How do I change my name?

Source: Tulane University (
Thank you Professor Red Tremmel and the Office for Gender and Sexual Diversity for compiling this information. For the latest updates feel free to contact Professor Tremmel at

Legally Changing Your Name in Orleans Parish (Please be advised that name change petition fees in Orleans Parish are $504, and surrounding parishes the fee is nearly half that amount. Determine if you are eligible to file in Jefferson (where you born another parish?) or other parishes before proceeding.
To legally change your name so that all official records, your driver’s license, and other documents reflect your chosen name, the very first step is to file a petition with the Clerk of Court. In Louisiana, every name change is processed through the parish in which the petitioner resides. In Orleans Parish, the Clerk of Court is located on Loyola Avenue. With the proper identification and money (cash or money order) in hand, you can then go to the Clerk of Court Self-Help Desk at 421 Loyola Avenue (Room 401 on the 4th floor) to fill out a Name Change Petition. You do not need an attorney to complete this process.

Take the following steps:

1. In order to have your name changed in Orleans Parish, you will need to be a resident in the state of Louisiana for at least six months and be 18 years of age or older. You must also intend to continue living in Louisiana.

2. If you meet these requirements, you will go to the Orleans Parish Courthouse at 421 Loyola Avenue, room 401. They are open Mondays and Wednesdays 10am-noon & 1-3pm and on Fridays 10am-noon. For changes in hours call 504-407-0000 and specify that you need the hours for the name change self-help desk.

3. Once at room 401 of the courthouse,
a. You will show your current identification (a primary legal document or two secondary legal documents). See below for a list of what qualifies as primary and secondary documents.
b. You will then pay a petition fee to process your request. As of February 2015, the petition fee is $503.50. They will only accept cash or a money order made out to the Clerk of Court. They will not accept a personal check or credit card. This is non-refundable. To check with the court for any updates on fees, call 504-407-0000.

4. You will then go to room 402, on the same floor, and receive a file and case number. After they conduct a background check (felons are not allowed to change names), they will waive your petition on to the district attorney of Orleans Parish and a judge for review.

5. This is usually the end of your petition process. However, at the time you present your completed name change form to the Clerk of Court ask the clerk if a hearing is necessary for you. Though it is unlikely, a judge can decide to hold a hearing to discuss your reason for a name change. Most judges will grant a name change, based on this paperwork and without a meeting, so long as they are convinced that the petitioner is not trying to evade debts or the police or commit fraud. If a hearing is necessary the clerk will provide you with a date and time that your hearing will take place. This hearing can take place in court or in the judge’s chambers. (In rare cases, judges have required a petitioner to prove that they have undergone medical procedures that show an intention to live permanently in the gender associated with the name desired.) If a hearing with a judge is required and you would like an advocate to go with you, please contact the Office for Gender and Sexual Diversity at 504-314-2183.

6. Now you wait for your paperwork to be processed. Upon approval from the district attorney and a judge, the parish clerk will notify you that your certificate is ready for pick-up. The name change decree is the actual certificate that will allow you to change your name at any private or public institution. The final judgment will be recorded in the records of the parish and your new name will be your true and legal name.

7. When you go back to the same courthouse, 421 Loyola, room 402, to get certified copies of your official name change decree. It is imperative that you purchase certified copies of the final judgment to submit to your credit card companies, university administrators, government offices, etc. to get your name changed on your birth certificate, university documents, driver’s license, credit cards, and other official documents. Each copy costs $3 as of February 2015.

8. Now you will submit a certified copy to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, University Registrar, credit card companies, etc.

A. State of Louisiana Primary Documents Include:
Current state issued driver’s license that displays a photograph which clearly identifies the applicant.
Current state issued picture identification that displays a photograph which clearly identifies the applicant.
Current U.S. military identification card that displays a photograph which clearly identifies the applicant.
Current U.S. issued or foreign issued passport
U.S. Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550, N-570 or N-578)
U.S. Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-578)
Students (high school or younger) – a current school yearbook or a current school identification document with a photograph which clearly identifies the applicant.

B. State of Louisiana Secondary Documents Include:
Current student picture identification card from a college or university when accompanied by a 100% fee paid receipt for the current semester. (COUNTS AS TWO DOCUMENTS)
A W-2 form issued within the last two years plus an original signed Social Security Card. The Social Security numbers must match. (COUNTS AS TWO DOCUMENTS).
Original adoption papers
Official certified deeds or title to property
Certificate of vehicle title
Insurance policy that must show name of the applicant (Health, Home, Life, and Auto).
Payroll stub (cannot be handwritten) showing the name and social security number of the applicant.
Current u.S. military dependent identification card that displays a photograph which clearly identifies the applicant.
Original DD-214 Military Discharge document which clearly identifies the applicant.
Voter’s Registration application (certified true copy)

Changing Your Name on Your Birth Certificate

To change the name on your birth certificate, you will need to work with the Vital Records Department in the state in which you were born. If you were born in Louisiana, you must first follow the steps listed in the previous section to legally change your name. Once your name is legally changed through the Clerk of court, you can then petition to have the name changed on your birth certificate. Then, mail the following to the Vital Records Registry:
1. Certified copy of the Petition for Name Change (Obtained from Clerk of Court)
2. Certified copy of the Judgment from the proper Louisiana district court (Obtained from Clerk of Court)
3. Photocopy of the District Attorney’s signed answer (Obtained from Clerk of Court)
4. Photocopy of your birth certificate
5. Photocopy of your valid driver’s license
6. Check or money order for $27.50 (total cost of the amendment)
Vital Records Registry
Attn: Amendments Department
P.O. Box 60630
New Orleans, LA 70160
Once Vital Records receives the required documents and fees, a case manager will be assigned to review your request. If you have any questions, contact: Robin A. Lewis, Services Manager at the Vital Records Registry: (504) 593-5171.

Name change amendments through does not allow you to process your name change amendment online. When we attempted to use this service we received the following response from VitalCheck:
“Since you had a legal name change through the courts you do not need to go through the VitalChek service to complete your amendment. You will need to contact the amendments office directly and they can complete the amendment with your legal documentation.”

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