Name Change when Living Between 2 Countries

Name Change when Living Between 2 Countries

Name Change when Living Between 2 Countries

If you live between two countries it can be difficult to know where to change names and what process to follow. Changing names, whether by marriage, divorce or legal name change, is available to any Australian citizen or permanent resident. This is regardless of where else you may hold a passport or any other country where you may also reside.

The first thing to think about is where you hold the most number of records and accounts that you access on a regular basis. If you want a different name reflected on your passport, licence, bank accounts and other records in Australia, you must follow the name change procedures for Australia. Australian authorities and most Australian companies will not recognise any official name change document, marriage certificate or deed poll from any foreign country.

If you also want to update your name in abroad you should check with the driver licensing department, passport office and tax registry in that country to see if your records can be changed with the proof of name change documents you have available, or with an Australian document.

Changing names in Australia – Legal Name Change

An Australian citizen whose birth was registered in Australia can change names at any time, regardless of where they currently reside. If you are an Australian citizen who was born abroad, or an Australian permanent resident, you may need to provide proof you have lived in one Australian state for up to 5 years before applying for a legal name change with BDM.

For legal name changes, lodge an application with Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state where you were born (if applicable), or else where you normally reside. You can get the BDM application form at either the BDM state website, or you can receive this in any Easy Name Change kit.

Changing names in Australia – Marriage and reverting to prior name

Get your Australian identification and records updated into your new name following your marriage, or revert to your prior name at any time. If changing names from marriage you only need an Australian marriage certificate. If reverting to your prior name you need either a divorce order, or both your BDM marriage and birth certificates.

If you were married overseas you will be unable to use your foreign marriage certificate as evidence of your new name. You must instead successfully aply for a legal name change with BDM.

Foreign certificates are not often accepted. You are more likley to have your foreign certificate accepted if your permanent address is outside of Australia. Certificates must be in English or translated by an accredited translator.

Changing your name outside of Australia

As there are over 160 foreign countries, we can’t begin to explain what process to follow in another country. If you decide to update your name abroad we recommend starting with government issued photo ID, such as your foreign drivers licence or passport. If you can get foreign government photo ID changed, use it to support your name change application with other companies from that country. You may also need to show your Australian legal name change document, marriage or divorce certificate. If Australian documents are not accepted, you may need to follow the name change process that is allowed in that country.

Can a foreign name change document be accepted in Australia?

Australia is one of the most stringent countries in the world for name change. If you ordinarily live outside of Australia, the passports office may accept internationally issued documents as proof of your name change. Once you have an updated Australian passport, you may show that together with an international marriage, divorce or name change certificate and get your Australian records updated. If you ordinarily reside in Australia you must show an Australian issued marriage or legal name change certificate to have your passport updated. In such situations an Australian legal name change may be inevitable. If you were divorced abroad, your divorce order may be accepted if you can prove you were not a resident at the time.

Will I need two name changes?

Every country has different policies, so this is general advice only. It is usually easiest to change names in the country where you reside now and intend to reside in the foreseeable future. Follow the name change procedure for that country. If you move countries in the future, take all your proof of name change and approach each relevant company when you move and ask for your name change to be updated on your record. As you were not a resident of the country when you changed names, and have proof that you have been living elsewhere with a different and legal name, you are more likely to have your name change accepted.

What if I only change names in one country?

If you decide to only change names in one country, just be mindful of which account or record is under which name. If you need to prove your identity you should have sufficient proof available to prove both your names. It can get messy where you have half your records under one name and half under another name, but you won’t be breaking the law.

Be mindful of the name in your passport. Only make travel plans under that same name.

How can Easy Name Change help?

We're a name change notification service. We provide customers with personalized and ready to send name change forms, letters, emails and faxes, plus detailed name change instructions for each company. You just add your proof of name change, sign and send! Our kits save customers from hours of waiting on hold, searching for forms and writing letters.

If you need to change names in Canada, the UK or USA, visit our international sites via, where we provide forms, paperwork and procedures for companies in these countries.

If you live between 2 countries or have 2 passports you may be wondering where to change names. We explain the technicalities of where to change names and provide some important considerations.

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