1. Fill out forms
You will need to fill out 3 forms to change your name:
- 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;
- Request for Name Change: gives the court information that is needed to decide if you can change your name. A person who knows you must sign the form; and
- Order for Name Change: filled out by the judge to say if your request for a name change is granted or denied.
Fill out the Name change for an adult program and sign the forms. Make 3 extra copies of each form once you have filled them out.
2. File the forms
Now that you have filled out your forms, you need to file them with the clerk. The method you are required to use depends on the county where you are filing.
- E-filing: Some counties require you to file your forms and documents electronically. See E-Filing Basics for more information.
- Paper filing: If you can paper file or have an E-filing Exemption Certificate, take your completed forms to the circuit court clerk's office in the courthouse. See courthouse locations.
There is a fee to file most forms. The cost depends on the type of case you have and the county where you are filing. Contact your local circuit clerk's office for information on the fees.
If you do not have money to pay court fees, use the Application for Waiver of Court Fees program.
3. Get hearing date
When you file your name change forms, you'll need a hearing date.
How you will find out about the court date (or hearing date) and time depends on how you filed your case.
- E-filing: The website you used to electronically file may let you pick your court date (or hearing date) and time. If it does not, contact the clerk.
- Paper filing: If you filed in person at the courthouse, the clerk will let you pick or they may pick for you.
4. Put notice in the newspaper
After filing your court papers and getting a hearing date, contact a newspaper in your county to publish notice of what you have done.
To publish a notice in the newspaper, you will need:
- One copy of your request for a name change, including the court date, time, name of the judge, the courtroom number, and the case number
- Your Order Waiving Publication Costs, if you got your publication fee waived or money to pay for publishing your name change in the newspaper if your fees were not waived.
5. Get a certificate from the newspaper
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 this certificate. They will:
- Send the certificate directly to the circuit clerk;
- Mail the certificate directly to you; or
- Tell you to pick up the certificate in person.
Check with the clerk of your court to find out whether the Certificate of Publication needs to be filed before your court hearing. In Cook County, you will just need to bring it to your hearing (see the next step).
If the newspaper sends the certificate directly to the clerk, make sure it arrives before your hearing, and ask the newspaper to send you a copy.
6. Attend your court hearing
- Photo ID
- Stamped copies of Request for Name Change, Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change, and Certificate of Publication
- Order for Name Change and
- Other papers related to your name change (like papers showing that at least 10 years have passed since completion and discharge of your criminal sentence).
Check-in quietly with the judge's clerk, court assistant, or court bailiff. The clerk or bailiff sit or stand at the front of the courtroom, usually to the side of the judge's seat or bench. 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 for Name Change. The judge will write this on the Order for Name Change and sign it.
If the court approves your name change, file the order signed by the judge with the circuit clerk. You should also get certified copies of your order from the clerk. Certified copies of the order are needed to change your name on your birth certificate, social security card, and driver's license.
7. Follow up if the court approves your name change
Change your name on your birth certificate
You must change your name on your birth certificate if the court approves your name change.
To change an Illinois birth certificate, you will need:
- A certified copy of the Order for Name Change
- A money order for $15.00 to Illinois Department of Public Health and
- Your date of birth and place of birth.
Mail these three things to
Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
925 East Ridgely Avenue
Springfield, IL 62702
If you were not born in Illinois, contact the office that keeps birth records in the state where you were born. Ask a staff person in that office how to change the name on your birth certificate.
Change your name on your social security card
To change your name on your social security card:
- Go to any social security office;
- Bring a certified copy of the Order for Name Change;
- Bring a piece of identification, such as your old social security card, old ID, or birth certificate; and
- Fill out an application and submit it to the social security staff.
There is no fee to change your name on your social security card.
Change your name on a state ID and driver's license
You must notify the Secretary of State's office within 10 days of changing your name. Your state ID and driver's license must be changed to your new name. You must provide identification with your new name and identification that links the old and new names. For example, you may show your Order for Name Change from the court.
8. Ask for another hearing if the court denies your name change request
You have the right to ask for another hearing if your name change request is denied.
If your request was denied because of a mistake on your part (for example, you did not do the notice in the newspaper correctly), then you should correct the error and request another hearing.
Whenever you lose in court, you have the right to ask the court to reconsider its decision or to file an appeal. You will have 30 days from the date of the judge's decision to do this.