How to legally change your name

4 February 2021

A resource for trans and gender diverse young people and their families in Queensland

This fact sheet answers some common questions trans and gender diverse young people, and their families, have about changing their name.

It includes:

  • changing your name on your birth certificate
  • changing your name on federal documents, like passports, or Centrelink and Medicare records

  Not in Queensland?

This resource is also available for:

VIC | NSW | QLD | SA | ACT | NT | TAS | WA

Can you change your gender status on formal documents?

Yes, but there are requirements you need to meet.

By reading this resource we hope you will get a better understanding of what’s involved with legally changing your name in Queensland.

What steps are involved with making a change?

The steps for applying to change your name on formal documents differs depending on whether the document you would like to change is issued by:

1. a state or territory government organisation

OR

2. a federal government organisation

See how you can change key documents below.

How to change the name on your birth certificate

Birth certificates are issued and regulated at a state and territory level. This means that the approach to changing the recorded name on your birth certificate will depend on the process used by that state or territory’s Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (which is the government agency responsible for issuing and regulating birth certificates).

In Queensland, this is the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages. 

Does age matter?

Yes.

Young people over the age of 18 can make an application directly whereas if you are under 18 years of age, your parents or guardians will need to make the application on your behalf.

If you are under 18, you will need to ask your parents to make the application

As a young person under 18 years old, you can change your name on your birth certificate through an application made by your parents or guardians (it’s not possible for you to make an application to change your name by yourself until you are over 18 years old).

The application must be submitted in the state/territory that you were born in, or the one where you have lived for the most part.

If your parents are separated, one parent cannot change a child’s name unless they have received consent from the other parent, obtained a relevant court order, or sole parental responsibility has been granted to that parent by a court or any other law.

Most trans and gender diverse young people will not have to go to the Family Court to apply for access to Stage 2 (hormone) or Stage 3 (surgical) treatment, where their parents and doctors agree the treatment is appropriate.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to go to court to apply for access to Stage 2 or Stage 3 treatment, then it is possible to change your name on these applications and seek an order at the same time requiring the Registrar from the QLD Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to give effect to that name change order.

 

To be eligible to change your name in Queensland, you need to:

  • Have been born or adopted in Queensland

OR

  • If born or adopted overseas, have lived in the state for at least 12 months prior to the application

How can you, or your parent or guardian, apply?

You can apply by filling out the change of name application form attaching the necessary supporting documents (e.g. proof of identity) and paying the required feed.

For a link to the form and details of costs, see ‘Where to Get Help and Information’.

If you are under 18, both parents must fill out the application form unless:

  • There is only a sole parent named on your birth certificate
  • The other parent has passed away, or
  • The Family Court, or another Australian court or tribunal, has made an order approving the proposed name change on application by one parent.

If you have a guardian who has parental responsibility, they will need to fill out the application form.

How to change your name on federal government documents, such as your passport, and Medicare or Centrelink records

You will need to provide an updated birth certificate that has your new name, change-of-name certificate, or citizenship certificate, to the agency that looks after the document or record that you want to change.

This means you will need to have first successfully applied to the SA Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (or a legalised foreign equivalent) to change your name.

Where to get help and more information

  • If you are over 18, you can access the Change of Name Application form by clicking here
  • If you are under 18, you can access the Change of Name Application form by clicking here.
  • Parents of Gender Diverse Children provides peer support nationally to parents and those parenting trans and gender diverse children. To access their resources or make an enquiry, visit their website.
  • The Australian Transgender Support Association of Queensland offers a wide range of services to people with gender issues, their partners, family members and friends in Queensland. This includes assistance with change of name. To find out more, contact the centre via their website or call (07) 3843 5024.

This resource was published 04/02/2021. This is legal information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should always contact a lawyer for advice specific to your situation.

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