While a lot of women are choosing to retain their maiden name after marriage, many are still going the traditional way and changing it after marriage. Whether you do it or not remains completely your choice. And irrespective of what anyone says, it’s absolutely legal to keep your birth surname after getting married in India. But as it goes with everything, government processes are slow and time-consuming and the name change process can be a little tiring. Therefore, we have listed this comprehensive guide with every minute detail you would need to know while changing your surname after marriage in India.
#1 Obtain a marriage certificate
The first step in the process is to obtain a marriage certificate. This starts with filling out the application which can be downloaded online. Just search for marriage registration form ‘(your city)’ and it will take to the local website with all the information. You need to submit the form along with the required documents which are generally as follows:
- Aadhaar Card
- PAN card
- Voter ID, Passport or Driving License
- Age proof which is your 10th or 12th marksheet
- Affidavit that states place and date of marriage, DOB, nationality and marital status at the time of marriage
- Passport size photograph of both bride and groom
- Your marriage picture (preferably the one with garlands)
- Marriage Invitation card
- Witnesses (2 or 3, depends on the region you belong to!)
You need to visit your sub-registrar office with all these documents and the filled out application forms (and 2-3 copies of it). All your documents will be verified and you have to pay a small amount of registration fees. You will be handed over a receipt. After all is done, you will either get a call from the office after the marriage certificate is ready. In some states, you can download it online. This generally takes around 15 days.
#2 Name Change Application
Once you receive your marriage certificate, you can apply for the name change. This is a much lengthier process than the previous one. There are two ways to do it. The first is to apply for name change at the local State Government office. This is how any name changes are done. They will then announce it in the local newspapers and the official gazette of the state government.
Another way is to obtain a joint notarized affidavit from a public notary in your area. The affidavit will include information like your maiden name, changed surname and all the other details. The public notary will guide you properly on this, so you don’t have to worry. Once this is done, you have to produce an ad in 2 newspapers – one in local language and other English. This is easy because newspapers have a column assigned to these ads specifically. The ad will have the following information – current name, new name, reason etc. Next, you have to visit your local government press to get the name change published in a local gazette.
Keep the copies of all the publications as you will need them while getting your name changed on all the other documents.
This is of utmost importance. You should get the surname changed in all the documents and bank accounts asap. Any mismatch can cause problems at the time when it’s least expected. Keep in mind to change the surname in all the documents or don’t do it at all!
P.S.- While it may seem that the latter way of name changing is less cumbersome than the second one. That is so not the case. In fact, most people prefer the second way because most of it is in your hands and you can manage the pace yourself.
Updating all the other documents:
Applying for a name change in a PAN card is almost the same as applying for a new PAN card. This can be done online with submission of various scans like marriage certificate, xerox of old PAN, marriage invite etc.). Your new PAN card will get posted to you in the next 2-3 weeks. Make sure you change your income tax documents after that.
For this you will have to visit an Aadhaar enrollment center to get this one. You will have to carry the publications of your name change, marriage certificate and other requested documents to the center. This is generally done by the same day or within 3 to 3 working days.
Banking & all other documents:
Once the name change on Aadhaar and PAN card is done, it’s super easy to get your name changed on any other official documents from your bank accounts to driving license.
You will have to apply for a passport re-issue and have to give the following documents: 2 newspaper publication cut-outs, marriage certificate and 2 government ID’s with name changes. You will receive an appointment date around a month after the submission and your new passport will be issued on the same day.
Will I experience any problems if I don’t change my surname after marriage?
Absolutely not! Regardless of the concerns society will raise like it will be difficult to obtain a joint bank account or home or perhaps it will create problems for your children’s’ future – that’s not the case. You can easily hold on to your maiden name and do all these things.
Occasionally, some government officials might give you a hard time, well, just tell them to give their issue in writing or mention someone you know is a lawyer – and they will back out immediately. India is a democracy and everyone has the right to choose their own name.
We hope that this step to step process made your name changing process easier. You can also talk to some of your friends or relatives who have done this recently, there is nothing like the guidance of first-hand experience.
Do you have any other questions? Or think we have missed out on something that should be included? Let us know in the comments below!