Deed Polls: Name Changes in Singapore

 

 

Introduction

A deed poll is a legal document that allows individuals to officially change their name in Singapore. Though submitting a deed poll is mostly straightforward, our experienced team of legal professionals is committed to guiding you through every step of the process, ensuring compliance with Singapore’s legal requirements.

This article serves as a comprehensive guide to deed polls in Singapore, covering general information, legal requirements, the procedure involved in changing one’s name, and potential issues with rejected deed polls.

 

What is a Deed Poll?

In Singapore, a deed poll is a binding legal instrument that enables individuals to change their name. It is a personal declaration that requires no approval from the court or government authorities.

 

Legal Recognition of Deed Polls in Singapore

Deed polls receive full legal recognition in Singapore. When a name change is executed through a deed poll, individuals can update their personal records, including identification documents such as passports, NRIC (National Registration Identity Card), and driver’s licenses.

 

Changes Made Through Deed Polls

  • Adding, deleting, or modifying the punctuation in your name
  • Adding, deleting, or modifying the Chinese or Tamil characters in your name
  • Adding, deleting, or otherwise modifying your Chinese pinyin name
  • Changing the order of the words in your name
  • Adding, deleting, or otherwise modifying your English/Western/Christian name
  • Correcting wrongly-spelled names;
  • Inserting married names; and
  • Inserting Baptism or religious names.

 

Requirements for Changing Name through a Deed Poll:

To change one’s name legally through a deed poll in Singapore, certain requirements must be met:

  • Age: The applicant must be at least 21 years old. For individuals below the age of 21, parental consent is required.
  • Clear Intent: The applicant must have a genuine and clear intention to change their name permanently.

 

Deed Polls For Foreigners:

Foreigners who reside in Singapore and wish to change their names through deed polls can do so by following the established legal procedures. Similar to Singapore citizens and permanent residents, foreigners must meet the necessary requirements and adhere to the prescribed process for name change. This typically involves preparing a deed poll document, executing it in the presence of a witness, and notifying relevant authorities to update their records. Foreigners may need to consult with their respective embassies or consulates in Singapore to ensure that the name change is recognized and reflected in official identification documents issued by their home countries. It is advisable for foreigners to seek legal advice and understand any additional considerations or requirements specific to their nationality or immigration status before proceeding with a deed poll in Singapore.

 

Rejected Deed Polls:

While most deed polls are accepted without issues, there can be instances where a deed poll application is rejected. Some common reasons for rejection include:

  • Impersonation or fraud: If the authorities suspect fraudulent intent or impersonation, the deed poll application may be rejected.
  • Offensive or inappropriate names: Deed polls with names that are offensive, vulgar, or against public policy may be rejected.
  • Deceptive or misleading names: If the new name is deemed deceptive or likely to mislead others, the deed poll application may be rejected.

In the event of a rejected deed poll, individuals can seek legal advice to understand the reasons for rejection and explore alternative options for name change, such as a court application for a name change order.

 

Limitations on Name Changes:

In Singapore, there are no specific limitations on how many times a person can change their name through a deed poll. However, it is important to note that changing one’s name frequently may raise concerns about potential misuse or confusion. Authorities may exercise discretion in considering name change applications and may reject requests if they are deemed frivolous or intended to deceive. It is advisable to approach name changes responsibly and for legitimate reasons to maintain the integrity of the process and minimize any potential complications.

 

Procedure for Changing Name through a Deed Poll:

The process of changing one’s name through a deed poll in Singapore involves the following steps:

  • Preparation: The applicant must choose their new name carefully, ensuring compliance with Singapore’s laws and cultural sensitivities.
  • Drafting the Deed Poll: A legally valid deed poll document must be prepared, including the applicant’s current name, new name, and a declaration of the intention to assume the new name permanently.
  • Witness: The deed poll must be witnessed by a Singapore citizen or permanent resident who is at least 21 years old. The witness should not be a family member.
  • Execution: The applicant signs the deed poll in the presence of the witness.
  • Notification and Updating Records: The applicant should promptly inform relevant authorities, such as the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), and other relevant organizations, to update their records with the new name.
  • Certified Copies: Obtaining certified copies of the deed poll is advisable to serve as evidence of the name change when required.

 

Online Submissions for Deed Polls in Singapore:

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in Singapore provides the convenience of submitting deed polls online for certain name change applications. Here’s an overview of the process:

Eligibility for Online Submission:

The ICA allows online submission of deed polls for specific name change applications. It is advisable to check the ICA website or consult with a legal professional to confirm if your name change situation qualifies for online submission.

Required Documents:

When submitting a deed poll online through the ICA, you will typically be required to provide the following documents:

  1. Deed Poll Document: A digitally scanned or electronically generated copy of the executed deed poll document, including the applicant’s current name, new name, and the declaration of intention to assume the new name permanently.
  2. Supporting Identification Documents: Digital copies of identification documents, such as the applicant’s current passport biodata page, NRIC (National Registration Identity Card), or other official identification documents.
  3. Additional Documents: Depending on the specific circumstances, additional supporting documents may be required. These could include marriage certificates, divorce certificates, or any other relevant legal documents.

Online Application Process:

The online application process for submitting a deed poll through the ICA typically involves the following steps:

  1. Visit the ICA Website: Access the ICA website and navigate to the designated section for name change applications.
  2. Create an Account: If you do not already have one, create an account on the ICA website to initiate the application process.
  3. Provide Personal Details: Fill in the required personal details, including your current name, new name, contact information, and other relevant information as requested in the online application form.
  4. Upload Documents: Upload the digital copies of the deed poll document, supporting identification documents, and any other required documents as specified by the ICA.
  5. Review and Submit: Review all the provided information and uploaded documents to ensure accuracy and completeness. Once verified, submit the application online.
  6. Processing and Notification: After submitting the online application, the ICA will review the deed poll and accompanying documents. The processing time can vary, and it is advisable to check the ICA website or contact their offices for estimated processing durations.

Upon approval, the ICA will update their records with the new name. You may receive a confirmation notification or an updated identification document reflecting the new name.

 

Costs and Timeframe:

The costs associated with changing one’s name through a deed poll in Singapore are relatively minimal, primarily comprising notarial fees for certified copies of the deed poll document. The timeframe for the entire process may vary, but it typically takes several weeks to update all official documents with the new name.

 

Laws Relevant to Deed Polls:

The primary legislation related to deed polls is the Name Change Act, which provides the legal framework for individuals to change their names through a deed poll.

Under the Name Change Act, a person who wishes to change their name must execute a deed poll, which is a legal document stating their intention to adopt a new name and renounce their previous name. The deed poll must be executed before a witness, such as commissioner for oaths or a notary public, to ensure its validity and authenticity.

In recent years, there have been amendments to the laws surrounding deed polls in Singapore. One notable amendment pertains to the age requirement for individuals seeking to change their names. Previously, individuals had to be at least 21 years old to execute a deed poll. However, the age requirement was lowered, allowing individuals under 21 years old to change their names through a deed poll with the consent of their parents or guardians.

Another significant amendment relates to the recognition of gender identity. Singapore introduced amendments to the Women’s Charter in 2019, allowing individuals who have undergone gender reassignment surgery to change their sex on their NRIC.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Deed Polls in Singapore:

  1. Can I change my name through a deed poll if I am married or divorced?

Yes, you can change your name through a deed poll if you are married or divorced. However, additional documentation, such as your marriage certificate or divorce decree, may be required.

  1. Can I change my name through a deed poll if I have outstanding legal obligations?

Changing your name through a deed poll may not absolve you of any outstanding legal obligations. It is advisable to consult with a legal professional to understand the implications in your specific situation.

  1. Is a deed poll recognized internationally?

The recognition of deed polls may vary across countries. It is recommended to check with the relevant authorities or consult a legal professional to understand the recognition and acceptance of a deed poll in specific jurisdictions.

  1. Can I change my child’s name without the consent of the other parent?

Generally, the consent of both parents is required to change a child’s name. However, in certain circumstances, such as when one parent is uncontactable or refuses to provide consent, the Family Court may consider granting an order to change the child’s name.

  1. Can I change my name through a deed poll if I am under 21 years old?

Yes, individuals under 21 years old can change their names through a deed poll with the consent of their parents or guardians. Additional requirements and processes may apply.

  1. Can I change my name through a deed poll if I am a Singaporean living abroad?

Yes, Singaporeans living abroad can change their names through a deed poll. However, they may need to follow specific procedures outlined by the Singapore High Commission or Embassy in their respective country of residence.

  1. Can I change my name through a deed poll if I am in the process of naturalizing as a Singapore citizen?

Changing your name during the naturalization process may affect your application. It is recommended to consult with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) or a legal professional for guidance specific to your situation.

  1. Can I change my name to a non-English name through a deed poll?

Yes, you can change your name to a non-English name through a deed poll. It is essential to ensure proper transliteration or translation of the new name.

  1. Can I change my name through a deed poll if I am bankrupt?

Changing your name while bankrupt may have legal and practical implications. It is advisable to consult with a legal professional to understand the consequences and requirements in your specific case.

  1. Can I change my name through a deed poll if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record does not necessarily prevent you from changing your name through a deed poll. However, it is recommended to consult with a legal professional to understand any potential implications or requirements.

  1. Can I use a deed poll to change the name of a deceased person?

No, a deed poll cannot be used to change the name of a deceased person. The process for changing the name of a deceased person may differ, and it is advisable to consult with relevant authorities or a legal professional for guidance.

  1. How can I get a copy of my deed poll after changing my name?

After changing your name through a deed poll, you should retain multiple copies of the document. It is recommended to engage a lawyer or notary public to obtain certified true copies for official purposes.

 

Glossary for Terms Related to Deed Polls:

Deed Poll: A legal document executed by an individual to officially change their name. It declares their intention to adopt a new name and renounce their previous name.

Name Change Act: The legislation in Singapore that provides the legal framework for individuals to change their names through a deed poll.

Commissioner for Oaths: A person authorized to administer oaths and affirmations. They witness the execution of the deed poll and ensure its validity.

Notary Public: An official appointed by the Singapore Academy of Law to authenticate and certify legal documents, including the execution of deed polls.

Renunciation: The act of giving up or abandoning one’s previous name. In the context of a deed poll, it refers to the renouncement of the individual’s former name.

Consent: Permission granted by relevant parties, such as parents or guardians, required for certain individuals, such as minors, to execute a deed poll.

Execution: The process of signing and formally enacting a deed poll. It involves the individual, witnesses, and a commissioner for oaths or notary public.

Transliteration: The process of converting the sounds or characters of one language into equivalent sounds or characters in another language. It may be relevant when changing a name to a non-English name.

Translation: The process of converting the meaning of words or text from one language to another. It may be necessary when changing a name to a non-English name.

Singapore Statutes Online: The official online repository of Singapore’s legislation, including the Name Change Act and other relevant laws.

National Registration Identity Card (NRIC): The official identification document issued to citizens and permanent residents of Singapore. A name change through a deed poll may require an update to the individual’s NRIC.

Identity Verification: The process of confirming and validating an individual’s identity. It may be required during the execution of a deed poll to ensure the person changing their name is the rightful owner of the identity.

Frivolous Application: An application made without serious purpose or merit. Authorities may reject deed poll applications deemed frivolous, such as frequent name changes with no legitimate reasons.

Official Gazette: A government publication where notices and official announcements, including the publication of name changes, may be recorded.

Please note that this glossary provides general definitions of terms related to deed polls in Singapore. It is important to refer to the specific provisions of relevant legislation and information provided by the ICA, and consult with legal professionals for detailed information.

 

Conclusion:

Changing one’s name through a deed poll in Singapore is a significant decision that requires adherence to legal requirements and a smooth administrative process. With the guidance and expertise of our lawyers at IRB, individuals can navigate the name change process with confidence and efficiency.

We offer comprehensive deed poll services, providing personalized assistance to individuals seeking to change their names. To engage in these services, please complete the deed poll form.

 

Author: Mohamed Baiross/IRB LAW LLP

 

 

I'll give a 10 out of 5 stars. Applied for a deed poll at 9am and got it at 1pm on the same day! Thank you for your speed and efficiency.
Sheryl Wee
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How does our online deed
poll service work?

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Fill the form

Our simple, 5 minute online form enables you to submit all the necessary details to start the process.

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Drop by office

A member of our team will contact you to arrange a suitable date/time with you to sign your deed poll. This has to be done in the presence of a lawyer.

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Submit your deed pooll

After your deed poll is signed, you can immediately (or whenever convenient) head to the ICA building to submit your deed poll.

Frequently Asked Questions

My child doesn't have an NRIC yet. What would be the steps?

Does my child need to attend your office for Deed Poll signing?

I have the sole custody of my child. Can I still dispense with the consent of the other parent?

Can a minor execute a Deed Poll by him/herself?

Do I need to change my name in my Passport?

What should I do after I’ve done a Deed Poll?

What if I lose my Deed Poll? Can I get a replacement?

Can I change my surname with a Deed Poll?

How can I change my name while I’m overseas?

What documents should I bring when signing deed poll?

What is the price of a deed poll?

I'm under 21, can I change my name?

What is unlikely to accepted by the ICA?

What can I change in my name?

Meet Some of the IRB Team
Handling Deed Poll

Mohamed Baiross

Founding Partner

Baiross is the managing partner of IRB Law LLP. He is an experienced lawyer with an excellent reputation across a broad selection of practice areas including divorce, insolvency, crime, probate, syariah, and civil litigation.

Ashwin Ganapathy

Partner

Ashwin has a keen passion in criminal defence and contested matrimonial matters. He has gained a reputation for fearlessly fighting for the defence of accused persons in all types of criminal offences.

Kulvinder Kaur

Partner

Kulvinder’s practice focuses on civil and commercial litigation, and matrimonial affairs. She has successfully obtained sole custody and highly favorable access arrangements for her clients (both mothers and fathers).

Cherie Tan

Partner

Cherie’s primary focus is on matrimonial matters where her empathy, sensitivity and patience has won her many cases involving divorce, maintenance and custody. She speaks English, Mandarin and Hokkien.

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