Name change is a legal act recognized by all law systems. It allows an individual to adopt a name different than their name at birth, marriage, or adoption.
The procedure of a name change depends on the jurisdiction in general; common law jurisdictions have rather loose limitations on name changes while civil law jurisdictions are quite restrictive.
Legal name changes apply for adults, minors and families, the need for a legal name change may result from marriage, divorce, adoption or simply a desire to have another name.
There may be a number of reasons why people would want to change their names besides the obvious reasons of marriage and adoption, which generally include a legal name change.
People may change their name to disassociate from something negative or infamous, or may simply wish to give themselves a name that is more useable. Whatever the reason, obtaining a legal name change varies depending on where you live, but is fairly easy to accomplish.
According to Christine Murerwa the State Attorney at the Ministry of Justice, “anybody who is not satisfied or happy with their names and has justified reasons for that, has the right to change his/her names.”
“What is required is a motivation letter addressed to the Minister of Justice/Attorney General, and personal documentation as well as a Birth Certificate,” Murerwe said.
She added that they assist people with name change but not so many come to change their names.
Murerwa explained that changing ones name takes a period of six months according to the Rwandan law.
“If a person wishes to legally change his or her name they must indicate a genuine reason why they want to change their names in the letter of motivation which they address to the Minister of Justice/Attorney General,” she said.
After a name is changed other records may need to be changed; these include their Social Security Card, Drivers License, Passport, Voter Registration, Banks, Credit Cards, Insurance Companies among others.
Technically your name is officially changed from the moment you complete all the procedures and accepted legally.