Changing Your Surname after marriage

Changing your surname after marriage is not part of the legal marriage process, but a separate procedure you can complete in your own time, should you wish. It is an often-followed tradition but it is not legally required and it does not happen automatically.

Your options

The bride usually changes her surname but she does not have to give up her maiden name. Sometimes people keep their maiden name for work, but use their married name elsewhere.

The groom can also take the bride’s surname if he wishes. Or you can use a combination of both names. For instance if Jane Citizen married John Smith you can take the surname Citizen-Smith or Smith-Citizen.  It's your choice whether to use a hyphen or space between the surnames.

If you wish to change anything other than just your surname, you need to go through a formal name change process via the registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM).This can be done at any time.

The process

Contact every organisation where you hold ID, an account or membership and ask what procedure you should follow as each company is different.

You may be asked to send a letter, return a special form, send an email or visit a branch in person. Organisations will also have different requirements on what proof they need, but as a general rule, use your Full Marriage Certificate issued by the Births, Deaths and Marriages Department.

  • If you decide to change names, it is best to have all your records and ID consistently under the one name or else you may have problems proving identity.
  • Update your passport first as this may make other changes easier down the track.
  • Once you have your passport updated, take this along with your full marriage certificate to banks and your state road authority.
  • Once you have your passport, driver’s licence and bank details updated you should find most other companies will accommodate your change of name.
  • Don’t forget to tell your employer!

What you’ll need

On your wedding day, I will issue you with an official Marriage Certificate. But for change of name purposes, you must request and purchase a full certificate, which is only issued by the Birth Deaths and Marriages Department. This certificate contains all of your registered details. I can order that certificate on your behalf. See the Marriage Certificates page for more details.


NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages

From their website:

“If you were married in Australia a formal Change of Name is not required if you wish to take your spouse's name.
A Standard Marriage Certificate is usually sufficient evidence to have personal documentation, such as your driver's licence and passport, changed to your married surname.”

Immediately after your wedding, I will register your marriage on your behalf. I can then apply to the BDM for a full marriage certificate on your behalf. Because a full certificate is issued by the BDM and not by me, the BDM charges a processing fee.

The certificate will arrive via Registered Post and will require a signature. If you are not at home, a card will be left so you can collect it person from your local Australia Post Office.

I can act as your agent for 2 months after your wedding. After that time, if you wish to apply yourself you can do so online.


Australian Passports

To obtain a new passport for a name change due to marriage, you will need to present a marriage certificate issued by the BDM, a completed application, current passport and photographs.

A gratis passport (i.e. free of charge) will only be issued if you apply for your new passport within 12 months of your marriage. The passport being replaced should have at least 2 years validity remaining otherwise you will be unable to replace the gratis document using the streamlined renewal process. In these circumstances, the new passport would only be issued up to the date of validity of the current passport.

In all other circumstances, the full fee will have to be paid for a new passport.

The replacement passport will be issued with the same expiry date as the passport being replaced.


Driving Licence

If you’ve changed your name, you must notify Roads and Maritime within 14 days.

You will need to attend a registry or service centre in person and provide your proof of identity documents, plus a Full Marriage Certificate. For NSW, generally we only accept Marriage Certificates issued by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM). Commemorative certificates are not acceptable. our identity documents and change of name document should show a clear link between your names.


Medicare

Changes to your Medicare card details must be done in person at your local service centre. Supporting documentation is needed to change details, such as your name or date of birth. Our Customer Service Officers will treat sensitive issues in confidence. You can discuss changes to your enrolment by calling 132 011.

Once your details have been changed, we will cancel your old card and keep it. You will be given a temporary card to use until you receive your new card in the mail.

In extreme cases, if you live in a remote area or cannot visit a Medicare Service Centre, you can send a signed request with certified copies of the above documents and your current Medicare card to:

Department of Human Services
GPO Box 9822
In your capital city

Until your new card arrives in the mail, it is important you record your old card number for Medicare claiming purposes.


Banks

You might interact with your bank on a daily basis, in person or online, so updating your details with them is important. You’ll need your original BDM issued marriage certificate to get this changed.

Visit your local branch with your document and another form of ID (like passport or driver’s licence) and get your name updated.

A name change on an account can be instant but changing the name on a card means a new card has to be produced and sent. This may take a week or longer.

Once you’ve requested your new cards you may have to update direct debits you’ve set up. In most cases you should still have the same card number.

You should contact the direct debit service providers to make sure your name, card and direct debits match.

 

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