Legal Name Change for New Zelanders
If you have records across both Australia and New Zealand you may be torn between where to lodge your legal name change application. There are some situations where a New Zealand name change certificate will be accepted in Australia, and vice versa. Consider where you were born, which country has issued your passport and where you intent to reside in the future.
New Zealanders living in Australia
New Zealanders who are permanent residents of Australia are eligible to change names in either New Zealand or the state in Australia where they reside. New Zealand passports can be updated using a legal change of name document issued in either country. If you hold an Australian passport and reside in Australia, only Australian BDM legal name change certificates are accepted. You may find it easier to apply for a legal name change certificate in Australia, then use this to update your NZ passport and other documents.
Australians living in New Zealand
If you don't permanently reside in Australia, the Australian passports office will accept marriage, divorce and name change certificates issued by foreign authorities. You may prefer to change your name in the country where you intend to reside in the forseeable future. If you have a NZ issued certificate, get your AU passport changed first. Include both your NZ certificate, a copy of your updated AU passport and explain that you reside abroad, but your name change is accepted by the Australian government and therefore your records should be updated accordingly. If you are given a hard time by Australian companies you can close and reopen your account under your new name, using your updated passport as proof. You may find difficulties in changing names on any Australian superannuation policies as most super funds insist on a certificate issued by an Australian BDM registry. You may be able to sign a statutory declaration in addition to all other name change proof available.
Will a legal name change certificate issued in one country be accepted in the other?
It is up to each organization as to what documents they will accept. As this is not a common name change request we haven’t researched each organization’s requirements with name change certificates issued abroad. Australian government departments and financial institutions are most stringent and usually request an Australian legal name change certificate, unless an updated Australian passport can be presented at the same time. Smaller commercial organisations can be more flexible, especially if you can also provide photo ID reflecting your new name.
Generally speaking, Australian organisations tend to be stricter than New Zealand ones, so if you have many records to update in Australia, you may consider lodging your name change application in Australia.
Still not sure where to register your name change?
This is a decision for you to make and we can’t provide any further advice to what appears on the page. It makes sense to register your name change in the country where you intend to reside for the foreseeable future, or where you hold the majority of records that will need updating, however you should also consider the rules around what documents will be accepted to update any passports you hold. In some cases people may need to apply for a legal name change in both countries to get all records across both Australia and New Zealand updated into the same name. If you need to lodge 2 legal name change applications there are no cost savings or special procedures to follow.
We are unable to advise you which country you should lodge your legal name change application in for your particular situation as we are not legal experts. You should make your own decision based on your personal situation.
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