Minnesota Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in MN

Updated August 07, 2022

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A Minnesota name change form can be filled out and filed with the county court to submit a request to have your name legally changed. They will need to present themselves at a court hearing with two (2) witnesses in order to receive a court order certifying their name change. Most requests will be accepted as long as they are not deliberately fraudulent, misleading, or obfuscating (such as containing numerals or special characters). Published notice of a name change is not required in most cases, however, it may be required if the subject is a minor or if they have an interest in land (real property). People change their name most commonly when they get married or divorced, and in this State, they can include a name change in their marriage or divorce either to change their surname or to adopt a new name.

Laws – Minnesota Statutes Chapter §259.10 to 259.13

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

It is very common for individuals to change their surname when getting married. In Minnesota, residents can change their name when applying for a marriage license by entering their desired name(s) on their application. They can either adopt their spouse’s surname, join their two family names, or adopt a new name altogether. Once the marriage is complete, a marriage license and certificate will be issued to the couple by their courthouse. A certified copy of this marriage certificate can then be used to update their name(s) as recorded on their identification, accounts, and other registrations. The process of updating a resident’s name on their passport is often long, so it is recommended that newly married couples wait until after their honeymoon to update their passport and identification.

Name Change After Divorce

It is possible for a person to change their name as a part of their divorce proceedings either to resume using a surname held prior to marriage, or to adopt a new surname. However, if the name change request is not made until after a divorce is finalized, it will have to go through a separate court proceeding. By including the name change in the case’s divorce papers, it will be recorded in the divorce decree once the judgment is final. With a certified copy of this divorce decree, the subject will be able to change the name on their social security card, driver’s license, passport, etc.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

In order to be eligible to have your name legally changed in Minnesota, you must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be at least eighteen (18) years old
  • Be a resident of the county in which you are filing
  • Be a Minnesota resident for at least six (6) months
  • Be able to read and understand English
  • Have two (2) witnesses who have known you for at least one (1) year
  • Not be filing with fraudulent intent

If you are a convicted felon, you must notify your prosecuting authority about your name change. Furthermore, if you are a state prison inmate, you are only permitted to change your name once.

Step 1 – Fill-in the Application for Name Change

First, you must obtain and fill out the Application for Name Change (Form NAM102), making sure to clearly indicate your current name and personal information, as well as your desired name. This form can also be used to change the names of multiple parties, including minors who are in your custody. To apply for more than one name change, provide all of the appropriate information in order to specify your request. The name and birth date of your spouse and children must be given even if you are the only one having your name changed (if applicable).

Step 2 – Fill-in the Criminal History Check Release Form

You may be required to undergo a criminal history background check in order to have your petition accepted. Regardless of whether a background check is requested, you must fill out the Criminal History Check Release (Form NAM103), thus giving your written authorization for a criminal history check.

Step 3 – Fill-in the Proposed Order Granting Name Change

Next, fill out the Order Granting Name Change (Form NAM107) up to where it says “IT IS ORDERED,”and leave the field blank in the upper right-hand corner of the first page. This document will be signed when a judgment regarding your request has been reached. If your name change is accepted, a certified copy of this court order will be your proof of legal name change.

Step 4 – Provide Description of Property

If you, your spouse, or your children have any real property (land) in your/their name, you must attach a description of each property to your application. These can be obtained from your local County Recorder or Registrar of Titles.

Step 5 – Gather Documents

Once all of the documents described above have been filled out, you will be ready to file your application with your county court. You will need to bring all of the following documents to the Court Administrator:

  • Application for Name Change
  • Criminal History Check Release Form
  • Proposed Order Granting Name Change
  • Document(s) describing property
  • State-issued photo ID

Be sure to make copies of these documents for your personal records.

Step 6 – File Application With District Court

With all of your documents assembled, go to your District Court to file your Application for Name Change with the Court Administrator. While there, you should also request a hearing date for your case. You will be required to have two (2) witnesses in attendance, so it is important to pick a court date that all parties are able to attend. Even if you do not request a particular court date, you will be assigned one later.

Step 7 – Pay the Filing Fee

When you file your application, you will be required to pay a filing fee as well as additional fees for any certified copies that you may request. Payment methods may differ from one county to another, so you should verify the accepted types of payment before filing your documents. If you are incapable of paying the fees, you may apply to have them waived by filling out and submitting the appropriate In Forma Pauperis (IFP) forms to the court. If you file the IFP forms, you must sign them at the District Court in the Court Administrator’s presence. The Court Administrator will notarize the documents.

Step 8 – Complete Criminal History Check

If a criminal background check is requested, you will need to have your fingerprints taken at the Criminal Background Check Program office, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, or at the office of a local law enforcement agency. Once your fingerprints have been taken,  send the fingerprint card and your completed Criminal History Check Release Form to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at the address provided below.

Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
1430 Maryland Ave E
St. Paul, MN  55106

After conducting the background check, the bureau will forward any finding to your District Court.

Step 9 – Attend Hearing

The Court Administrator’s office will provide you with the date and time of your hearing, which you will be required to attend with two (2) witnesses who have known you for one (1) year or more. The judge will call upon you and your two (2) witnesses, and as long as there is no objection from the public or suspicion of fraudulent intent, the judge will approve your request by signing your Order Granting Name Change. After the court order is signed, obtain at least two (2) certified copies of it to use as your proof of name change.

Driver’s License

Once an individual has changed their name, they must update their driver’s license within thirty (30) days of the change legally coming into effect. To accomplish this, the person will need to go to a driver’s license office and apply for a duplicate or renewal of license. In addition to paying a required fee (see image below), the subject must supply their current driver’s license and proof of name change (court order, marriage license, or divorce decree). A new driver’s license will be sent by mail or issued on the spot.

Voter Registration

A resident with a new name will have to update their voter registration before they will be considered eligible to vote. Updating a person’s name on their voter registration can either be accomplished online, in person, or by mail. To change your voter information online, go to the Minnesota voter registration webpage and indicate that you have changed your name on the second page of the online registration process. Alternatively, fill out the Minnesota Voter Registration Form with your name change indicated in the “Registration Updates” section. Once completed, this form can either be filed at your local election office (with a photo ID that displays your new name) or send it by mail to the Secretary of State at the address provided below.

Secretary of State
60 Empire Drive
Suite 100
St. Paul, MN 55103

Minor (Child) Name Change

In order for a minor to have their name changed in Minnesota, their legal parent, guardian, or next-of-kin must file an Application for Name Change on their behalf. A minor is defined as anyone who is under the age of eighteen (18). The adult filing the application (the petitioner) must do so in the county in which the minor resides. Furthermore, both parties must also have been Minnesota residents for a minimum of six (6) months. At the court hearing for the minor’s name change, two (2) adults witnesses who have known the child for a minimum of one (1) year must be present. If both parents are at the hearing, only (1) additional witness is required.

Step 1 – Fill-in the Application for Name Change of a Minor

First, the petitioner must completely fill out the Application for Name Change of a Minor (Form NAM202), providing the name and personal information of themselves, the minor, and the other parent/legal guardians. The name that the minor will be adopting must be clearly indicated exactly as intended. If their child is at least fourteen (14) years of age, the minor must also sign this document in order to give their written consent.

Step 2 – Fill-in the Criminal History Check Release Form

A minor who is ten (10) years of age or older as of the application date may be required to have a criminal background check performed on them before having their name change hearing. If this is the case, the petitioner must fill out the Criminal History Check Release for Name Change of a Minor (Form NAM203). If the minor is at least fourteen (14) years old, they must sign the form as well.

Step 3 – Fill-in the Order Granting Name Change of a Minor

Next, the petitioner will need to fill out the Order Granting Name Change of a Minor  (Form NAM208) up until where it says “IT IS ORDERED.” This form will be signed by the judge upon approval of the name change request and be used as the proof of name change when updating the minor’s identification.

Step 4 – Provide Description of Property

If the petitioner, the other parent/legal guardian, or the minor have any real property in their name, a description of each property and it’s owner’s interest therein must be provided. The County Recorder or Registrar of Titles associated with each property will be able to provide this information on request.

Step 5 – Gather Documents

Before filing the name change application, the petitioner must have all of the following documents prepared and put together as a package:

  • Application for Name Change of a Minor
  • Criminal History Check Release Form for Name Change of a Minor
  • Order Granting Name Change of a Minor
  • Proof of relationship to minor (birth certificate/court order)
  • Document(s) describing property
  • Petitioner’s state-issued photo ID

Step 6 – File Application With District Court

Next, the petitioner will bring the application package to their District Court and file it with the Court Administrator’s office. At this juncture, the petitioner can request their court hearing date, as well as certified copies of their documents.

Step 7 – Pay the Filing Fee

When filing their application, the petitioner must pay a filing fee by certified cheque, money order, or cash. Additional fees will be included if they request any certified copies of their submitted documents. The petitioner can apply to have these fees waived by filling out and filing the appropriate In Forma Pauperis (IFP) forms. These forms must be signed at the Court Administrator’s office for the purpose of notarization.

Step 8 – Notify Other Parent(s)/Parties of Interest

The consent of both parents is required in order for an Application for Name Change of a Minor to be accepted. If any of the child’s parents or legal guardians are not able to immediately provide their consent, they must be given formal notice of the name change and proof of their notification must be supplied to the court by the petitioner. If a non-applicant parent meets all of the following criteria, the petitioner is not required to notify them:

  • They have not provided sufficient child support
  • They have never been married to the petitioner
  • They do not live with the minor or the petitioner
  • They are not a legal parent or guardian
  • They have not filed for paternity

Depending on the petitioner’s county, they will either be asked to give notice to the other parent by sending a certified letter or an Affidavit of Personal Service (Form NAM205). Therefore, the petitioner must verify the type of proof that is required in advance. If a parent’s address is unknown, the petitioner will need to file a signed Affidavit in Support of Order for Publication (Form NAM207) with the court, at which point they will either be asked to perform an alternate personal service or to publicly publish the court hearing date. When giving notice, the petitioner should indicate the exact court hearing time, date, and place, as well as explain the purpose of the hearing. Whatever proof of notice that the petitioner obtains must be filed with the Court Administrator’s office or brought to the court hearing.

Step 9 – Complete Criminal History Check

In the event that a criminal history check is required, the implicated parties will need to complete a fingerprinting card. This card may be obtained and completed at the Criminal Background Check Program office, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, or a local law enforcement agency. Each completed fingerprinting card must be sent, along with a completed Criminal History Check Release Form for Name Change of a Minor, to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (see address below).

Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
1430 Maryland Ave E
St. Paul, MN  55106

Step 10 – Attend Hearing

At the date of the hearing, the petitioner (parent/legal guardian), the minor, and the two (2) adult witnesses must be in attendance. Both witnesses may be relatives and must have known the minor for at least one (1) year. The petitioner must bring their proof of parenthood (birth certificate) or legal guardianship (court order), as well as any proof of notification regarding the minor’s other parents (if applicable). If the name change is granted, the judge will sign the Order Granting Name Change of a Minor. At this juncture, the legal name change of the minor will be complete. At least two (2) copies of the court order should be obtained in order to be used as proof of name change.