LEGAL AID: How does one change a child's name?

Wednesday November 06 2019

The child was named after the mother’s parents and now that we are together, we would like to change the name accordingly. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH


Dear Eric,

Kindly advise on the procedure of changing a child's name in their birth certificate. The child was named after the mother’s parents and now that we are together, we would like to change the names accordingly.


Your question gives us an opportunity to discuss change of name for children holistically. Thank you.

When seeking to change a minor’s name, it is important to consider the time of registration of the child’s birth and the child’s age, mainly because there are slight variances in the application process based on these two factors.

First, under the Births and Deaths Registration Act, it is possible to change a child’s name within two years from the date of registration.


A parent or legal guardian only needs to pay the required fee to the Registrar of Births and provide any evidence that he/she may be asked to present for the child’s new name to be registered.

Beyond the two-year mark, one must apply for a name change through the deed poll process.

A deed poll is a standard application provided for in the Registration of Documents (Change of Name) Regulations. These forms vary slightly depending on the person whose name is being changed. In the case of minors, the relevant form is ‘Form 4 A’ which is filled and signed on their behalf by their parent or legal guardian and a witness.

Where the minor is above the age of sixteen, he/she must give their consent in the prescribed form i.e. ‘Form 4’ and it must be witnessed by an Advocate.

When submitting the deed poll, it must be accompanied by the child’s birth certificate and a statutory declaration also in the prescribed form. The person swearing the statutory declaration must be resident in Kenya and must know the child. In most instances he/she is either a relative or a close family friend.

Once this has been completed, the documents are to be presented to the Registrar of Documents where they will be registered and then published in the Kenya Gazette.

It is only after publishing that the name change comes into effect. However, after this, it is necessary to apply for a new birth certificate to reflect the child’s new names.      


Eric Mukoya is the Executive Director, Legal Resources Foundation Trust. Do you have a legal problem you would like addressed by a lawyer? Please email your queries to [email protected]