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.

Fill Out Your Forms

Fill out the following forms (which you will find in the forms tab of this guide):

  • Request for Name Change: gives the court information needed to decide if you can change your name. A person who knows you must sign the form;
  • Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change: tells the public you are asking the court to change your name and is published in a newspaper for 3 weeks.
  • Order for Name Change: is used by the judge to say you Request for Name Change is granted or denied.

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

Get a Hearing Date

Go to your Circuit Clerk's office. Tell the Circuit Clerk that you are filing a Request for Name Change and need to get a hearing date. The Clerk will give you a hearing date and time. Write them on the Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change. Make sure the hearing date is at least 8 weeks after the date you file the forms at court. Have the Circuit Clerk also stamp the extra copies of your forms.

Publish your Notice of Filing in the Newspaper
  • Contact a newspaper in your county and set up publication of the notice.
  • If there is no newspaper in your county, contact a convenient newspaper published in Illinois.
  • Give a copy of the Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change to a newspaper.
  • The notice must appear in a newspaper for 3 weeks in a row and for the first time at least 6 weeks before your hearing date.
  • Newspapers may charge you a publication fee.

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.
File the Certificate of Publication

After your Notice has run in the newspaper for 3 straight weeks get a Certificate of Publication from the newspaper. Ask the newspaper how they will send the Certificate of Publication. They will typically:

  • Send the Certificate directly to the Circuit Clerk,
  • Mail the Certificate directly to you, OR
  • Tell you to pick up the Certificate in person.

Take the Certificate of Publication to the courthouse and file it with the Circuit Clerk before your court date. If the newspaper sends the Certificate directly to the Circuit Clerk, make sure it arrives before your court date and ask the newspaper to send you a copy.

Go To Your Court Hearing

Get to court at least 45 minutes before your hearing time;

Bring these items to your court hearing:

  • Photo I.D.;
  • Stamped copies of: Request of Name Change, Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change, and Certificate of Publication;
  • Order for Name Change; AND
  • Other papers related to your Request (like papers showing that at least 10 years have passed since completion and discharge of your sentence).

Confirm the court room number and go that room.

Check in quietly with the judge's clerk, court assistant, or court bailiff.

Wait for your name and case number to be called.

You may be placed under oath, answer the judge's questions truthfully.

The judge will either GRANT or DENY your Request. The judge will write this on the Order and sign it.

File Your Order and Get Certified Copies

File the signed Order with the Circuit Clerk.

  • You should also get certified copies of your Order from the Circuit Clerk.
  • You need a certified copy of the order to change your name on records like a Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, and Driver's License.
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 Request 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.