Instructions: Changing Your Name in Illinois

Instructions: Changing Your Name in Illinois

Last updated: July 2013

Following are step-by-step instructions to help you with your legal problem. You should print these steps and take them with you to use as a checklist.

Get Your Court Costs Waived

There will be fees to file your court forms and to publish notice. Check with the Circuit Clerk for your County to find out what those fees are.

If you cannot afford to pay, you can ask the court to "waive" these fees, so that you can file your forms without paying.

Go to the "Related Articles" section of this guide to learn how to waive your court costs.

Get Your Newspaper Publication Fee Waived

If you got your court costs waived, then you can also ask the court to waive your publication fee. You will need to complete:

  • A Motion to Waive Publication Costs
  • An Order Waiving Publication Costs

File them with the Circuit Clerk. The Circuit Clerk will give them to a judge for approval.

You will have to wait a few days to see if your Motion is approved. If it is approved, the Order Waiving Publication Costs will be returned to you with the Judge's signature. If it is not approved, you will have to pay the publication fee.

Fill Out Your Petition for Change of Name and Notice of Filing

Fill out the following forms (all four forms are included in the automated document or A2J interview listed in the "Forms/Letters" section of this guide):

  • Notice of Filing of Petition for Change of Name
  • Petition for Change of Name
  • Affidavit
  • Order for Change of Name

You must have the Affidavit signed by a witness, in front of a Notary Public. The witness can be anyone who knows you, and who can swear that everything stated in your Petition is true. Then the Notary Public will sign the Affidavit, to confirm that the witness signed it.

Make three copies of each form once you have filled them out.

Go to the Circuit Clerk's Office in your County

Tell the Circuit Clerk that you are filing a Petition for Change of Name and need to get a hearing date. The date the Clerk gives you should be written onto the original and each copy of the Notice of Filing of Petition for Change of Name form.

NOTE: Whatever date the Clerk gives you must be at least eight weeks before your hearing date. This time period will give the newspaper time to publish your notice. The law says that the first date of newspaper publication must be at least six weeks before your hearing date. Because it can take a newspaper a few weeks to get and publish your Notice, it is best to get a hearing date that is at least eight weeks after the date you mail your Notice of Filing of Petition for Change of Name and letter to the newspaper. This gives the newspaper two weeks to start publishing the Notice.

The Clerk will ask you for the following completed forms:

  • The Notice of Filing of Petition for Change of Name and three copies;
  • The Petition for Change of Name and three copies;
  • Your signed Order to Sue or Defend as a Poor Person, if you got your court costs waived.

The Clerk will keep one copy each of the Notice and the Petition "file stamp" the other copies for you.

Send in the Notice of Filing to the Newspaper

The Notice of Filing of Petition for Change of Name is what you will publish in the newspaper. It must run in a weekly newspaper which is published in the county where you filed. If there is no weekly newspaper in your county, you can use a newspaper in a county that is next to yours, if the newspaper's circulation covers your county. Once you pick a newspaper to publish in, you must mail them:

  • A letter addressed to the newspaper, requesting that it publish notice of your name change (a letter is included in the automated document or A2J interview listed in the "Forms/Letters" section of this guide);
  • A file stamped copy of the Notice of Filing of Petition for Change of Name;
  • If you got your publication costs waived, copy of your signed Order Waiving Publication Costs;
  • If you did not get your publication costs waived, call the newspaper and ask how much it will cost to run your Notice once a week for three consecutive weeks. Send them a check or money order in this amount and include a stamped, self-addressed envelope for them to mail a copy of the notice to you.
File the Certificate of Publication

After your Notice has run in the newspaper for three straight weeks, the newspaper should send you (or the Circuit Clerk) the Certificate of Publication. The Certificate says that the Notice ran for three consecutive weeks and includes a copy of the Notice that appeared.

  • If you did not have to pay for the publication, the newspaper may send the Certificate of Publication directly to the Circuit Clerk to be filed with your case. Go to the Circuit Clerk and ask to see your case file to see if the Certificate of Publication has been filed;
  • If you did pay the publication fee, you must get the Certificate from the newspaper and file it with the Circuit Clerk yourself;
  • As always, make sure to keep a file-stamped copy for yourself;
  • You must have this Certificate to show the judge that the newspaper published your Notice.
Prepare Your Order for Change of Name

Fill out the Order for Change of Name (this form is included in the automated document or A2J interview listed in the "Forms/Letters" section of this guide). Make three copies.

Go to the Hearing

There is no way to know exactly what will happen at your hearing. But here are some things you should do:

  • Bring copies of the Order for Change of Name and of all the documents you filed with the Circuit Clerk and any other papers relating to your Petition;
  • Get to court at least 30 minutes before your hearing (Whatever you do, don’t be late!);
  • Go the courtroom that your case was assigned to;
  • Check in with the clerk sitting next to the Judge;
  • Wait for your case number and name to be called;
  • When your case is called, approach the bench. Remember to always refer to the Judge as "your honor;"
  • The Judge may ask you questions about your case;
  • To testify, you will need to call yourself as a witness. At this time, the Judge will put you under oath and you will present your testimony.

When you testify, your testimony should include:

  • Your current full name: first, middle, and last;
  • Your current address, including city and state;
  • The state or county where you were born;
  • How long you have lived in Illinois;
  • The full name (first, middle, and last) that you would like the court to give you.

If the Judge grants your Petition, give him or her your Order for Change of Name form to be signed. If the Judge wants corrections made, don’t panic. You can ask for permission to submit a corrected version by mail.

File Your Order and Get Certified Copies
  • After the Judge has signed the Order for Change of Name, you must file it with the Clerk;
  • You should also get three certified copies of your Order so you can send them to different agencies (listed below) to change your name on their records;
  • Certified copies are typically obtained from the Circuit Clerk's office for a small fee.
Change the Name on Your Birth Certificate

If you were born in the state of Illinois you will need:

  • A certified copy of the Order;
  • A money order for $15.00, payable to Vital Records, Springfield;
  • A note stating your date and place of birth.

Mail these three things to the address below:

Bureau of Vital Records

State of Illinois - Dept. of Health

605 West Jefferson

Springfield, IL 62702-5097

If you were born in a state other than Illinois, contact the office that keeps birth records in the state where you were born. Ask a representative in that office how to change the name on your birth certificate.

Change the Name on Your Social Security Card to Your New Name
  • Go to any Social Security office;
  • Bring a certified copy of the Order;
  • Bring a piece of identification, such as your old Social Security card, old ID, or Birth Certificate;
  • Fill out an application and submit it to the Social Security staff;
  • There will not be a fee for this change.
If Your Name Change Petition Is Denied

If your request was denied because of a procedural mistake on your part (for example, you did not do the publication correctly), then you should correct the error and request another hearing.