What you need to know:
- A person who seeks to undertake a name change process must fill in a Deed poll for as long as they are beyond their second birthday
- A deed poll is a public declaration by a person binding themselves to an intention
- A completed deed poll should carry your name in its current form, alongside the preferred one.
I kindly request to know the legal steps to add my husband’s name to my national ID. Though we are legally married, my ID and certificates bear my maiden names, save for those acquired after marriage. All I require is to add his name after my father’s name so that all names appear on the ID to avoid confusion. Please advise.
I am thanking you in advance.
Stories of people are told and learnt differently. Yours is the transition from singlehood into marriage and the attendant new identity that emerges after that. The narrative in your question is how the law offers women platforms of identity, manifesting as daughters, spinsters, wives, or widows.
You have emphasised the legality of your marriage. Maybe this is signified by a valid marriage certificate or cultural story where the bride and bridegroom’s family have exchanged, shared and finalised all ceremonies whose totality defines marriage. In any case, all customary marriages are now registrable by law. It is everyone’s right to have an identity, which basically begins with a unique name assigned to them, maybe at birth. The law anticipates a change of name and in its construction provides avenues to allow addition, removal, or replacement. Therefore, the liberty to undertake name change is universal, irrespective of the motivating circumstances for such change.
From your explanation, you hold the first registration in the form of the National ID card. As an already registered person, Section 9 of the Registration of Persons Rules provides a person who seeks to change their name owing changed marital status to complete (fill-in) a form known as Application for Change of Particulars, in your case for new ID Card. This form, which is presented to the Principal Registrar of Persons, must be supported with a valid marriage certificate and its copy or a document, especially an affidavit, to ascertain existence of the marriage, certified copies of the spouses’ national identity cards and an affidavit declaring the desire to adopt husband’s name. At this time, you will be required to surrender your current national ID card with the Registrar, upon payment of some prescribed registration fee, and permit him or her to take you a passport photograph to the processing and issuance of the new ID.
Fill in a deed poll
On the other hand, you could still add your hubby’s name through the procedure under the Registration of Documents (change of name) Regulations. This directs that a person who seeks to undertake a name change process must fill in a Deed poll for as long as they are beyond their second birthday. As mentioned before in this column, a deed poll is a public declaration by a person binding themselves to an intention. In this context, you are publicly declaring your intention to add your husband’s name onto maiden details. A completed deed poll should carry your name in its current form, alongside the preferred one. Please note the compulsory support documents to accompany the deed poll as an application to the Registrar, which include: an affidavit sworn by someone who has been a resident in Kenya for at least ten years, who knows you and the story of your marriage, a copy of your national ID Card and marriage certificate besides a consent letter from your husband. This deed poll will be registered and gazetted for at least thirty days, to allow for any petition from the public contesting such name add. After the gazettement period, you will be free to use the name as requested and arranged in the deed poll. However, this approach requires that you engage Registrar of Persons to issue new ID.
Discretional powers in law
While adding a name is allowable, certain situations or connotations invite rejection by the Registrar, who wields such discretional powers in law. This is when the proposed name incorporates symbols, numbers and punctuation marks, making it difficult to pronounce; when the said name connotes vulgarity and offence; when it incites or promotes criminality, racial, religious and ethnic intolerance, besides encouraging drug abuse; when its interpretation seems to ridicule people, agencies, and corporations; or when the name mistakenly or seemingly confers academic awards or inherited titles such as Professor, Lord, Baroness, Doctor and Princess amongst others.
The Kenyan government has made some of these services available at the various Huduma centres. This could be your first visit as you embark on your journey to becoming Mrs. Good luck .
Mr Mukoya is a lawyer with over 17 years’ experience. He’s the Executive Director, Legal Resources Foundation. Legal query? E-mail [email protected]