Agência Brazil explains: changing your name and surname just got easier

The change of name and surname is simpler in the country, with the new Public Records Act. Established on June 27, 2022, the device allows anyone over 18 to change their name directly at the civil registry office. Stakeholders do not need to justify the reason for the change. Until the enactment of the law, changes without prior justification could only be made when the citizen reached the age of majority or after a court decision.

According to the director of the Association of Registrars of Natural Persons (Arpen-Brazil), Daniela Mroz, there were three general lines of change. The new law does not allow “erasing the past” and, in cases where fraud, falsehood or bad faith is suspected, the registry officer can send it to court or refuse the procedure.

children registration

The new law allows changes in the name of newborns, ensuring a period of 15 days for parents to change both the name and the surname of the child. For this, the change must have the consent of both the father and the mother.

“If the name chosen was not the one desired by the parents, before there was no possibility of exchange. [A família] should seek justice to have the name changed. Now, the law provides for a period of 15 days in which the parents (both) can, if they change their mind, object to the registered name. Be it the first or last name, they can go [ao cartório]if there is agreement, and this is important to emphasize, because if one of them disagrees, it is not possible to make the change”, explained Daniela.

name change

Before the change in legislation, the change of name was allowed when the citizen reached the age of majority. In a process little known in the country, people could change their name when they turned 18. The deadline extended until midnight on the day he would turn 19. Another device already allowed transsexuals to change the social name on documents directly at the registry office, without the need for legal action.

“It was already possible to change the name, even for no reason. The law, in practice, comes to take away this period. There is no longer that one year period. [Agora] it is possible to make the change only once, even if for no reason, at the registry office. The same procedure already existed, but there was a fixed term of one year, now there is no more term”, said the director of Arpen-Brazil.

Last name

Last name changes were also included in the new legislation. In this way, the possibility of including family surnames is opened at any time, simply by proving the link. It is also possible to include or exclude a surname due to affiliation.

The change in law also allows children to add or remove a surname by virtue of a parent’s surname being changed. “The law also allows for the exclusion of spouses’ surnames, even after the divorce process. Previously, court proceedings were required. On the other hand, even after marriage, it is possible to include the spouse’s surname – as long as there is consent from the partner”, said Daniela.


According to the director, the procedure in the notaries is done in a maximum of five days. For the modification, it is necessary to present an identification document, such as RG, CPF, passport, voter registration and certificate of reservist in the case of men. Changing the name is charged, and the value of the service varies according to the state in which the change is made.

“Furthermore, the law speaks of certificates, which can be birth and marriage certificates – if any. if the officer [do cartório] If there is any evidence of fraud, that the person is trying to change their name to escape something, for example, they can ask for the certificates established by law. In this case, the only ones that would be more complicated to remove and have a cost, are the protest ones. Yet we stayed awake [entre os cartórios] throughout the country, that certificates can be downloaded online, directly at the registry office”, he explained.

According to Daniela, the registry offices received a booklet with guidelines on the new legislation. The procedure can be done in any city and all of the more than 7,700 notaries are technically able to make the change.

“If the person was registered in Pará, he does not need to go there to apply. You can make the request in São Paulo, for example, we will send the procedure electronically, the registry office there will change the registration and we will issue a new certificate here. It’s all very easy.

If the person already has a process in progress in court to make the name change, it is necessary to give up the judicial request to file the change through the registry office.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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