Did you or are you planning to change your name in California? Whatever your reason behind this move, you’ll likely need a name change apostille afterward. This is crucial if you’re planning to go back to your home country and need to establish your new identity.
In this post, we discussed how to change your name in California and how to get an apostille to accompany the decree.
How to change your last name in California
Name changes are performed for various reasons. It’s often done after marriage, a divorce, a government mistake, shortening/changing the last name, or for protection purposes.
The Judicial Branch of California allows individuals to change their legal name by filing a petition with the court.
After your official filing, you may receive a court date or hearing where the judge will make a decision. In some cases, the judge will decide without requiring a hearing.
Here are the steps to have your name legally changed in California:
- Step 1. File a petition to the court
- Step 2. Publish your request in a newspaper for a month
- Step 3. Attend the hearing if required
- Step 4. Get your name change decree
The entire process of changing a name in California takes up to 3 months. This period can be longer, depending on the petitioner’s circumstances and the court’s discretion.
When changing a child’s name, the other parent may be given a copy of your petition under certain conditions defined by the court.
How much is a name change in California
Filing a name change petition in CA costs $435 to $450. If you can’t afford this fee, you can ask the court for a fee waiver. You may qualify for a fee waiver if you meet any of these criteria:
- Your household income before taxes is below the set amount (check item 5b).
- You receive public benefits like Medi-Cal, Cal-Works, Cal Fresh, General Assistance, CAPI, WIC, etc.
- You don’t have the means to meet your family’s basic needs. For this, you need to provide the court information about your income and expenses to qualify.
Take note that name change fees vary per state. Still, almost every state provides waivers with specific qualifications.
What's a name change apostille?
Once you get your name change decree, the next step is to secure an apostille.
A name change apostille is a certification that authenticates your decree given by any US court. This way, your name change will be recognized by a foreign country.
Take note that there are two kinds of apostille that you may need for your name change decree: state and federal apostille.
- State apostille. You should get this if you’re presenting the name change decree to a county that signed the Hague Apostille Convention.
- Federal apostille. This is what you need if you’re presenting the name change decree to a country that did NOT sign the Hague Apostille Convention. Usually, you may need a local state certification first before you can be endorsed for a federal apostille.
Whether it’s a Los Angeles County court name change or a decree from another state, you will need an apostille just the same.
Also, only state-accredited services are allowed to issue apostilles. Always ask for proof of accreditation before entrusting your document to an apostille entity.
When do you need a name change apostille?
A name change apostille isn’t a requirement in California once you receive your decree. Other states won’t require it either, and your decree will hold the same weight in any U.S. court.
However, if you’re planning to travel, study, work, conduct business, or live in a foreign country, you’ll be asked to present a valid name change apostille. This is to legally certify that your new name and old name are of the same person.
It’s your responsibility to secure this document upon the request of the foreign country. Otherwise, they will not recognize your name change, and you will deal with other legal matters.
Overall, it’s advisable to request an apostille as early as possible. This way, you’ll have enough time to comply with the requirements set by the other government requesting the legalization.
How to obtain a name change apostille in California
If you need an apostille for your name change in Los Angeles County, CA, or any US state, you can contact Rush In Documentation.
We are state-accredited to provide apostille services to all U.S. states, including Washington, DC. We apostille almost every legal document, including name change decrees, marriage licenses, and divorce decrees.
If you’re in a rush, we offer same-day services for both federal and state apostille authentication. You can pick up your legalized decree in our office, through priority mail, standard courier service, or expedited FedEx services.
Contact us, and we will accomplish your petition for a name change apostille faster than any provider in California!