Schedule a Consultation

What Happens if the Name I Use is Different from the Name on My Birth Certificate?

Updated on
November 1, 2019
Article written by
Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article we answer the question, “what happens if the name I use is different from the name on my birth certificate?”  

Using a Name other Than the one on Your Birth Certificate

This article is a response to the following reader question:

Question: I recently obtained a copy of my birth certificate and my father's name isn't on it. My parents weren't married at the time of my birth. Although I used my father's last name my entire life, the name listed on my birth certificate is my mom's maiden name. My father passed away when I was 11, and I'm now trying to get a passport and my name is different from what is listed on the birth certificate and what I've gone by. I need help getting my birth certificate corrected. Please advise.

Thanks for your question, Your best course of action for the long-term is probably to have your name legally changed and then update your birth certificate.  In order to legally change your name, you must file a Request for Name Change along with a few accompanying documents with the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which you reside.  This process will require you to publish notice in a local newspaper and attend a court hearing. For more on this, check out our article: How to Legally Change Your Name in Illinois.

Once the judge signs an order granting your name change, you can then submit the name change order along with an Affidavit and Certificate of Correction Request to the Illinois Department of Public Health in order to correct your birth certificate.  For more on this, check out our article: How to Correct an Illinois Birth Certificate.

At the end of this process, your birth certificate will match the name that you have been using.  While this is certainly the best long-term solution, the downside is that it takes some time.  The name change hearing will typically be scheduled no sooner than 8 weeks from the date that you file your name change request with the court clerk.

If you are in a hurry to receive your passport, you may be able to do so more quickly by submitting to the U.S. Department of State Passport Services an Affidavit Regarding a Change of Name along with at least 3 early public records showing that the name you have been using from a young age is different from the name on your birth certificate.  These records may include:

  • Your baptismal certificate;
  • Early school records;
  • Hospital records; or
  • Census records.

Your application is more likely to be approved if a blood relative signs off on it as well.  

What Happens if the Name I Use is Different from the Name on My Birth Certificate?
Author

Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

Kevin O’Flaherty is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Chicago-Kent College of Law. He has experience in litigation, estate planning, bankruptcy, real estate, and comprehensive business representation.

What to Expect From a Consultation

The purpose of a free consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. Although most consultations are complimentary, some may carry a charge depending on the type of matter and meeting location.


9 am - 5 pm M - F
After 5 pm by Appt
11 am - 3pm Sat by Appt
11 am - 2 pm Sun by Appt

Open Hours

Mon - Fri

9am - 5pm

By Appointment

Mon - Fri

after 5pm

Saturday

11 am - 3pm

Sunday

11 am - 2 pm


9 am - 5 pm M - F
After 5 pm by Appt
11 am - 3pm Sat by Appt
11 am - 2 pm Sun by Appt

Open Hours

Mon - Fri

9am - 5pm

By Appointment

Mon - Fri

after 5pm

Saturday

11 am - 3pm

Sunday

11 am - 2 pm


9 am - 5 pm M - F
After 5 pm by Appt
11 am - 3pm Sat by Appt
11 am - 2 pm Sun by Appt

O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone, Zoom Call, or in person at any of our office locations in:

Contact us for a Free Consultation

Who We are

We are your community law firm. Our Iowa & Illinois Attorneys are committed to providing exceptional client service in a cost-effective manner in the areas of Family Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Guardianship, Criminal Defense, Corporate & Contract Law, Bankruptcy and Real Estate.
Disclaimer: Our articles and comment responses do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

Please contact us to schedule a consultation specific to your legal situation.