» » Virginia Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in VA

Virginia Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in VA

Virginia name change forms are provided by the State’s circuit courts for individuals who would like to legally change their name. These forms are used by Virginia citizens who intend to change their name for political, religious, or other personal reasons. Those intent on taking their spouse’s name after marriage or reverting to their maiden name after a divorce, are not required to complete the process through their county’s circuit court, thus rendering the forms superfluous to their situation. There is a different set of forms for cases where a minor name change is being petitioned (persons under eighteen years of age). A minor name change can only be petitioned by one of the minor’s parents. In the case where both parents are deceased, a petition may be filed by the person who is legally entitled to speak on the minor’s behalf. A person, adult or minor, is prohibited from changing their name in the State of Virginia unless they have resided in their current county for at least the past six (6) months.

Laws§ 8.01-217

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

Fortunately, changing your name when you get married does not involve any extraneous application process or name change forms. If you wish to take your spouse’s name after you get married, you must list both your maiden name (or current name) and intended name on the marriage application. This does not finalize the name change, but it does set the process in motion. After the wedding, the marriage license will contain your new name/signature and it will act as proof of your name change. You will be asked to present this marriage license when updating your name change with various agencies and institutions.

Name Change After Divorce

A name change after a divorce can be accomplished during the divorce proceedings. However, it is important that a name change affidavit gets filed before the final divorce hearing; otherwise, you may have to petition for a name change in circuit court. Attempting to change your name before or after divorce proceedings will create a completely new case, therefore involving more paperwork and ultimately costing more money and time. Furthermore, you are only permitted to revert to your maiden name after a divorce; you cannot choose a brand new name – this would require an adult name change petition. Once your divorce is finalized, the divorce decree should include your desired name change and you can use this document to update the change where applicable.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

An individual petitioning for a name change in Virginia must have lived in their county for at least the past six (6) months. Petitioners who have a felony conviction record, who are registered sex offenders, who are incarcerated or on probation must include this information on their petition; it is for the court to decide whether the name change is in the public’s best interest. Attempting to change one’s name for fraudulent purposes, such as avoiding debt or creditors, is strictly prohibited under Virginia law.

Step 1 – Complete Forms

Only two (2) forms are required for filing an adult name change petition in the State of Virginia; the Application for Change of Name (Adult) and the Cover Sheet for Filing Civil Actions. Download both and complete all the appropriate fields except for the signature field on the Application. You must book a time slot with a notary public to get the Application Form notarized. Usually your personal bank will provide a notary free of charge.

Step 2 – File Forms

Before visiting the courthouse, make copies of all the forms and prepare a self-addressed envelope. Visit your local circuit court (bring your birth certificate with you) and file the forms with the court clerk. They will ask you for the name change filing fee, which varies depending on your county.

Step 3 – Receive Court Order

Often circuit courts in Virginia will grant a name change without requiring the applicant to attend a hearing; this is called “on the paper.” If there are any discrepancies with your application, or someone objects to your proposed name change, the court will contact you and provide a hearing date. Once the court approves the name change, you will receive an Order in the mail signed by a judge. Allow a few weeks, or even a couple months for the Order to arrive.

Driver’s License

If you’ve recently changed your name, one of the first things you’ll want to update is your driver’s license. In order to change your name on your Virginia driver’s license, download and complete the Driver’s License and Identification Card Application. Bring this form to your local DMV office and present your current driver’s license. You will also need to bring two documents to prove your identification, such as a birth certificate or passport, and proof of your name change, i.e., marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order. The DMV have you take a new photo and pay the appropriate fee for your new card ($20 for standard and commercial licenses).

Voter Registration

Another important update after you’ve made a legal name change is your voter registration information. Your voter registration can be updated online or by submitting an Application Form. To complete the process online, follow this link and enter your current voter information. Follow the prompts to complete the name change update. Alternatively, download and complete the Virginia Voter Registration Application Form. Print the form and mail it to your local registrar, or mail it to the following address:

  • Virginia Department of Elections
    1100 Bank Street
    Richmond, VA 23219

Minor (Child) Name Change

All minor name changes in the State of Virginia must be petitioned for by the minor’s biological parents. If the minor’s parents are deceased, the minor’s legal guardian, or “next friend,” has the ability to petition for the minor’s name change. The petitioner must have resided in the county in which the application is being filed for at least six (6) months. As with an adult name change, a minor name change application cannot be made for fraudulent purposes. Furthermore, the court must find that the name change is in the minor’s best interests.

Step 1 – Application Form and Cover Sheet

Download the Application for Change of Name (Minor) and the Virginia Circuit Court Cover Sheet. Complete all appropriate fields on both forms except for the signature field on the Application Form. Bring the Application to a notary public (one can be found at your bank, post office, or UPS store) and sign the document in front of them.

Step 2 – File Forms

Make at least three (3) copies of both forms before visiting your local circuit court. Bring two (2) copies of the forms, a self-addressed stamped envelope, and the minor’s birth certificate. File the forms with the court clerk and pay the appropriate filing fee.

Step 3 – Receive Court Order

It’s possible that you and the minor will not have to appear before a judge in your county’s circuit court. If no hearing date is set, it means the case was determined “on the papers.” In this case, a court order granting the minor’s name change will be mailed to you in the envelope you filed with the application. Otherwise, you will be called with a hearing date and you and the minor must appear before the judge. If the judge determines it is an appropriate name change, they will sign the court order and give it to you in person. In both situations, the name change is only official when you receive a signed copy of the Order for Change of Name (Minor). Use this document to update the minor’s name with the necessary agencies and institutions.


ABOUT SSL CERTIFICATES