You can formally change your name by a legal document called a Deed Poll. With the Deed Poll you may apply to the ICA for a new NRIC to be issued in your new name.
Under the National Registration Act, an NRIC holder is required to report his change of name within 28 days.
When a new NRIC is issued in your new name, your records with certain government agencies and statutory boards will be updated automatically.
You will have to inform private institutions of your change of name directly. You have to do this in person as they may require you to produce the original Deed Poll and your new NRIC.
Why is it Called a Deed Poll
A Deed is a legal document in which you affix your seal, traditionally the wax seal imprinted with your insignia which under current practice has been replaced by the simple red sticker.
“Poll” is an archaic term meaning straight. A Deed Poll is a deed with straight edges as opposed to a deed with indentured edges, the Indenture. This is a throwback to archaic practice when copies of identical documents were produced by writing the copies on a single sheet of paper and the separating the copies by tearing. Matching the torn edges safeguards against forgery.
So technically a Deed Poll can be used for other purposes since it is a generic description. But now it is commonly used mostly for change of name.
How Long Does it Take to Prepare the Deed Poll
This is a simple process which take about 5- 10 minutes. It is a document in a standard format that can be prepared on the spot.
Changing Name for Adults
You only need to bring your NRIC for us to prepare your Deed Poll. If you wish to include Arabic, Chinese or Tamil characters in your name, you may write it in the Deed Poll manually. Alternatively you may type out the characters on our computer or email to us the text you prepared on your own computer. You may wish to prepare the text with these online tools for Arabic, Chinese and Tamil.
Your birth certificate cannot be changed by the Deed Poll. So make a copy of your original NRIC before you make a new one and keep the Deed Poll in your record. This helps in tracing the change of name to your original name in your birth certificate. This will avoid any complication should you be required to prove your identity in the future especially if you have made several Deed Polls and have records or documents made under different names.
Changing Name for Children
Both parents are required to sign the Deed Poll for their children who are under 21 years old.
If you are a divorcee, you are not allowed to change your child’s name without the other parent’s consent even if you have sole custody of the child.
The Deed Poll must be produced with the birth certificate when the child applies for his NRIC when he is 15.
You may update the child’s schools records with the Deed Poll before issuance of his NRIC. Keep the Deed Poll in your record as the child’s name in his birth certificate cannot be changed with the Deed Poll.
Safekeeping Your Deed Poll
We will keep a scanned copy of your Deed Poll in PDF format which we can email to you a certified true copy of it in the event that you misplace your Deed Poll.
You may have to do a Statutory Declaration annexing a copy of the Deed Poll if the same is required by any authority you are dealing with.
It is best practice for you to make your own PDF copies and keep it in different storage devices. If you do not have a scanner, we can email to you our PDF copy so you can start keeping and making your own copies.