Change of name in Kenya

How to Change your Name

A person’s name is fundamental to who they are, but we have little choice over the name we get when we are born. However, if you do not like your name or want one that represents who you are, if a life event has occurred such marriage, divorce, or death you may want to change your name. Whatever the reason, your name is an integral part of your identity and you have the freedom, in law, to change this. In Kenya, the Registration of Persons Act and the Registration of Documents (Change of Name) Regulations govern how one can change their name in Kenya. It is a straightforward process, with some guidance.

When do you acquire a name?

You are given a name when you are born and this is because it is important that you have a name, in addition to your nationality from birth. This is a constitutional right conferred on a child born in Kenya. However, a little known fact is that under the Births and Deaths Registration Act a parent has 6 months to submit details to the registry of the child’s name – a lot can change in that time! After registration of a child’s name a parent or guardian may change the name of the child by applying to the registry within 2 years of birth. After the 2-year period a parent or guardian can only change the child’s name through a document called a Deed Poll.

Article by:
Kananu Mutea
Partner
kmutea@gvalawfirm.com

Winnie Aluoch
Associate
waluoch@gvalawfirm.com

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