Changing your name is a personal choice that may arise for various reasons, such as marriage, divorce, religious conversion, or simply a desire for a fresh start. In Kenya, the process of legally changing your name is straightforward but requires following specific legal procedures. This article will guide you through the steps to legally change your name in Kenya.
Determine the Reason for the Name Change
Before embarking on the legal process, it’s essential to identify and document the reason for your name change. Common reasons include marriage, divorce, personal preference, or religious conversion. Understanding the motive behind the change will help you navigate the process more smoothly.
1. Obtain a Deed Poll
A Deed Poll is a formal legal document that records your name change and is recognized by government authorities and institutions. To obtain a Deed Poll:
Draft a Deed Poll document, which includes your old and new names, the reason for the change, and a statement that you renounce your former name.
Sign the Deed Poll in the presence of a witness, preferably a lawyer, notary public, or commissioner for oaths. Have the witness sign and stamp the Deed Poll. Keep multiple copies of the Deed Poll for future use.
2. Obtain an Affidavit
An affidavit is a legal document in which you make a sworn statement about your name change. To get an affidavit:
Visit a lawyer, a notary public, or a court registrar’s office. Explain your reasons for the name change and provide any supporting documents. Swear an oath in front of a commissioner for oaths or a magistrate. Pay the required fee for the affidavit.
The affidavit should contain your current and desired names, the reason for the change, and your personal details.
Publish a Notice of Name Change
After obtaining the affidavit, you must publish a notice of your name change in the Kenya Gazette, a government publication. This notice serves as a public record of your name change and allows anyone with objections to come forward.
To publish a notice:
Visit the Kenya Gazette office or its website (http://kenyagazette.co.ke). Follow their guidelines for submitting a notice of name change. Pay the necessary publication fee.
The notice should include your old and new names, the reason for the change, and your contact information.
Update Your Official Documents
Once you have the Deed Poll, it’s time to update your official documents to reflect your new name. Start by updating your:
National Identity Card (ID)
Passport Driver’s License
Social media profiles
Any other relevant documents or accounts
Visit the respective government offices or institutions to initiate the name change process. You’ll typically need to submit the Deed Poll, your old documents, and the published notice as evidence.
Notify Relevant Parties
Inform your family, friends, employers, and other contacts about your name change. You may also want to consider updating your name on official records, such as school certificates, academic transcripts, and professional licenses.
Legally changing your name in Kenya is a straightforward process that involves obtaining an affidavit, publishing a notice in the Kenya Gazette, creating a Deed Poll, and updating your official documents. Ensure that you follow the correct legal procedures and guidelines to avoid any complications during the name change process. Remember that transparency and clear communication with relevant parties are essential for a smooth transition to your new name.