If the court where you are filing your name change is experiencing heavy court caseloads (more than normal cases being filed around the same time), it can cause delays in processing times, and can take longer to get a hearing date, if one is required.

Can I change my name 3 times? ›

Changing your name again

You should not change your legal name lightly. You can change your name only once in a 12 month period and 3 times in your lifetime.

Does Social Security notify IRS of name change? ›

The first step to changing your legal name is to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA). Although the IRS and the SSA are separate from one another, the IRS uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to confirm the information on your tax return matches your record with the SSA.

Do I need to contact Social Security when I change my name? ›

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order, or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If you are working, you also need to tell your employer.

How do I inform Social Security that I got married? ›

By calling our national toll-free service at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visiting your local Social Security office.

Can you legally have no last name? ›

First name and surname

(For most people — your title is not a part of your legal name. A title of nobility though is different — it's another separate part of your legal name.) It isn't a legal requirement to have either a first name or a surname.

Can you legally have one name? ›

As for changing your name to a mononym, this is generally impossible in the US in all but the most exceptional of circumstances. As a result, only a handful of US citizens have Passports listing a single name.

How much does it cost to change your name in real life? ›

Name changes cost anywhere from under $100 to more than $500, depending on your state. In many states, fees vary in each county, so check with your local probate, family, or district court clerk. Many states still have fees well under $100.

Do I have to change my name on all documents? ›

Apart from your driving licence (and for non-EEA nationals, your Biometric Residence Permit), there isn't a legal requirement to update your documents and records to be in your new name. Neither is there any time limit you've got to update things within.

Can I use my old name after name change? ›

Yes, if you have changed your name in the past, and you want to revert to the original name on your birth certificate, you will need a deed poll to prove it.

How many times can a person change their name? ›

There is no real limit on the number of times one may do this.

Is there a deadline to change name after marriage? ›

Is there a deadline for changing my name after marriage? No. In the same way you don't have to change your name at all, if you do decide to make a change you can do it whenever you want. So if you want some time to think about it or get used to the idea of being married first, you can take as long as you like.

Is Changing your name after marriage hard? ›

Changing your last name after marriage isn't usually difficult, but it does require some organizational skills and plenty of patience as you deal with paperwork and government offices.

What are the disadvantages of changing name after marriage? ›

Pros: It won't affect your professional life, but you'll have the same last name as any children that you have with your partner. Cons: Having two names may be difficult to keep track of. Explaining this to employers, clients, and business acquaintances may become tedious.

What documents do you need to change your surname? ›

Form BI-59 must be completed and submitted with proof of the marriage to any Home Affairs domestic office. Both parents must sign the said form in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths. Applications for the insertion of a forename or surname, as the case may be, must be on a duly completed Form BI-795.

Can you travel with old passport after name change? ›

US Citizens: United States Citizens who change their name due to marriage, divorce, or because of any other circumstance may travel using your United States passport or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative approved document in your prior name provided you bring proof of your name progression such as; a marriage ...

What is the law for change of name? ›

Furnish Documents Required For Name Change

An affidavit duly signed by the applicant and attested by Judicial Magistrate/Notary. Original newspaper in which name change ad is given. Prescribed proforma (should be computer typed and not handwritten) with signatures of applicant and two witnesses.

Can you change names online? ›

A Petition for a Change of Name form must be completed. It's the primary document used in order to submit your name change request. This document can be mailed or submitted online depending on your state. Once the form and other documents are completed, go to your local county clerks office to have them reviewed.

Can I change my name for free? ›

The Social Security Administration has its own form which you can get for free. The good folks at SSI will also let the IRS know about the name change, so you're good to go. When you go to the DMV, you'll just need to bring the certified copy of the marriage certificate and you'll be done.

How long does it take to change your name? ›

"It can take the US State Department six weeks or more to process your application. During this time you won't have a passport, and it could limit your travel options," according to U.S. News. The sooner you apply for a new passport, the sooner you can resume globetrotting.

How do I legally change my name after marriage? ›

Most banks and similar services will ask you to visit a branch in person, in order to change your name. You will have to bring your marriage certificate (or deed poll) with you, as well as your debit card (if applicable) and proof of ID (for example, your driver's license).

Can I update my name with Social Security online? ›

Whatever your reason for your name change, Social Security is here to help you with the new… you! Fill out the form online and follow the instructions to ensure your Social Security card is delivered in a timely manner.

Can you remove a father from a birth certificate? ›

The father's name can't be removed from a child's birth entry if he's the biological father of the child. A father's name can only be removed from a child's birth entry if it has been established in court that he's not the biological father of the child.

Can a child have mother's surname? ›

The court also stated that during the pendency of the petition, the current husband adopted the child through a registered adoption deed and stated, "To obviate any uncertainty, it is reiterated that the mother, being the only natural guardian of the child, has the right to decide the surname of the child.

Can I change my child's surname if father is absent? ›

It's possible to change your child's name by deed poll if the father is absent. If dad is absent from your child/children's life, it's possible to change your child's/children's names by deed poll.

Can you just randomly change your name? ›

by Michelle Kaminsky, Esq. People choose to change their legal names for an array of reasons and, sometimes, for no reason as all. It's perfectly legal unless it is for fraudulent or deceptive purposes.

What is the rules to change the name? ›

In the United States, a legal name change can be obtained through a court order and any US citizen has the right to change his/her name through either common law or court procedure. A person may change his/her name at will and operate a business, write a book, or even sue someone under a different name.

What is the rule for changing the name? ›

Broadly classified, the procedure for name change involves only three steps: Make an affidavit for change of name. Place newspaper advertisement with details of change of name. Submit papers to The Department of Publication.

How many times a person can change name? ›

The draft amendment, seeking replacement of section-14 of the existing Act, which deals with registration of name of child, says: "Where the birth of a person has been registered with a name, change of the name so entered in the register of birth will be allowed to be made only once in a person's lifetime in manner ...

Can you change your real name twice? ›

So long as each change of name you do is a genuine change of name, there's no limit to the number of times you can change your name.

What are the consequences of changing your name? ›

Consequences to Changing Your Name

There can be professional consequences that can be problematic. For instance, all of your bank accounts and credit cards will need to be updated, as well as your driver's license and passport, which means you'll have a lot of paperwork to fill out.

Does changing your name give you a new identity? ›

Myth #1 MYTH: You become an entirely new person. REALITY: You're the same person with just a new name or new SSN. You're still the same you, with the same financial and legal obligations you had before you changed your identity. In fact, after changing your identity, your life might become more difficult.

How do I change my name with Social Security? ›

Last Updated: April 11, 2022

To change your name on your card, you must show us documents proving your legal name change and identity. If you are a U.S. citizen, you also must show us a document proving your U.S. citizenship, if it is not already in our records.


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