I want to legally change my surname - where do I start?

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"I need to start my lineage but not sure where to start..."
"I need to start my lineage but not sure where to start..."

The following question comes from a reader who wants information about how to change their surname legally and start afresh. 

The reader writes: 

My name is Sithembiso. I just want to ask if it's possible here in South Africa to get a new surname - I need to start my lineage but not sure where to start.

The first step toward getting your name legally changed is to go to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and get the relevant application form.

There are a few options available to Sithembiso, depending on his circumstances and wishes.

If the applicant, who is a major, wants to assume a different surname for themselves, they have to obtain Form BI-196 from the office and fill it with appropriate details. The applicant would also have to provide a sufficient reason for the name change.

In the case where the applicant wishes to change their forename, they would have to obtain Form BI-85 from the office of DHA and fill the form as required. However, the applicant should provide a sufficient reason for the change of name. 

In the case where the applicant would also like to change the surname of a minor, the applicant would have to obtain Form BI-193 and follow the previous process of providing a sufficient reason for the change of name. 

In order to complete the full process, the applicant would have to provide the following documents: 

  • Proof of identity
  • The relevant filled and signed Application form/forms 
  • Reason for the change of name in written form (for all cases)
  • In the case of married applicants: Written consent of the spouse is required

In the case of have the surname of a minor changed, the applicant would have to provide the documents above as well as:

  • Written consent by the natural father (in the case of the mother’s remarriage)
  • Written consent by mother’s husband (in the case of the mother’s remarriage)
  • Written consent by the mother

Source: Department of Home Affairs

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