How to legally change a name on your national identification card in kenya; Procedure and requirements

Reasons why people change their names;

1.You can change your name at any time and for any reason provided, it is not to deceive or defraud or to avoid an obligation.

2. If a married person makes an application for a change of name, then their spouse has to give consent to the proposed change of name.

3. For a divorced person, a certificate from an advocate that he/she is living separately from their spouse is required.

If the applicant is divorced then their certificate of marriage or evidence of marriage together with decree absolute or certificate of divorce will be required, to facilitate the change of name.

4. Unmarried mothers whose children were registered with the father’s surname and wish for their children to have their surname.

5. In case you have anomalies in identification documents like the ID card or the Passport.

6. When a person is undergoing a gender reassignment.

7. If you feel you have an unpleasant-sounding given name or even an embarrassing name.

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Restrictions for changing your name in Kenya?

The registrar may refuse to accept a change of name, if;

1. The change is impossible to pronounce.

2. Includes numbers, symbols or punctuation marks.

3. Chosen names are vulgar, offensive or blasphemous.

4. Other names that can be rejected are those that promote criminal activities, racial or religious hatred or use of controlled drugs

5. Other names that cannot be registered are those that ridicule people, groups, Government departments, companies or organisations.

6. Names that may result in the belief that you have a conferred or inherited honour, title, rank or academic award, for example, a change of the first name to:

a) Sir

b) Lord

c) Lady

d) Prince

e) Princess

f) viscount

g) Baron

h) Baroness

i) General

J) Captain

K) Professor

l) Doctor

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Often times, adults feel the need to change their names for one reason or the other. Fortunately, the law allows one to do so. Under the Registration of Documents Act of Kenya, the following procedure must be undertaken to effect a name change.

Apply In-Person:

    1. Visit the Registrar Generals Department and have a copy of the Deed Poll drafted.<br
    2. Complete a deed poll prescribed as ( Form 1 ) of the Regulations to the Act;
  1. Make an application for registration which is prescribed as Form A in the Registration of Documents (Forms) Regulations;
  2. The Deed Poll is accompanied by a birth certificate of the applicant.
  3. The application is also accompanied by a statutory declaration prescribed under the Act (Form 6). This declaration is sworn by a person resident in Kenya and who personally knows the applicant by the name they want to change.
  4. The documents are presented to the Registrar of Documents for registration
  5. Upon registration, the registrar causes the deed poll to be advertised in the Kenya Gazette. Name change is effected at this point.

Sometimes, after name change has been effected under the procedure above, the person feels the need to reflect the change in their identity card. Under the Registration of Persons Act, the process of changing the name in your identity card is as follows:


  1. Fill Deed poll on change of name (form 1) and present it to the Registration Officer. This form gives the particulars of the change. This form can be obtained from the registrar general’s office or downloaded online from the following link:Online
  2. Be in possession of a combination of any of the following documents depending on the type of name change;
    1. Marriage Certificate
    2. Deed Poll
    3. School leaving Certificates
    4. Sworn affidavits
    5. Confirmation letters from administrative office
    6. Birth Certificate
    7. Copy of parents ID card.
  3. Surrender the current identity card and pay a fee of Ksh 1000/=.
  4. The registration officer signs a certificate in a form prescribed in the Fourth schedule to be issued to the applicant;
  5. The applicant’s photo is taken for the purpose of enabling a new identity card to be issued to him.
  6. The Registration officer forwards the application form, the photograph and the surrendered identity card to the Principal Registrar who records the changes in the register of persons; and cancels the surrendered I.D. card.
  7. After the expiration of sixty days from the issue of the certificate by the registration officer, the applicant appears before the registration officer at the registration office specified in the third column of the certificate, and surrenders the certificate in exchange for a new identity card.

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