Who may apply?
To apply for a name change, each applicant must:
- have lived in the State of Minnesota for six months;
- file the Application for Name Change in the county in which you presently live;
- be at least 18 years of age (a parent, legal guardian or next of kin may file on behalf of a minor); and
- pay the civil filing fee or proceed in forma pauperis.
What happens after I file the application?
- Upon filing, the Court Administrator's office will provide you with a hearing date and time.
- All minors seeking to have their name changed must be present at the court hearing.
- Two witnesses that know you must appear with you in court and testify as to your identity.
- If your application is approved at the time of the hearing, the judge will sign the Order Granting Name Change.
- After the Order is signed, you can obtain certified copies of the Order from the Court Administrator's office for a fee of $10 each. Certified copies of this order will be needed to change your personal records (see the document entitled Notice to Persons Who Have Had Their Name Changed for more information).
How Can I Amend My Birth Certificate?
If the information on a birth certificate is wrong because a mistake was made when the birth certificate was created, DO NOT file an Application for Name Change to have the birth record changed. Mistakes can be corrected through your local County Vital Statistics office or the Minnesota Department of Health. Procedures to amend the birth record can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health web site at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/osr/amend.html or by calling the Minnesota Department of Health at 612-676-5120. Please refer to Minnesota State Agency Rules 4601.1000 and 4601.1100 for further information.
Will the Court Conduct a Criminal History Check?
Minn. Stat. § 259.11 requires the Court to determine whether any person seeking to have their name changed has a criminal history in Minnesota or any other state. The court may conduct a search of national records through the Federal Bureau of Investigation by submitting a set of fingerprints and the required fee to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. To comply, you must complete a Criminal History Check Release form for each party covered by the application. If you are changing the name of a minor who is 14 years of age or older, both the minor and the parent must sign the release form. A criminal history check will be made on all persons listed on the application. If the applicant has a criminal history, both the person whose name is changed and the Court shall report the change within 10 days of receiving a copy of the order by mailing a copy of the order granting the name change to:
Attention: CRIS Section
Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
1430 Maryland Avenue East
St. Paul, MN 55106
Note: Any information placed in name change file will be accessible to the public, unless the court determines that the name change is made in connection with participation in a victim or witness protection program.
What Is Required for Name Changes Involving Minors
Name change request involving a minor (a person under the age of 18 years)
- The applicant is required to show proof that both parents have been notified of the Application for Name Change.
- If the non-applicant parent is not known, bring a certified copy of the birth certificate to court for the hearing to show the judge that the non-custodial parent's name does not appear on the birth certificate
- If the address of the non-applicant parent is known, send a certified letter and a copy of the application to the parent indicating the date, time, place, and purpose of the hearing. You should bring the return receipt card with you to court to provide proof to the judge that the non-applicant parent was sent notice of the name change proceedings.
- If you do not know the address of the non-applicant parent:
- you should bring to court a signed, notarized affidavit indicating your last contact with the non-applicant parent, information indicating that you are unaware of the whereabouts of the non-applicant parent, and what efforts you have made to contact him/her.
You must publish a Notice of Hearing by Publication (Minor Name Change) in a designated newspaper. Before you present the notice to the newspaper, the Court Administrator's office must assign a hearing date. It is the applicant's responsibility to arrange publication and file the Affidavit of Publication with the Court Administrator's office prior to the scheduled hearing date.