Choosing to change your surname after marriage is a personal choice every person must make for themselves. When making this decision, remember that it is not as easy as 1, 2, 3, but can be a long and rather tedious process.
If you do decide to change your surname, you will legally be required to update all the necessary paperwork to reflect your new name.
Legally, any woman wanting to take their spouse’s surname, revert to their maiden name or prior name, or join two surnames into a double-barrelled name may do so. However, because current South African law focuses on women changing their surnames, the process for men who decide to take their partner’s surname is much harder, and requires special authorisation from The Department of Home Affairs.
The first step in legally changing your surname is applying for a new identity document. You can easily apply to have your ID re-issued if you are married and want to assume the surname of your spouse. You can apply for a replacement by:
– Completing Form BI-9 as well if you have not previously submitted your fingerprints
– Attaching additional documents as required (e.g. a marriage certificate if you are married)
– Paying the required fee for the re-issue
It is not essential to change your driver’s licence and passport to reflect your new surname until they expire, but in this case, you will be required to carry a certified copy of your marriage certificate in case anything happens.
Remember to also inform SARS of your surname change to update your tax details. In line with this, inform your employer of your new surname change so that they may update your pension and insurance companies.
Another crucial step is to notify your chosen bank to ensure you can still use all of your bank cards. You will need a copy of your ID and a copy of your marriage certificate for this.