Name Change

Illinois Law

It is not uncommon for many people to want to change their names during their lives. An infinite number of reasons can trigger such a desire, ranging from bearing a name that is consistently misspelled or mispronounced, to not liking the name given to you by your parents, or as part of a gender transition.
If you want to change your name legally in Illinois, you must

  • have lived in Illinois for at least 6 months,
  • not be trying to defraud others,
  • not be trying to avoid legal process, and if your criminal history allows.

Common Law Name Changes Invalid

Since July 1, 2010, common law name changes have been invalid in Illinois, meaning if you wish to change your name legally, you must file a petition with a Court or do so through marriage or dissolution of marriage (divorce).

Name Change Prohibitions

If you have a felony conviction, you must wait 10 years from the completion of the sentence to file a petition. You are NOT allowed to change your name in Illinois if you have any of the following convictions:

  • Identity theft or Aggravated identity theft;
  • Criminal sexual abuse (if victim under 18);
  • Sexual exploitation of a child;
  • Indecent solicitation of a child;
  • Indecent solicitation of an adult;
  • Offenses requiring sex offender registration.


You must publish your intent to change your name in a newspaper of general circulation, The notice must be published for 3 consecutive weeks after filing the petition, and the first notice must be at least 6 weeks before the petition hearing date.
For Cost of publication in Champaign County contact the News-Gazette for current prices (351-5252). Currently it is $70.00. Currently, the court filling fee is $306.00. This can be confirmed by the Circuit Clerk at 384-3725. The e-filing service fee is $8.84, making the total $314.84

Publication Waiver

Publication is not required after a dissolution of marriage if you wish to resume your former name. The court may waive the publication requirement if the person believes that publication would put them at risk of physical harm or discrimination. Evidence must be provided to support the claim.
The court may also waive the publication requirement if the person is protected by an Order of Protection, Stalking/No Contact Order, Civil No Contact Order, or a No Contact order as a condition of bail.

Changing Other Documents

Illinois Birth Certificate

To change your birth certificate, you will need:

  • Original Affidavit and Certificate of Correction Request;
  • Certified copy of the Order for Name Change,
  • A money order for $15.00; and
  • A copy of a non-expired, government issued photo ID.
*The process may be different in other States. Contact the office that keeps birth records in the state for guidance.

Illinois Driver’s License/State ID

  • A name change requires an application for a corrected driver license/state ID.
  • You must visit a Secretary of State facility
  • Bring a certified copy of your Name Change Court Order and
  • Current Driver’s License with former name

Social Security Card

  • Go to a Social Security office;
  • Bring a certified copy of the Name Change Order;
  • Bring your old social security card; and
  • Fill out an application;
  • No fee to change your name.

U.S. Passport ports/


Q: Can I change my name to anything I want?
A: The law does not specifically prohibit adoption of any particular names; An attempt to change your name to an obscenity, a business designation or something similar could present potential problems.
Q: Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to change my name? A: No. Anyone having resided in Illinois for at least 6 months may seek a change of name.
Q: Can I select a name that does not conform with my sex assigned at birth?
A: The law does not bar such name changes. However, a legal reason for this type of name change, e.g. gender transition, may be required before granting the Petition.
Q: Do I need my parents’ permission to change my name? A: If you are 18 years old or older, you do not need anyone’s permission to change your name. A name change can be very sensitive issue and discussing your wish to adopt a new name may prevent hurt feelings and family strife.
Q: Can I change my name as a result of a dissolution of marriage? A: Yes, the name can be restored to the former last name. This method is done as part of the dissolution, not a separate action.

Contact Information

Champaign County Circuit Clerk

  • 217-384-3725

U.S. Passport
  • 877-487-2778

Post Office
  • 217-337-6297

Circuit Clerk
  • 217-384-3725

Illinois Secretary of State
  • 217-278-3344

Social Security Administration
  • 800-772-1213

UIUC Office of the Registrar
  • 217-333-6565

Lambda Legal (Midwest Regional Office)
65 E. Wacker Place, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60601-7245